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 Article in the magazine ´ÖBV aktiv´, autumn 2004:

Kunst-am-Bau project: ´Guiding Vision´ by Elisabeth Sula at the Education Centre Traiskirchen, Lower Austria 2004

´Kunst und Exekutive - Kreatives Miteinander im Ausbildungszentrum Traiskirchen´

(´Art and Police Forces - Creative Cooperation at the Training Centre Traiskirchen´)

 

Art objects in office buildings, training or other public institutions are often a controversial issue: architects feel that their intentions are misunderstood, employees and visitors often feel provoked. A positive example for the integration of an object of art in a public space ("Kunstwerk am Bau") was introduced to the public at the beginning of April at the Training Centre for the Police Forces Traiskirchen in Lower Austria. The ceremonial act was held on April 2 on the occasion of the completion of the first training course for executives which was held for the town and country police and for detectives. As brigadier Rupert Fehringer, head of the training centre, put it, "The painting fits perfectly, as if it had always been part of this building", when commenting on the painting sized 6.5 by 2.5 m which was created by the internationally renowned artist Elisabeth Sula especially for the high and sky-light flooded foyer of the Training Centre for the Police Forces.

The painting with its warm red-yellow shades is titled "Guiding Vision" in which Sula refers to the guiding principles of the house which are support, protection and security. She was inspired by the great Chinese sage Laotse. His book Tao te king dating back to the 6th century BC was written down upon request of a man in uniform, a customs officer, as the art historian Andrea Überbacher explained on the occasion of the presentation.

Elisabeth Sula, graduate of the Academy of Applied Arts, had been commissioned by the association ´Gendarmerie aktiv´ with designing the foyer of the recently opened centre. Thus, despite its uncertain future due to the merging of town and country police forces, this association proved to be still going strong. ÖBV-managing director Dr Johann Hauf is also president of the association and initiator of the ´painted story´ and thus, the wheel has come full circle: Elisabeth Sula´s exhibition in the atrium of the ÖBV building in Vienna had enthused the ÖBV family as early as in 2002.

 

The dimensions of the painting in Traiskirchen also posed a challenge to Elisabeth Sula: her studio in Vienna´s Kaisermühlen quarter proved to be simply too small. However, together with the training centre a solution was swiftly found. A still vacant room (to become a cafeteria) was made available to the artist and, taking along all her painting utensils, she moved to Traiskirchen which was to become her home for a period of 3 months. At the beginning she had mixed feelings, as she admits, which, however, turned into great enthusiasm. ´I was overwhelmed by the warm-hearted atmosphere in this house, by the caring interaction of the people there and the cordial reception I experienced.´

After having spent 3 months on the premises it was hard to say good-bye both for herself and the staff of the training centre. The positive relationship that had developed between the artist and the staff of the training centre during these 3 months is clearly palpable during the ceremonial act on April 2, even including the painting itself: the pride of and the joy over the successful design of the foyer were reflected in the faces of the staff. Not only did the organizers of the ceremonial act do an excellent job in integrating artistic and aesthetical elements, but also in combining two events so different in nature like a passing-out ceremony including a flag blessing and the presentation of a piece of art in such a coherent way. After their 30-week training, the 305 future executives surely won´t forget this memorable event.

Moreover, the town of Traiskirchen contributed to the event by dedicating a new flag to the training centre. And during her work at the education/training centre Elisabeth Sula´s definition of education surely has proven true, namely, ´Apart from acquiring knowledge and skills, education also always means cultivation of the heart.´

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