Art Observations

November 14, 2018

Magritte-statement


Drapes are hanging from the ceiling of the art gallery. "I have an allergy for this kind of hanging," he says.

"This is not art," the curator says. "You're getting old," the gallery director replies.

Environment and pollution are big topics in art nowadays. "Artists are looking for an aesthetic solution for the pollution," remarks a fellow curator.

What happens when an artist combines dance with painting? It looses in both dance and painting. 

Drapes are hanging from the ceiling of the art gallery. "I have an allergy for this kind of hanging," he says. "This is not art," the curator says. "You're getting old," the gallery director replies. Environment and pollution are big topics in art nowadays. "Artists are looking for an aesthetic solution for the pollution," remarks a fellow curator. What happens when an artist combines dance with painting?…
Magritte-statement


Drapes are hanging from the ceiling of the art gallery. "I have an allergy for this kind of hanging," he says.

"This is not art," the curator says. "You're getting old," the gallery director replies.

Environment and pollution are big topics in art nowadays. "Artists are looking for an aesthetic solution for the pollution," remarks a fellow curator.

What happens when an artist combines dance with painting? It looses in both dance and painting. 

Art Observations

November 4, 2018




Sometimes the concept of an art piece will do it for me. It's an intellectual beauty. I don't even have to see it realised, it doesn't need to take on a physical form. 

Sometimes it's good to visualise things. I asked my friend A. if she had done some writing lately. "Only scattered writing," she sighted. I made a sketch of scattered, constant and gathered thoughts and we both decided this was visual proof that scattered looks like much more fun.  





Sometimes the concept of an art piece will do it for me. It's an intellectual beauty. I don't even have to see it realised, it doesn't need to take on a physical form.  Sometimes it's good to visualise things. I asked my friend A. if she had done some writing lately. "Only scattered writing," she sighted. I made a sketch of scattered, constant and gathered thoughts and we both decided this was visual proof that scattere…



Sometimes the concept of an art piece will do it for me. It's an intellectual beauty. I don't even have to see it realised, it doesn't need to take on a physical form. 

Sometimes it's good to visualise things. I asked my friend A. if she had done some writing lately. "Only scattered writing," she sighted. I made a sketch of scattered, constant and gathered thoughts and we both decided this was visual proof that scattered looks like much more fun.  





Albanian Diary

November 3, 2018

Pink clouds at our arrival in Tirana

Wednesday

A day before travelling to Albania Wolfgang Müller decides to go for a haircut at Kottbusser Tor. He picks a random hairdresser and since he's early he is the only customer. The music is on. "Is it arabic music?" asks Wolfgang. "No, traditional Albanian music," the hairdresser says. It turns out he's Albanian. Edi moved to Berlin three years ago and speaks fluently German. He says that Albanian is a very difficult language, more so than German.

Thursday

Antoine Prum and his colleague Frank are also on the airplane to Tirana. They are making a documentary. Antoine is the director, Frank is the camera man, and the sound man is joining them in Vienna. Where is the costume person, I wonder, and who's doing the make-up? But then I guess it wouldn't be a documentary.


The camera team

My moment of fame

Upon arriving in Tirana, I tell Wolfgang the story of my last trip to the city. I was there to open the exhibition of Rosemarie Trockel as a representative of the Ifa (Institute for Foreign Affairs). A lot of press came because the president of Albania was also attending the opening, which was a big deal. This is how about 30 cameras were filming and photographing the opening talk of the president, followed by the speeches of the German ambassador and the director of the museum. Then it was my turn to talk about the content of the exhibition. As soon as I started to talk, the camera men lost interest and started packing up their cameras. My friend Ulli managed to take a picture just before the photographers realised I was going to talk about the art. 

Friday

In Tirana I drink "kafe."




A young man and woman are having a coffee on the terrace of Dajti Mountain, called Ballkoni Dajtit. They speak English with a Dutch and a German accent. They are talking about their study plans. The young man wants to live in another country but he doesn't want to make his thesis topic depended of where he wants to live. But then he also doesn't know which topic he wants to study, which then would bring him to a certain city. The young woman tries to convince him that it's not so bad to adapt your thesis topic to the city you want to live in. The young man is still undecided when they leave the table.





