06/01/2007, Düsseldorf / Germany


“Trash People” capable of withstanding the toughest conditions

HA Schult relies on Quality from Henkel

Interest in developments relating to globalization, assured presence in front of huge crowds, extensive travel experience and a robust constitution – not, as you might imagine, a description for development workers but rather a profile that is readily attributable to the much-fêted “Trash People”. At the beginning of June 2007 (from the 4th to 9th to be precise) these approximately 1,000 life-size sculptures of people made from garbage by world-famous action artist HA Schult – all held together by brand adhesives from Henkel – will be making a stop at the Plaça Reial in Barcelona as the next stage of their world tour.

For more than ten years, this unusual tribe of nomads, the “Trash People”, have been on a never-ending journey. The frequent packing and unpacking, setting up and taking down, and in particular the extreme weather conditions that they have to withstand, are a tough test both for the figures themselves and for the adhesive material that holds these idiosyncratic personages together. Indeed, during their widely varying trips, they have already been exposed to 40 degrees Celsius in the desert, high UV radiation at a height of 2,800 meters above sea level, and salt-laden mine air at depths of 880 meters below ground. For the coming year, there are even plans for an excursion to the Antarctic – yet another new challenge for these extremely robust figures, given that the average annual temperature there is –55 degrees Celsius.

Henkel has long supported the exceptional artist HA Schult – and not just financially. For the world’s number one in adhesives, sealants and surface technologies, also provided the “Trash People” with the substance that holds them together right down to their core, enabling them to withstand the toughest of conditions for over a decade now. Just like innumerable professional craftsmen around the globe, HA Schult put his faith in the brand adhesives Sista® and Ceresit®. “With its brand-name products, Henkel was able to make a significant contribution to the fact that the “Trash People” actually came into being in the first place,” explains Alois Linder, Executive Vice President Adhesives Technologies at Henkel. As a token of thanks for the many years of collaboration, the action artist allowed half a dozen of his well-traveled sculptures to take up permanent residence at the Henkel headquarters in Düsseldorf-Holthausen in April of this year.

“The ‘Trash People’ are characters symbolizing an entire century,” according to the “world’s first environmental artist” (HA Schult on HA Schult). Hence he used cans, canisters, computer waste and other garbage in the construction of his life-size figures. The first 1,000 “Trash People” were put together in 1996. In the meantime, a further 1,000 have gradually been added to the throng. Over the ensuing years, these ambassadors of the “hidden face of affluence” (HA Schult again) have been tirelessly roaming the earth, taking up residence at locations that have had a significance for world history: they have gathered in major cities such as Paris, Beijing, Moscow and Cologne, at the pyramids of Gizeh, on the Great Wall of China, on the Matterhorn and in the salt deposits of Gorleben. And wherever they are found, the “Trash People” by HA Schult are always a source of fascination for crowds in their millions. During their eight-day stay in Rome during March 2007, for example, 2 million visitors came to see the installation on the Piazza del Popolo.