Who hasn’t been disappointed by a sign reading “The park closes at dark”? These kinds of signs either make it impossible to enter an urban park and garden at night, or at least advise against visiting after dark. And so, “We need light! And not romantic twilight, but urban brightness” demanded the artistic director of the Petuelpark Project, Stephan Huber, so that being there late in the evening or early in the morning can also be an aesthetic pleasure. Dietmar Tanterl’s lighting concept refers to the genius loci, to the statement the place makes, and he developed a great light sculpture out of common automobile headlights. More than seventy steles, which have a sculptural quality during the day, transform into sources of “urban brightness” after dark. The park is evenly lit by the conical headlights, but distinct visual highlights model the park into an urban landscape whose silhouette becomes an autonomous light sculpture, allowing the viewer a completely new perception of space.
The Munich-based light artist Dietmar Tanterl has already equipped many public places and buildings with his installations, bringing them all to life after dark. They include the Lenbachhaus in Munich, the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt, the Goethe Institute in New York, and The Last House in Graz.
Tanterl also understood the lighting concept for Petuelpark as a congenial task of linking ordinary functions with artistic statements. And so, Petuelpark is the first and only park in Munich where people can take a stroll around the clock, inviting them to linger there. Contemporary landscape architecture is paired with more than a dozen artistic interventions. With the addition of Tanterl’s light sculptures and the café in the heart of the park, which opened in 2005, it all makes Petuelpark a most unusual space for social and urban experiences.