Lichtschwert (Light Sword Sculpture), Opernhaus, Graz, Austria

Lichtswert Sculpture, Opernhaus, Graz, Austria

Hey, New Yorkers – remind you of anything? An uneasy symbol of peace, the Lichtschwert (“Light Sword” or “Light Saber”) is the work of the Graz artist Hartmut Skerbisch.

Skerbisch found his inspiration in the Opernhaus. During the Steirischer Herbst festival in 1992, the city was looking for a way to celebrate of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s expedition to America. So they decided to produce the opera Amerika.

Created by the 20th century composer Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, the opera uses Franz Kafka’s incomplete first novel – Amerika or “The Man Who Disappeared” – as the basis for the libretto. Kafka’s attempt at a Dickensian narrative tells of an immigrant thrust into the maw of New York City. In the story, the Statue of Liberty is holding (you guessed it) a sword instead of a torch.

Architect’s Bonus: The Lichtschwert is 54 meters high, exactly the same height as the Statue of Liberty.