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Oswald Oberhuber :
Design of Franz Wagner's Grave

Amstetten, 1991


The grave design is the result of a private initiative. Oswald Oberhuber designed a stainless steel cross onto which the deceased's name and dates have been screwed in stamped out-lettering. Marble covers the grave and defines its enclosure.

Starting from the consideration that any design in public space should display artistic quality and that contemporary artists are predestined to serve as the designers, I asked Oswald Oberhuber to take charge of the design of my father’s grave after his death in 1991. The criteria were as follows: to keep to a maximum height of 1.80m, to include it in a typical town cemetery in the Alpine foothills (gravestones and crosses) and a certain plainness of form that I desired personally. Oswald Oberhuber decided in favour of a cross with a base system made of stainless steel, onto which were screwed the name and dates in punched-out letters. The base form – a raised ashlar with a laterally rounded cover and floor slabs – was reminiscent of the ecclesiastical baroque style customary in this area, while the simple cross with high crossbeam in tube form is associated with the Alpine grave cross tradition. The enclosure of the grave was effected by means of a bright marble surround, the cover by a bright marble slab the width of the base. The border strips have been left open for the planting of flowers in accordance with the changing seasons. This project, which represents a private initiative in the practically public space of the cemetery, clearly speaks for itself. Incidentally, it was also accepted by the people of Amstetten that an unmistakably contemporary solution fitted perfectly in an existing historical framework and, despite its modernity, it was by no means felt to be a provocation.
(Manfred Wagner)