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Published on : Tuesday, February 9, 2016
The Trojan Horse entered the Night Turf arena at 5pm last Friday , but was not taking part in any races. Instead, it stood majestically transfixed to the ground, presiding over proceedings. For The Trojan Horse is a work of art, a sculpture weighing 5.2 tonnes and measuring 14 metres high by 20 metres in length, the hollowed-out body of which has been made into a private lounge capable of holding private events for up to 10 people.
The idea for The Trojan Horse was conceived by Heinz E. Hunkeler, General Manager of the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz , and Silvio Martin Staub, President of the St. Moritz Racing Association, but it was created by local Engadine artist Curdin Guler, a passionate horse lover influenced by the 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin, who crafted the sculpture from a variety of materials to give it a natural and realistic appearance.
Though a modern piece, it was created the old-fashioned way, free form, without the use of computer technology, reliant entirely on the artist’s intuition. One kilometre of steel rods, weighing 2900 kilos, were used in its construction, along with 800 metres of silver-coloured polyester and 3200 pieces of wood shingle made from local Engadine stone pine.
The sculpture took over four months to build, with nine people working on the project from late September 2015 up till the end of January prior to its unveiling last week. Said Guler, “The Trojan Horse was an incredibly exciting but also dangerous project, because it brought great challenges, with regard to technical aspects, meeting the deadline, creating the shape and getting all the calculations right”.
The Trojan Horse was assembled in separate parts – the body, head, legs and interior space – before being assembled in Samedan, just a few miles from its final resting place beside Lake St Moritz. The Trojan Horse will remain in situ until the last White Turf race of 2016 is run on 21 February, and will make further appearances at White Turf in 2017 and 2018, before being put out to pasture.
According to Heinz E. Hunkeler, “Equestrian sport has a long history here in the Engadine Valley and White Turf plays a very important part in our winter sports offering. The Kulm Hotel has always been a pioneer, ever since its founder Johannes Badrutt made a bet over 150 years’ ago that paved the way for winter tourism. It is also the leading hotel in St. Moritz, continually seeking to provide outstanding guest satisfaction, so it felt natural for the Kulm to be one of the main sponsors, alongside White Turf, of this innovative initiative that will add another dimension to our guest experience.”
The Niarchos family, owners of the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, are strongly associated with both the equestrian and art scenes, so sponsorship of The Trojan Horse was a natural choice. The hotel is a major sponsor of the Snow Polo World Cup, the Longines CSI ***** St. Moritz and the White Turf races, in addition to which its grounds are currently playing host to Sterling Ruby’s STOVES installation (till 27 March 2016), part of Vito Schnabel’s inaugural exhibition since launching his eponymous gallery in St. Moritz.