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Manfred Gnädinger, Museo de Man

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About the Artist/Site

The Gallegan Coast of Death is treacherous and stormy, yet in 1961 it became the refuge for a German teacher not markedly different from other young bourgeoisie who traveled to the far corners of the earth to find a simpler, more “authentic” and tranquil existence. He fell in love with a local teacher, and when she married another, he renounced his passport and “normal” way of life, grew a beard, became a hermit, and refused thereafter to use any part of his name except for “Man.” He regularly swam long distances in the frigid waters, became a vegetarian and wore only a loincloth despite the generally cool and rainy temperatures. Soon he began to construct a “museum” here near the end of the earth (Finisterre). His building blocks were the rocks smoothed by the crashing waves as well as the bones of beached animals, seaweed, and other detritus thrown up from the sea, and he arranged and assembled them with a mixture of cement and local vegetation. He lived at one with the sea in this inhospitable but strikingly picturesque spot until 2002, when the nearby shipwreck of the tanker Prestige spilled 77,000 tons of oil, contaminating the coasts of Spain, Portugal, and France, killing innumerable fish and wildlife, and coating everything with the toxic slick. It is said that he died that next month of a broken heart.

Political wrangling has prevented any comprehensive conservation of the site, although a cultural center built in the artist’s name has been constructed near the dike. Remnants of the site are still viewable, but little of the artist’s oeuvre is still extant.

~Jo Farb Hernández



Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Camelle, Galicia, Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 43.18282 / -9.092361

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