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Otfried H. Culmann, Paradiesgarten [Paradise Garden]

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Visiting Information

In general it is not open for public viewing, except during special occasions. The ornamented brick wall with bench is easily viewable from the street. 

About the Artist/Site

Otfried’s parents, a minister and his wife, lived in a property with a large garden dating from 1784, which was located in the center of the small town of Billigheim, in the Pfalz region of Germany. Even at a young age, he was interested in art, and from 1964 to 1976, following his primary education, he attended art schools in Kaiserslautern, Munich, and Stuttgart. He developed into a versatile young artist, creating paintings, prints, and sculptures, as well as writing several fantastic novels.

In 1978 at age 29, Otfried became the owner of his natal home, the rather formal and conservative vicarage, to which he added space for a studio, an art gallery, and workshops. He also began to ornament the interior of the house with sculpture and paintings (including paintings directly on the walls), and maintains an archive of surrealist research and organizes international exhibitions of fantastic art at this site.

Culmann travelled to visit art environments such as Ferdinand Cheval’s  Palais Idéal, Adolphe-Julien Fouré’s rock sculptures in Rothéneuf, La Maison de Celle Qui Peint of Danielle Jacqui, Robert Tatin’s Museum, and Bruno and Marianne Weber’s Weinrebenpark. Through scholarships, he travelled to Italy, where he saw the park of Bomarzo, and also visited the works of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in Spain.

Around 1985, influenced by the work of such artists, Culmann began adding artworks to the garden behind his own house, and over the past thirty years this site has developed to include decorated painted walls (sometimes including bas-relief sculptures), fountains, monuments, and numerous sculptures, many decorated with colored plates, mosaics, and bathroom tiles: he transformed the site into what he calls his Paradise Garden. Specific works include a Roman fountain, an Egyptian fountain with the great sphinx, and a Greek fountain featuring Ariadne, wife of the wine god Dionysius. There is also a temple dedicated to the Three Graces, a House of Secrets, an overgrown pirate tower, Robinson Crusoe’s hut, and more. On a street corner near his house, he transformed a brick wall along the street into a spectacular, colorful mosaic, fronted by a concrete bench painted with huge eyes. While his aesthetic seems to fit well within the range of the visionary and fantastic, Culmann also describes himself as a “militant surrealist.

Culmann is continuing to work on expanding Paradise Garden. In general it is not open for public viewing, except during special occasions, such as during the projected horticultural exhibit in Landau during summer 2015. And the ornamented brick wall with bench is also easily viewable from the street.

~Henk van Es



Map and site information

3 Raiffeisenstraße
Billigheim-Ingenheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Latitude/Longitude: 49.13711 / 8.09728

Visiting Information

In general it is not open for public viewing, except during special occasions. The ornamented brick wall with bench is easily viewable from the street. 

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