Cultural Sponsorship

Art Of Cleaning

Eibenstock Dam - Eibenstock, Germany

"Kingdom of Fishes": Eibenstock Dam adorned with large-scale artwork

On the wall of the Eibenstock Dam, the reverse graffiti artist Klaus Dauven has created a large-scale artwork. Using high-pressure cleaners, he etched a drawing out of the 30-year-old dirt layer, depicting two native trout. The picture, entitled "Kingdom of Fishes", can be seen in the contrast between the light and dark of the cleaned and uncleaned surfaces. Kärcher offered support and advice throughout the project as part of its cultural sponsorship programme, contributing both experience and technology.

The two trout are positioned one on top of the other and stretch across the entire width of the dam wall. They are drawn cut across lengthways so that only the back of one of the fish and the underside of the other can be seen. The way the fish are depicted creates the impression of movement – they appear to be moving in the water. The river trout, which is native to the Ore Mountains, is an important bioindicator because it can only survive in very clean water. The image of the fish is therefore symbolic of the quality of the drinking water in the Eibenstock reservoir.

In order to transfer the artist's design onto the dam wall, it was digitised by a surveying company and projected onto the wall using laser technology. Industrial climbers marked points onto the dam wall, which the artist then connected up to create the image. The artist worked from a facade lift and was supported by the industrial climbers, who abseiled from the top of the dam. Three HD 13/18-4 S cold water high-pressure cleaners were used to carry out the work.

Eibenstock Dam
The Artist

Klaus Dauven has been using Kärcher high-pressure cleaners since 2003 to create temporary artworks in public spaces. He was born in 1966 in Düren (North Rhine-Westphalia) and studied art in Düsseldorf, Münster and Aix-en-Provence. Klaus Dauven has received numerous awards for his work, including the Joseph and Anna Fassbender Prize from the city of Brühl and the Düren Art Prize. He now lives in Kreuzau (North Rhine-Westphalia). In collaboration with Kärcher, he has already adorned several dam walls with his temporary artworks, including the Olef Dam in the Eifel region in 2007 and the Matsudagawa Dam in Japan in 2008.



The Eibenstock Dam went into operation in 1982. It is the largest drinking water reservoir in Saxony. With its capacity of around 64 million cubic metres of water, the reservoir supplies drinking water to the greater Zwickau-Chemnitz area. The dam also helps in providing flood protection, raising low water levels and generating power. The mighty wall of the Eibenstock dam is around 300 metres long and 57 metres high.

Olef Dam - Hellenthal, Germany

World's largest drawing created using high-pressure cleaners

By carrying out restoration cleaning on buildings and monuments, including the heads of the American presidents sculpted into Mount Rushmore (USA) or the colonnades in St. Peter's Square in Rome, the cleaning machines manufacturer Kärcher is making a global contribution to preventing the deterioration of historic monuments.

In April 2007, as part of its cultural sponsorship programme, Kärcher was involved not just in preserving but in creating a brand-new artwork for the first time: in collaboration with the artist Klaus Dauven, the world's largest drawing was created on the 282-metre-long, 59-metre-high wall of the Olef dam in Hellenthal in Germany's Eifel region. The artwork is unique in its execution: instead of paint, the artist used Kärcher high-pressure cleaners as his medium. The drawing, which measures 8,000 m2, was completed in just two weeks. It is entitled "Wildlife Variations" and depicts larger-than-life-size animal motifs. These were a very deliberate choice of Klaus Dauven: "The interplay between woodland animals and fish is very appropriate for the surrounding national park and lake", said the artist.

After more than a year of extensive planning, the project began on 2 April 2007. First of all, individual points of the motif were projected onto the wall of the dam and marked with modelling clay to create a guide for the artist. Then the high-pressure cleaners came into play: by removing moss, algae and lichen, individual elements of the drawing gradually emerged. Squirrels, deer, pike, buzzards and other wildlife have been impressively depicted in the contrast between the cleaned, light-coloured dam wall and the still dirty, dark surface.

The project unfolded in view of a large number of curious onlookers and tourists, who watched the event with interest. "With this artwork we have gained an attraction", said Mayor Manfred Ernst enthusiastically.

Olef Dam
Olef Dam
Olef Dam
Chungju Dam
Chungju Dam
Chungju Dam

Chungju Dam - Chungju, South Korea

Creative cleaning project on the Chungju Dam in South Korea

In October 2012, an international art project showed a wide audience just how creative working with Kärcher's high-pressure cleaners can be: together with a German-Korean team of Kärcher employees, industrial climbers and surveyors, artist Klaus Dauven created the "Horang-ee" (Tiger) artwork at the Chungju Dam.

The Chungju Dam, situated approximately 100 kilometres south of Seoul, is the largest in South Korea. Holding over 2.7 billion cubic metres of water, the dam has supplied the capital city and region with drinking water since 1985. The site also produces energy and protects against flooding.

And now the dam has acquired another role as a gigantic canvas. The "Horang-ee" masterpiece depicts a tiger, which was drawn in the dirt on the 447-metre long and 98-metre high dam using Kärcher high-pressure cleaners. In order to transfer the artist's design from a DIN A3 landscape format to the dam wall, it was digitised and projected onto the wall using laser technology. A total of over 1,300 measurement points were calculated. These were marked on the dam wall with yellow modelling clay and then connected by Klaus Dauven. The contours of the drawing were therefore created using the principle of "painting by numbers".

The many fixtures on the wall presented a challenge as they provided an irregular surface to work on. As different parts of the wall had different levels of dirt, the artwork had to be positioned very precisely. In order to reach all of the different parts, the artist and the industrial climbers helping him abseiled down from the crest of the wall. It was mostly organic dirt such as algae, lichens and moss that needed to be removed from the dam – a job that could be carried out without the use of chemicals.

Matsudagawa Dam - Ashikaga, Japan

Temporary artwork on Japanese dam

In the summer of 2008, Kärcher helped to create another work of art, this time in Japan: in collaboration with the artist Klaus Dauven, a delicate drawing was created on the Matsudagawa dam, close to the city of Ashikaga, using high-pressure cleaners.

Flower motifs were etched out of the 12-year-old dirt layer onto the dam wall (which measures 228 metres in length and up to 56 metres in height) using the water stream. The five flowers – "Hanazakari" – can be seen in the contrast between the treated and untreated surface. They will remain on the wall for around five years until there is so much regrowth of algae, moss and lichen that there will be no visible difference between the once clean and permanently dirty surface.

In order to transfer the design onto the wall, it was digitised by a Japanese surveying company and projected onto the wall using laser technology. Four Kärcher HD 1050 B cold water high-pressure cleaners were used to perform the cleaning work. With climbing ropes, a mobile platform and the assistance of the German rope access technology firm GSAR, every part of the wall could be accessed and the dirt, made up almost exclusively of organic matter,

In 2007, Klaus Dauven created the monumental animal motif "Wildlife Variations" in collaboration with Kärcher on the Olef dam in Hellenthal in Germany's Eifel region. Klaus Dauven, whose work is displayed primarily in public spaces, has been using high-pressure cleaners since 2003 to create temporary artworks on garden walls, in underpasses and on bridge abutments, among other places. He closely examines the environment, which serves as his canvas, and incorporates it into the artwork, but without permanently changing it like conventional graffiti.

Matsudagawa Dam
Matsudagawa Dam
Matsudagawa Dam