Art for Animals
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Art for Animals

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Thomas Rabisch was born 1967 in Erfurt. He studied painting at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design, Halle and, in a further course of studies, graphics and sculpture. The installation artist lives and works in Halle (Saale), most of the time with the work being related to particular topics and locations.


Gymnastics are classifieds exercises on standardised apparatus. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, also known as Father of gymnastics, was the founder of the gymnastics movement in Germany and is still honoured for this reason. He promoted physical exercise as a condition for healthy thinking. A young man is seen to be a body which can be trained and hence form the basis of a sensible attitude towards life. The means and the purpose are both elements of the programme.

In 1811, in Berlin-Hasenheide, Jahn founded the first public outdoor gymnasium in Germany. Much of the gymnastic apparatus used today was invented by him. For example, the horse. At the beginning it even had a neck and tail but in the course of time the neck shrank and the tail fell off. But for a long time a difference was still made between the front and rear by means of a sloping edge underneath the front end. Later on even this difference disappeared, and the horse now looks the same from left-to-right as it does right-to-left, just like a sausage.


The so-called pommel horse, looking with its two upright grips more like a camel than a horse, is still used in competitions but the vaulting horse has almost died out. In 2001 it was replaced in international competitions by the vaulting table, exactly 100 years after the quagga, a type of zebra finally became extinct. The quagga, a sub-species or related species of the zebra, resembled a zebra only between the head and the shoulders. The last quagga kept in captivity died in the year 1883, and a short time later, in 1901, the last small herd of quaggas was seen in southern Africa. Since then it is assumed to have died out. In that same year Halle Zoo opened its gates. Is it too far-fetched to assume a connection between these two occurrences?



Completely off course:

Coach gave the go-ahead

But avoiding the horse

I put the shot instead


In 1982, 99 years after the last quagga had died in captivity, the 14-year-old Thomas Rabisch managed a distance of 13.3m when putting the (4 kg) shot – the year's best for the whole of North Erfurt for this athletic event. On the other hand he was not at all interested in gymnastics with apparatus.


We have good reason to celebrate and commemorate – several anniversaries this year are the occasion for doing so:

200 years of gymnastics in Germany

110 years of a world without the quagga but with the Halle Mountain Zoo

10 years of a world without the vaulting horse at international gymnastic events


The "Art for Animals" exhibition will open 15 October 2011, the 149th anniversary of the death of Father Jahn. On this occasion, at Halle Mountain Zoo, leaping quaggers will be seen, the first of these species to be seen just standing around. Lost in thought, Father Jahn with his striking beard will also be there – in the compound for horses. A shot will be lying around somewhere. An information board will show the development over time of these really unacceptable associations!







Thomas Rabisch: Kunst für Tiere
Art for Animals
Thomas Rabisch: Art for Animals

Thomas Rabisch  




Art for Animals