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Der Flughafen am Erdzeichen (Bild)
Erdzeichen seen from the air

The Erdzeichen (English: 'Earth Sign') is an artwork on the grounds of Munich Airport by the painter Wilhelm Holderied and the sculptor Karl Schlamminger. According to the artist, the earth sculpture at the airport is meant to be “An Island in Time,” i.e. a symbol of time sequences which are determined by the “primeval energy of the earth.” The ground-level artwork was completed in 1995. It stands in the tradition of archaic earth sculptures and modern works of Land Art, and also calls to mind Smithson’s famous “Spiral Jetty.”

The Earthsign stretches across an area measuring 270 meters by 170 meters. Its furrows are 3.40 meters deep. These furrows and the tall gravel embankments between them circle a central point, continue in a straight row, form a loop and then flow in irregularly undulating lines into the surrounding field, where they end at a straight line.

The artwork was collectively financed by circa 400 donors in a campaign entitled “Be Part of Art.” The aerial archeological photographer Klaus Leidorf has documented the earth sculpture and the changes which nature and the seasons have brought to it since 1994.

The lease granted by the airport company to Wilhelm Holderied and Karl Schlamminger expires on December 30, 2013. The continued existence of the Earthsign has not yet been assured.

  • Howard Fine [u.a.]: Eine Insel für die Zeit – Ein Erdzeichen entsteht. Hirmer, München 1995, ISBN: 3-7774-6680-8.
  • Johannis von dem Borne [u.a]: In die Erde gezeichnet. Isensee, Oldenburg 2003, ISBN: 3-89995-033-X.
  • Räto Weiler [u.a.]: Bewahrt eine Insel für die Zeit – Preserve an Island in Time. München 2011, ISBN: 978-3-00-034770-2.
  • Howard Fine [u.a.]: Die Wurzeln, das Echo, die Ufer. Werkstattbuch. Hirmer, München 1989, ISBN: 3-922645-13-5.
  • Howard Fine [u.a.]: Magnetische Ufer. Werkstattbuch. Hirmer, München 2000, ISBN: 3-7774-8900-X.
  • Gerd Holzheimer [u.a.]: Das Gewicht der Zeichen. 2004, ISBN: 3-7774-2525-7.
  • Wilhelm Holderied: „… Zeitfelder …“. Kronacher Kunstverein, Kronach 2008, ISBN: 978-3-922162-39-1.
  • Wolfgang Schneider, Räto Weiler: Das stille Spiel der Schatten. 2010, ISBN: 978-3-00-031088-1.
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