On the mountain we see a "Gottesanbeterin" or Mantis religiosa, an insect who has the front legs in a kneeled pose as if it's praying. Wolfgang tells me that she eats her partner after copulation. We also see a bush accompanied by a sign that says "bush." I take a photo because it reminds me of Bush.


Wolfgang Müller at ZETA Gallery

Albanians love their cheese. After the talk of Wolfgang at ZETA Gallery there is a reception with a lot of cheese appetisers. The cheese is sprinkled with green olive powder. The next day during my writing workshop I ask the students to write about the last art opening they visited. They should only talk about everything around the art while never mentioning the art itself. At least two students write about the cheese served at an opening. 

Saturday


Writing workshop at ZETA Gallery

"How is the Albanian voice?" I ask my students at the writing workshop at ZETA Gallery. "Loud," they tell me. Albanians talk so loud that they can't hear what their conversation partner is saying back.  





Wolfgang shows me a giant mushroom sculpture that he photographed during a drive through the city. It is particularly ugly and the driver told him it was a present of Germany to Albania. "It looks like a Carsten Höller," I laugh. Later I find out that's true. 

Sunday

Before we leave for the airport, Wolfgang and I return to the same restaurant we visited on the day we arrived: Puglia, in der Rruga Brigada VIII. We decide to take also the same dish as we did last time: fried sea food. It's surprising how fast one has routines. As Nietzsche said:  “I love brief habits."  





Wednesday A day before travelling to Albania Wolfgang Müller decides to go for a haircut at Kottbusser Tor. He picks a random hairdresser and since he's early he is the only customer. The music is on. "Is it arabic music?" asks Wolfgang. "No, traditional Albanian music," the hairdresser says. It turns out he's Albanian. Edi moved to Berlin three years ago and speaks fluently German. He says that Albanian is a very diff…
Pink clouds at our arrival in Tirana

Wednesday

A day before travelling to Albania Wolfgang Müller decides to go for a haircut at Kottbusser Tor. He picks a random hairdresser and since he's early he is the only customer. The music is on. "Is it arabic music?" asks Wolfgang. "No, traditional Albanian music," the hairdresser says. It turns out he's Albanian. Edi moved to Berlin three years ago and speaks fluently German. He says that Albanian is a very difficult language, more so than German.

Thursday

Antoine Prum and his colleague Frank are also on the airplane to Tirana. They are making a documentary. Antoine is the director, Frank is the camera man, and the sound man is joining them in Vienna. Where is the costume person, I wonder, and who's doing the make-up? But then I guess it wouldn't be a documentary.


The camera team

My moment of fame

Upon arriving in Tirana, I tell Wolfgang the story of my last trip to the city. I was there to open the exhibition of Rosemarie Trockel as a representative of the Ifa (Institute for Foreign Affairs). A lot of press came because the president of Albania was also attending the opening, which was a big deal. This is how about 30 cameras were filming and photographing the opening talk of the president, followed by the speeches of the German ambassador and the director of the museum. Then it was my turn to talk about the content of the exhibition. As soon as I started to talk, the camera men lost interest and started packing up their cameras. My friend Ulli managed to take a picture just before the photographers realised I was going to talk about the art. 

Friday

In Tirana I drink "kafe."




A young man and woman are having a coffee on the terrace of Dajti Mountain, called Ballkoni Dajtit. They speak English with a Dutch and a German accent. They are talking about their study plans. The young man wants to live in another country but he doesn't want to make his thesis topic depended of where he wants to live. But then he also doesn't know which topic he wants to study, which then would bring him to a certain city. The young woman tries to convince him that it's not so bad to adapt your thesis topic to the city you want to live in. The young man is still undecided when they leave the table.





On the mountain we see a "Gottesanbeterin" or Mantis religiosa, an insect who has the front legs in a kneeled pose as if it's praying. Wolfgang tells me that she eats her partner after copulation. We also see a bush accompanied by a sign that says "bush." I take a photo because it reminds me of Bush.


