Webcams Lawinenbericht AKTUELLER Service Wetter/Verkehr
Projekt Türen © Dietmar Denger / Vorarlberg Tourismus

Art is the path

Art objects along the hiking trail Green Ring am Arlberg

Art is the path
Vorarlberg Magazine

Lech Zürs am Arlberg

Art objects along the hiking trail Green Ring

Daniel Nikolaus Kocher has created a series of different sculptures and art objects for the hiking trail that is the Green Ring am Arlberg. These often temporary installations make the mind and imagination soar. And then there are also the modern fable worlds that cast their spells over hikers of all ages. A tour …

TEXT: STEFAN NINK

Last summer, as the season was ending, he hid behind a rock again, up at Zürsersee lake. Daniel Nikolaus Kocher was checking one of the doors when he heard the voices of approaching hikers. So he decided to hide and do what he always does when he’s on the Green Ring, which is to watch how people interact with the art up there. Well, it is rather unusual to walk around a corner in a meadow high above Lech and suddenly find yourself standing in front of a closed door. “You always see very different reactions,” says Kocher. But something like the other day at the Zürsersee lake? “Two of the hikers actually walked around the door as if it wasn’t there at all. They just kept going without interrupting their pace.” Behind his rock, the curator of the Door Project and the Green Ring’s Artistic Director was dumbfounded, he’d never seen anything like it before. And the others in the group? They responded to the door, he says. Which is what actually everyone normally does. They walked through it back and forth several times before taking selfies. “They interacted with the art, each in their own way. Which is precisely why we installed it up there at the Green Ring.”

Stefan Nink mit Künstler Daniel Nikolaus Kocher in Oberlech © Dietmar Denger / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Lech am Arlberg © Dietmar Denger / Vorarlberg Tourismus

"Those who have already hiked around the Green Ring should be able to discover different art next time."

Daniel Nikolaus Kocher

A wall bearing the names of the inhabitants of Lech

‘Up there’: the Green Ring is a hiking trail that takes hikers around Lech am Arlberg at an altitude of 2,000 metres and has, for a number of years now, made it possible for them to not only enjoy the spectacular 180-degree panoramic views but also encounters with art. Daniela Egger, who is a writer from Bregenz, has invented a complete world of legends for the trail and Daniel Nikolaus Kocher has created the appropriate sculptures for it. A hut library (where everyone can find something appropriate to read while taking a break from hiking) and an installation at the Europäische Wasserscheide (the watershed where visitors are able to see how the water on one side flows towards the North Sea and towards the Black Sea on the other) were gradually added, among other things, over time. The sixty-metre-long ‘Lecher Mauer’, which is to be found right behind the mountain station of the Petersbodenbahn cable car, lists the names of all the townspeople on its stones, in a sense as a permanent and everlasting contrast to the storage of digital data that has taken hold down in the valley.

A letterbox with postcards that visitors can write and post on the spot stands just a few metres further on. Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH handles the postage at the end of the hiking season: ‘Emptied once a year at 4.00 p.m.’

Name der Lecher auf der Lecher Chluppa © Dietmar Denger / Vorarlberg Tourismus

Names of the Lecher at the Lecher Chluppa

There’s a separate Green Riddle. Ring for children

But the doors designed by nine artists from five different countries probably produced the most beautiful ‘What’s that?’ moments over the last three summers. Lines from a story were written on one of them, another had a small sign with the word ‘free’ on it, which immediately triggered associations under the endless arcing skies above Lech. And another one looked – well, just like a normal white door. The spyhole through which people could peep only became visible to them as they approached. And it suddenly made the seemingly endless world of peaks and ridges appear very small and manageable. The doors were brought down from the mountain last autumn. They have found new homes with their sponsors where they can now be admired (see box, page 43).

It’s possible to hike around the Green Ring in separate stages over the course of three days and ride back to the valley at the end of each stage. But it’s still possible for visitors to encounter art even if they’ve only an hour to spare. They simply have to walk just a few hundred metres into the Vorarlberg mountains along with their children for whom the special Rätsel-Ring has been created. The art is supposed to be there for everyone, not just for those who manage 25 mountain kilometres a day. And it is intended that there will always be different encounters with art. Daniel continues to install small temporary works along the trail, which requires no or hardly any intervention at all into nature and which then disappear again after a few years. He wants guests to be able to regularly experience something new, he says. Those who’ve already hiked around the Green Ring should be able to discover different art next time. And, in the best case, a new mountain world.

Daniel Kocher Türe © Dietmar Denger / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Daniel Kocher Projekt Türen © Dietmar Denger / Vorarlberg Tourismus

"The doors make you think – about rooms that you enter or leave."

