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El Ancla; Willi Gutmann

El Ancla, “The Anchor” is a monumental sculpture by Swiss artist Willi Gutmann. It’s among the most recognizable works of the Ruta de la Amistad. This was probably heightened when the work was moved following the 2008 expansion of the Periférico highway. The sculpture is now among the most prominent on the Periférico / Insurgentes cloverleaf.

  • Willi Gutmann (1927–2013) was born in Dielsdorf, Switzerland. Like many of the artists in the Friendship Route, his early work was concentrated in the fields of architecture and design. He renewed a focus on monumental sculpture only in the 1960s. His best works focused on articulated, disjointed, movable bodies, most of them done in metal and alloys. Gutmann’s invitation to participate in the Friendship route grew from his brother’s relationship with Helen Escobedo, then directing the Museum of Modern Art. She organized an exhibition of Gutmann’s work already in February of 1968, a good six months prior to the Olympics (for which the Friendship Route was being organized). Guttman’s career then spanned many decades and multiple continents.

The sculpture was built in 1968 using concrete applied over a steel framework. El Ancla stands at some 7.50 meters high. Originally painted purple and green, the artist changed the color in 1997 to the blue we see today. This was to better place it within the built environment that had changed so dramatically in the years since the Olympics.

That color change was part of a restoration performed by the Association of Swiss Businessmen in Mexico with support from the Swiss Embassy.

How to get here
  • Ave Insurgentes Sur/, Cuicuilco, Coyoacán, 04530 CDMX


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