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German artist stirs Cairo crowd

Onlookers find hand attached to wall

Published:

Several fire trucks and rescue workers rushed to a German cultural centre in central Cairo on Thursday after hearing a man was hanging from a wall, only to find an arts installation by a German artist.

By the time emergency services arrived at the Goethe Cultural Centre, artist Johan Lorbeer had climbed down from a ladder, one of the props in the exhibit, and left behind a plastic replica of a human hand attached to the wall.

"We heard a man was hanging from the wall," said one police officer at the scene.

Dozens of Egyptians crowded outside the gates of the institute, craning for a glimpse at the hand. "What happened?" asked one man, before snorting derisively when told it was a plastic hand.

"The Germans are laughing at us," he said before walking away.

Beate Kohler, director of the institute's language department, seemed unfazed by the blaring sirens and crowd of onlookers, enthusiastically telling AFP the institute had been trying to invite Lorbeer for more than two years.

The exhibit was meant to "give the illusion (Lorbeer) was hanging to the wall only with his hand," she said.