“Taking works of art out of their context and introducing them into new ones always affects the surroundings,” says Daniel. “They then also change the way people perceive nature.” The art on the Green Ring creates highlights and, because it often seems to hikers that the works appear out of nowhere, it changes their view of some of the most beautiful summit-and-valley panoramas in Austria. Daniel Nikolaus Kocher calls it making outdoor spaces tangible. You could also say that the works of art on the Green Ring succeed in making people look differently at the landscape above Lech. You suddenly see things that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise without encountering the art.

Most hikers on the Green Ring enjoy the food for thought that the art gives them and children like outdoor art anyway. Daniel Nikolaus Kocher and the Raiffeisenbank Lech organise an annual workshop for children in which the natural environment around the Libellensee lake is artistically decorated – with animals made from wood, leather, stone and paint.

With a little luck, it’s possible to get answers along the way – from the artist himself

So it’s not only possible to encounter art but also to participate in the activity. And sometimes it’s possible to meet the artist while hiking. And ask questions as well as get answers. When Daniel isn’t hiding behind a rock.

    • Outdooractive

      The Green Riddle Ring

      The new Green Riddle Ring includes 14 points of interest of a playful nature on…

      • 0,6 km

      • 00:13 h

      • leicht

      The Green Riddle Ring
      Difficulty:leicht
      Distance:0,6 km
      Ascent:53 m
      Descent:1 m
      Duration:00:13 h
      Deepest point:1508 m
      Highest point:1560 m
      Condition:

      Experience:

      Landscape:

      The Green Riddle Ring

      The new Green Riddle Ring includes 14 points of interest of a playful nature on the way…

      Start of tour

      Lech Rüfi Square

      End of tour

      Rudalp

      Description

      The Green Riddle Ring –  goes from Lech to the Rud-Alpe – a short and entertaining walking trail with puzzles and riddles for the whole family. To solve the riddles along the Green Riddle Ring, you need to have the ”Impossible Workbook”.

      This leads you past amusing and whimsical points of interest that test the skills of small and large detectives alike. At the end of the trail, at the Rud-Alpe, you will find Earth’s most valuable asset,…

      Best season
      JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUN
      JULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
      All route info
    • The Green Riddle Ring and the Lech Family Trail

      Together with the Green Riddle Ring, the Lech Family Trail leads past many stations…

      • 4,0 km

      • 02:00 h

      • mittel

      The Green Riddle Ring and the Lech Family Trail
      The Green Riddle Ring and the Lech Family Trail
      The Green Riddle Ring and the Lech Family Trail
      Difficulty:mittel
      Distance:4,0 km
      Ascent:388 m
      Descent:56 m
      Duration:02:00 h
      Deepest point:1441 m
      Highest point:1774 m
      Condition:

      Experience:

      Landscape:

      The Green Riddle Ring and the Lech Family Trail

      Together with the Green Riddle Ring, the Lech Family Trail leads past many stations that…

      Start of tour

      Lech Zürs Tourismus

      End of tour

      Muxelhof Streichelzoo

      Description

      The new Green Riddle Ring includes 14 points of interest of a playful nature on the way to the Rud-Alpe. From there, the Lech Family Trail leads through the forest of Oberlech, past the Libellensee (Dragonfly lake) to Muxelhof and its petting zoo.

       

      First of all, the Lecher family hiking trail starts with the Green Riddle Ring. Here the whole family can prove how well you can solve puzzles.…

      Best season
      JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUN
      JULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
      All route info
    • Outdooractive

      The Green Ring

      Walk the Green Ring Route and enjoy the beautiful landscape and artistical illustrations along…

      • 28,5 km

      • 10:00 h

      • leicht

      The Green Ring
      The Green Ring
      The Green Ring
      Difficulty:leicht
      Distance:28,5 km
      Ascent:1562 m
      Descent:2472 m
      Duration:10:00 h
      Deepest point:1433 m
      Highest point:2436 m
      Condition:

      Experience:

      Landscape:

      The Green Ring

      Walk the Green Ring Route and enjoy the beautiful landscape and artistical illustrations along the…

      Start of tour

      Lech Rüfisquare

      End of tour

      Lech Rüfisquare

      Description

      You can find detailed information about the stages on the detail pages:

      First Leg

      Second Leg

      Third Leg

      Best season
      JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUN
      JULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
      All route info
More about Hiking in Vorarlberg

Further Information

The region

Lech Zürs am Arlberg

Guests from around the world value the unrivalled quality found only here in the birthplace of skiing. Lech Zürs am Arlberg is dramatically situated in the heart of Austria’s largest contiguous ski area. Flourishing meadows and exciting trails surround this enthralling, picturesque village in summer.

Bodensee Germany Switzerland Switzerland Austria