Artwork gets onlookers asking - will he jump?

Fri Sep 4, 2009 5:02am EDT
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VIENNA (Reuters Life!) - A small crowd of people wonder if the smart businessman clutching a briefcase will jump off the edge of a four-storey building in central Vienna -- but he won't. He can't.

The man, dressed in a grey suit, dark shoes and a black hat, is a life-size plastic art installation, which will be perched atop the office of an investment and real estate company for the next year.

The artist, Austrian Ronald Kodritsch, says the piece -- called "Reason to Believe" -- is not necessarily about suicide.

"It's not interesting whether he will jump or not. It's all about having a different perspective on things and about what might cross his mind," Kodritsch told Reuters. "Hyperrealism is boring!"

Although the man may evoke images of ruined businessmen ending it all in the dire economic climate, the idea for the work came to Kodritsch a year before the banking crisis erupted.

While some passers-by like 23-year-old Verena Kircher found the piece "alarming," others like Caroline van Kelst thought it was beautiful.

"It is crystal clear that this is not a suicide," she said. "He has definitely got something about him which is majestic, not desperate."

(Reporting by Petra Spescha; Editing by Steve Addison)