The Carousel of Art – Luna Luna is back

“A grand nostalgic operation. The feeling is that Western creativity has slowed down significantly; there is a widespread sense of archaeology. Revolutions are missing.” – Antonio Riello. It may well be true what the great critic states regarding the restoration of the mythical Luna Luna amusement park. Still, in this case, we can only rejoice at the narrowly avoided danger and fly to Los Angeles at the earliest opportunity.

Aerial view of Luna Luna in Moorweide park. Hamburg, Germany, 1987

1987, Hamburg, West Germany: Viennese artist André Heller, who has left his mark on the art world by creating giant flying sculptures, wants to invent a space where culture, art, and everyday life coexist and merge into an experience free from boundaries between high and low, cultured and popular.

These are years of experimentation, of absolute creative freedom, which finds one of its most fertile grounds precisely in Germany. As if, absurdly, the cold, both atmospheric and political (it is still unknown that the wall will fall in a couple of years), represents the best push to think and create freely. Free Germany is truly free, from technology and the oppressive denial of any form of expression that characterizes our society today.

André Heller, Dream Station. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, 1987.

And so, right here, a dream team of artists gathers and creates Luna Luna, a real Luna Park with tents, performances, carousels, rides, and a Ferris wheel. Keith Haring, Basquiat, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Sonia Delaunay, Salvador Dalì… the definition Dream Team is not exaggerated at all. The itinerant art carnival Luna Luna was ready to travel, but legal and economic problems stopped it in its tracks, leaving the rides closed in containers to accumulate dust. However, Heller did not forget this grand idea, and today, all the attractions and artworks of Luna Luna, by Heller’s will and especially by rapper Drake and his Dream Crew, have finally been repositioned in a warehouse in Los Angeles and restored.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, painted Ferris wheel. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, 1987. © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/licensed by Artestar, New York.

Of course, only a part of the rides will be operational (for safety reasons: the regulations in 1987 were different), so we will lose at least in part the opportunity to experience the idea in its original concept. Still, at least, we can rediscover some of that freedom that seems irretrievably lost. Oh my, I realize only now that I have to conclude the article with something I never thought I would say: long live Drake!

André Heller Luna Luna The Complete Mural Hardback, 29,8 × 20,8 cm 336 pages, 350 illustrations 34.95 £