Wolfgang Müller at ZETA Gallery

Albanians love their cheese. After the talk of Wolfgang at ZETA Gallery there is a reception with a lot of cheese appetisers. The cheese is sprinkled with green olive powder. The next day during my writing workshop I ask the students to write about the last art opening they visited. They should only talk about everything around the art while never mentioning the art itself. At least two students write about the cheese served at an opening. 

Saturday


Writing workshop at ZETA Gallery

"How is the Albanian voice?" I ask my students at the writing workshop at ZETA Gallery. "Loud," they tell me. Albanians talk so loud that they can't hear what their conversation partner is saying back.  





Wolfgang shows me a giant mushroom sculpture that he photographed during a drive through the city. It is particularly ugly and the driver told him it was a present of Germany to Albania. "It looks like a Carsten Höller," I laugh. Later I find out that's true. 

Sunday

Before we leave for the airport, Wolfgang and I return to the same restaurant we visited on the day we arrived: Puglia, in der Rruga Brigada VIII. We decide to take also the same dish as we did last time: fried sea food. It's surprising how fast one has routines. As Nietzsche said:  “I love brief habits."  





Autumnal Stories

October 16, 2018

Color Poem for British Love


I visited my mother in her new apartment in Diest, Belgium. There is a coffee roasting facility in Diest and this is why it often smells of roasted coffee beans. It’s called "Stroobants Koffie." My mother doesn’t drink Stroobants coffee, she drinks another brand. In Alt-Tempelhof, in my neighbourhood in Berlin, it often smells of cookies being baked. The smells comes from the Keksfabrik Bahlsen. The Bahlsen company is known for its Leibniz butter cakes named after the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. I remember that once my publisher offered me Leibniz butter cakes on a small plate when I visited him. I found their taste a bit dry. Where I grew up in Tienen, it always smelled of the local Zuikerfabriek - the sugar refinery where the Belgian sugar gets made out of beets. The smell was very penetrant and hard to describe, but it didn't smell good. 

Man on the phone sitting next to me in the airport:
"throw a little bit more....
yeah....
because he is a...?
I'm not looking for....
ja ja
ja but....
It's not every time, you see....
My last landing was a catastrophe,
I don't know why...
My last 100 ones were good
but this one...
no no but it's true...
It was my last flight
so I was less concentrated...
no no but it's true...
(Man puts his hand in front of his mouth and bows forward
so I can no longer hear him.)

"Shit is going to happen on the stairs," says the artist who makes videos on ghosts. A. tells me about "L'esprit de l'escalier", which is an English expression in French, inspired by a philosopher Diderot. "L'esprit de l'escalier" is when you think of the perfect reply too late - when you reach the bottom of the stairs. 

"His lips stayed silent." I read this sentence somewhere and it stayed with me. 

The photographer tells me he prefers "schattenlose Architektur" (shadeless architecture). He doesn't like when things fall apart. 

Next to me in the subway a man is reading a text in French. I glance sideways to see what he's reading. "Dans ma maison je mésure ma chance," it says. (At home I calculate my chances.) And: "Chantal doit prendre le métro. La le vrai combat commence." (Chantal has to take the subway. That's where the real fight starts.)

An elderly woman wearing a big pearl necklace and a bright red dress sits next to me in the train. She looks great and she's reading a book titled Women and Power. I look at her a bit more and try to find out if she's as powerful as her outfit suggest. But then I figure out she's not because she's also sitting in the second class compartment of the train. Later my friend C. says that a powerful person wouldn't be reading a book about power. 

A man is talking on the phone to his friend: "Obwohl es eine angespannt Phase ist, hörst du dich entspannt an." ("Although it is a tense phase, you sound relaxed.")

"There can be no histories of sweat, only stories," says the artist in the beautiful exhibition Shine On Me, curated by Catherine Nichols at the Dresdener Hygiene Museum. I'm still thinking that through. 

After seeing Shine On Me, I started reading the poetry by Ingeborg Bachmann. "Wenn ein Tag an den Küsten verdampft," so she writes in a poem about the sun. ("When a day evaporates on the shores...")  

