American Stones - Love
Leaving the Canary Islands behind, I embarked on a voyage of circumnavigation of the world. I crossed the Atlantic Ocean, visited some of the breathtaking West Indian Islands and miraculously I was able to contact friends I met 40 years ago in those same places. I celebrated the thrilling Carnival for which Trinidad is well known and finally arrived in Venezuela, the first stop of my mission. Once there, I traveled for several weeks by bus along extraordinarily scenic routes. The beauty of Caracas' architectural buildings, in contrast to the slums, impressed me! I spoke with ministers, indigenous people, managers and the man on the street, and learned about Venezuelans' ambitions and problems. I filed an application and started the project. South of the Orinoco River I found a red granite boulder to be the first stone for my project. With the help of local people, I started working it in a factory near Caracas. This stone was shaped, polished and set at an angle of 12o50' towards the North, in Parque Vargas, near the New National Art Gallery, at the Parque Central.
The second stone, which came from the “Gran Sabana”, a National Park, was granted through a special permit for extraction and a document of donation from the Venezuelans to the Germans. This was signed by high-ranking officials on the 11th of August 1998. It was removed from its valley near the Brazilian border. Six months later, after traveling more than thousand kilometers and with the overcoming of endless obstacles, it finally reached the Orinoco River and was loaded on a ship, to cross the Atlantic to Germany.
In February 1999, the second stone, with the name ´Love´, was set in the Tiergarten, next to the Reichstag, Branderburger Gate and Holocaust Memorial. The stone-setting ceremony was very well attended by high-ranking officials and was covered by television and the press. I wish to pay tribute here to the remarkable enthusiasm, devotion, cooperation and love shown to me by the Venezuelan people.
At the same time, I respect the controversial attitude of others, who think it would have been better if the stone had stayed in Venezuela. There will always be a special place in my heart for all of them! After setting the two stones, one in Caracas and one in Berlin, I continued my circumnavigation. Sailing the more than ten thousand miles between South America and Australia, I touched some of the most beautiful islands of the South Seas.