Since its installation on Yevhena Malaniuka Square in the city centre, the sculpture of Xaver Mozart has evoked ambiguous feelings among Lviv residents. Some of them say it has the right to exist, others cannot get used to it, but most of the citizens interviewed by Tvoemisto.tv do not understand what it is, what a symbolic image has appeared in the public space, what it means, and why it stays here.
The sculptor who created the Franz Xaver Mozart statue, Sebastian Schweikert, told Tvoemisto.tv in an exclusive interview about why Mozart has two left legs, a weird wig and a huge hand.
What was the author’s purpose?
I’m happy that this sculpture stands here without words because it’s a form that conveys meaning – through images, allegory. I’m happy that initially, it caused such a misunderstanding in Lviv, and this discussion would lead us to dialogue.
I want to say that it’s not a monument, but a sculpture, a collage honouring the memory of Franz Xaver Mozart. This is the result of my work, my conception and my architectural project. It’s not by chance that it doesn’t stand on a pedestal, but on the ground, on the same level with the Lviv residents – as he was a citizen of this place for 30 years.
Franz Xaver Mozart was the son of a brilliant composer and conductor – Amadeus Mozart. We see him staying in the shadows throughout all his life. Everyone respected him as the son of a genius, but not as an individual. In my sculpture, I put a little boy who wore his father’s wig, which was too big for him. At first glance, it looks bizarre, but if you look under it, inside – you will see Xaver Mozart himself. You will see his eyes, cheeks, the real him.
Which images are embedded here?
On his knee, we can see the notes, which he seems to cover himself with. These are the notes of my favourite composition, its introduction. If you look closely, you can notice it.
On his legs, we see pants with a basque at the foot, which were fashionable at that time. And on one leg, there’s something similar to a layer – such as happens in trees, like a twig. I did this consciously to fit the sculpture into this place organically. Also, the statue itself grows out of the ground like a tree.
It doesn’t stand on a pedestal, it seems to «grow» in the middle of the square among us. This sculpture, like the brother of these trees around, has a pretty similar structure. It’s such an impressionistic trick. Look around – all the trees here have something similar to it.
According to the initial concept, the head had to look up, but the sculpture’s installation was first planned on a different square. After seeing this place, I unambiguously decided to tilt his head down. In particular, I did it to let people observe his face, to see that all his life, he lived under the pressure of this wig that symbolises his father.
Also, the sculpture has two left legs, though Xaver himself obviously didn’t have it. He always told his friends and mentioned in his letters that he felt like having two left legs because he had to follow his father’s traces, walk the same roads like his father, be a composer, pianist and conductor, like his father. But no matter what he did, he felt inferior to Amadeus. It was hard to live this way, as well as to walk with two left feet. This is the allegory I put in this symbol.
It’s a contemporary romantic sculpture. If you look at the hands, one of them is of the usual size, and the other one is enlarged ten times. It also has a deep meaning, and it’s one more element of impressionism.
A huge hand is the hand of a conductor, whom the «prominent» father wanted to see him, and the small hand is what he was in reality. That means a big hand he uses to conduct – it’s how people wanted to see him, who they wanted him to become. I hope this whole sculpture, made of different particles and elements, will let you realise who Xaver Mozart really was. Because he’s a great revolutionary who managed to make his own music and live his own life.
What is Mozart made of?
The sculpture is made of untreated unpolished bronze. However, initially, I made it of clay and transported it from Austria to Kyiv. And here in Ukraine, we poured this statue from burnt bronze on a wonderful factory. Many sculptors treat their bronze creations because this material starts to green after some time, being covered by a specific tinct. I deliberately didn’t do this. The sculpture will find its own colour and will look like nature decides. Rains, fallen leaves from surrounding trees, humidity and everything else will do its work – we already see how the sculpture greens, and that’s wonderful. Some parts are black, some are green, some are of glossy-bronze shade. It’s the skin of this sculpture, it’s unique, and no one can reproduce it on purpose.
On Xaver’s head, there’s only a wig, he was just like doing a masquerade. If you see a lion’s head there – I’m happy that my sculpture inspires people and their fantasy to create such images. After all, it’s a good analogy since Xaver lived and worked in Lviv for 30 years. I won’t say whether there is a lion there or not, everyone must answer this question himself.
I realise that Mozart looks like a foreigner to you, but give him some time, and you’ll get used to him. You can dismantle it even in ten years, but it’s necessary to stand near him, to live with him, and he will become usual to you.
Translated by Vitalii Holich
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