A. gave me Sylvia Smith's Misadventures as a present. I think the book is the revelation of the year. Sylvia Smith, who worked most of her life as a typist or secretary, tells in a most dry matter-of-factness the most banal things of life. She starts with her family then to chronologically, from 1950 to 1995, write little stories about people she met in life. The stories have no pointe, are of no importance, and are not what you would call "funny" but I laugh a lot and it's a most entertaining read. Talking about her father, she writes: "A past boyfriend said of my father, 'I feel sorry for him living alone with two women.'"






I visited my mother in her new apartment in Diest, Belgium. There is a coffee roasting facility in Diest and this is why it often smells of roasted coffee beans. It’s called "Stroobants Koffie." My mother doesn’t drink Stroobants coffee, she drinks another brand. In Alt-Tempelhof, in my neighbourhood in Berlin, it often smells of cookies being baked. The smells comes from the Keksfabrik Bahlsen. The Bahlsen company is known for its Lei…
Color Poem for British Love


I visited my mother in her new apartment in Diest, Belgium. There is a coffee roasting facility in Diest and this is why it often smells of roasted coffee beans. It’s called "Stroobants Koffie." My mother doesn’t drink Stroobants coffee, she drinks another brand. In Alt-Tempelhof, in my neighbourhood in Berlin, it often smells of cookies being baked. The smells comes from the Keksfabrik Bahlsen. The Bahlsen company is known for its Leibniz butter cakes named after the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. I remember that once my publisher offered me Leibniz butter cakes on a small plate when I visited him. I found their taste a bit dry. Where I grew up in Tienen, it always smelled of the local Zuikerfabriek - the sugar refinery where the Belgian sugar gets made out of beets. The smell was very penetrant and hard to describe, but it didn't smell good. 

Man on the phone sitting next to me in the airport:
"throw a little bit more....
yeah....
because he is a...?
I'm not looking for....
ja ja
ja but....
It's not every time, you see....
My last landing was a catastrophe,
I don't know why...
My last 100 ones were good
but this one...
no no but it's true...
It was my last flight
so I was less concentrated...
no no but it's true...
(Man puts his hand in front of his mouth and bows forward
so I can no longer hear him.)

"Shit is going to happen on the stairs," says the artist who makes videos on ghosts. A. tells me about "L'esprit de l'escalier", which is an English expression in French, inspired by a philosopher Diderot. "L'esprit de l'escalier" is when you think of the perfect reply too late - when you reach the bottom of the stairs. 

"His lips stayed silent." I read this sentence somewhere and it stayed with me. 

The photographer tells me he prefers "schattenlose Architektur" (shadeless architecture). He doesn't like when things fall apart. 

Next to me in the subway a man is reading a text in French. I glance sideways to see what he's reading. "Dans ma maison je mésure ma chance," it says. (At home I calculate my chances.) And: "Chantal doit prendre le métro. La le vrai combat commence." (Chantal has to take the subway. That's where the real fight starts.)

An elderly woman wearing a big pearl necklace and a bright red dress sits next to me in the train. She looks great and she's reading a book titled Women and Power. I look at her a bit more and try to find out if she's as powerful as her outfit suggest. But then I figure out she's not because she's also sitting in the second class compartment of the train. Later my friend C. says that a powerful person wouldn't be reading a book about power. 

A man is talking on the phone to his friend: "Obwohl es eine angespannt Phase ist, hörst du dich entspannt an." ("Although it is a tense phase, you sound relaxed.")

"There can be no histories of sweat, only stories," says the artist in the beautiful exhibition Shine On Me, curated by Catherine Nichols at the Dresdener Hygiene Museum. I'm still thinking that through. 

After seeing Shine On Me, I started reading the poetry by Ingeborg Bachmann. "Wenn ein Tag an den Küsten verdampft," so she writes in a poem about the sun. ("When a day evaporates on the shores...")  

A. gave me Sylvia Smith's Misadventures as a present. I think the book is the revelation of the year. Sylvia Smith, who worked most of her life as a typist or secretary, tells in a most dry matter-of-factness the most banal things of life. She starts with her family then to chronologically, from 1950 to 1995, write little stories about people she met in life. The stories have no pointe, are of no importance, and are not what you would call "funny" but I laugh a lot and it's a most entertaining read. Talking about her father, she writes: "A past boyfriend said of my father, 'I feel sorry for him living alone with two women.'"