How Can I Not Be Unhappy?
For years I imagined that a life filled with weltschmerz was incredibly chic. I believed that not just the entire two years I spent in Barcelona but my whole life, really. Until three years ago—the events are not relevant here—I lived in that error. But then I began to waver completely in this belief. Almost as soon as that happened, other, no less grotesque ideas collapsed like a house of cards. For example, the idée fixe that slenderness is an essential prerequisite for intellectuality, or that tragic loneliness is merely the result of lacking a doppelgänger.
Often I claimed I could no longer bear life; I desired nothing more fervently than to die, a desire that I learned from numerous like-minded people. I carefully filled my notebooks with daily “deprinotes” and adapted countless quotations from the noir pantheon of literature, until I noticed that they were all from men. But several of them were really rather good.
In any case, I was constantly getting on my friends’ nerves with my constant weltschmerz. I had rehearsed too much of it. I was also getting everything mixed up. My coolly closed-off and absent gaze alone was not enough. When I strolled through the streets, trying to attract the attention of passers-by in the hope that they would alleviate my inner struggles with charming encounters, I came up empty. When I sat in cafés and wanted to radiate my intangible feeling of unhappiness from my fragile and yet increasingly transparent shell of elegant melancholy, it merely fell flat.
There are a hundred reasons for melancholy. One serious one: most people think significantly and live banally. So do I. Perhaps it would be much more elegant to live simply and enjoy the moment and feel immortal in it. But is that interesting?
In the art world, at least, pure joyfulness is regarded as foolish, indelicate, and not very productive. Narcism, even immoderate, is not. Personally, therefore, I can only endure art if I get away from it regularly. That is, by the way, also the only way to keep the constant confusions of my art historical, literary, and political personality structure in check. To that end, I sometimes seek psychological help as well. At the beginning of Anti-Oedipus one comes across something like the following comment from Foucault: Do not believe that because you are a revolutionary you must feel sad.
In the meanwhile, I no longer find people and characters who live in the world without any joy at all to be chic but rather at most boring. There are many such characters in Goethe. Eduard, for example, who in an exchange of letters addressed to himself perpetuates his unrealized contact to his beloved Ottilie and in weak moments even imagines the impermissible, even when the good woman does something that insults the pure idea he has of her. How can I not be unhappy when far from her? he asks.
It is nice to talk to Thomas Zitzwitz about literature. During a visit to his studio, I tell him about reading the three-day lecture on “irony” by Enrique Vila-Matas— a masterpiece of the montage of quotations. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster had brought him to my attention. In it he digests his failure in a competition in Key West as Ernest Hemingway’s doppelgänger and the beginnings of his literary career in Paris. Thomas Zitzwitz, who grew up in France, has just rediscovered Goethe’s Elective Affinities. He emphasizes that the metaphor on which the novel is based is not intended to be the point of departure of his concept for this group exhibition. But we do agree on this: The idea that if there is a sufficiently strong affinity the components of compounds can breakdown and recombine with a partner from another compound could certain indeed certainly be a fascinating way to consider very different works by very different artists as one walks through an exhibition.
Thomas Zitzwitz studied media art with Marcel Odenbach at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe from 1992 to 1997. Reference systems on film, music, pop culture, and literature are an important point of departure for his approach to the classical medium of painting. Thomas Zitzwitz began with video installations and unusual performances that used scents to generate immediate emotional images of moods and memories. How can such a suggestive effect be translated into abstract paintings that can speak of something other than abstract painting? For several years now, he has no longer based the development of his paintings on multiple layers of color-saturated acrylic paint and on their objecthood but rather on the technique of spraying. Suite for Spray Gun was the title of his solo exhibition at the Galerie Zidoun-Bossuyt in 2014. You don’t entirely pick up on how his paintings are made. Nor do you really know what you are seeing. A mutually attractive and repellent compound of illusionistic and realistic references determines one’s own perception, which tries hard to rediscover what it has already seen: pleated and ruffled fabric, crumpled paper, fabric shawls, enlarged details from Baroque ceiling paintings. From a distance, the motifs appear to have been photographed naturalistically; on closer inspection, they evade any contour, like phantasms of imagined materials of eruptions of form activated by molecular forces. Although on closer inspection, your nose all but bumps up against the material structure of the canvas and that of the sprayed paint, any tangibility of the forms of the picture plane perceives so spatially transforms into the dissolved error of vision. Or to paraphrase Heisenberg: The closer you get to a thing, the more precisely you can measure it, but the impulse of its position becomes that much less clear.
Zitzwitz wrote to David Reed that he was interested in getting away from the glossy, oscillating surfaces of his paintings thus far in order to achieve a less associative visual effect that nevertheless maintains the painting in a motion rich with references.
Working quickly is clearly called for. That is the rule of the game, in order to integrate half-controlled, half-random processes into the act of painting. What I see is that the canvas on the floor was worked and folded and must also have been manipulated. What I don’t see is the surprise that the painter must have felt in his bones when unfolding and stretching the paintings themselves.
Last summer I traveled to Nantes for a day to meet someone I didn’t yet know very well. Before that, though, I definitely wanted to visit the Jules Verne Museum, but I was running out of time and in the end I ran into a young woman desperately searching for her cat in the rain. She couldn’t find it and then went to the hair salon. In the meanwhile, the museum was just about to close, and I did not want to make my acquaintance wait. In fact, I just wanted to imitate Nellie Bly, who briefly interrupted her seventy-two-day trip around the world in order to seek out in person the writer of the novel whose famous character she was trying to outdo. As we all know, its hero, Phileas Fogg, was only able to win his bet because, without realizing it, he had crossed the date line going east and thereby gained a whole day. Famously, the novel contains a serious error in logic, since the date line in fact passes through the Pacific Ocean. At the latest on his arrival in America, and certainly by the end in New York, when he had missed his steamship, this must have occurred to Fogg. That should not be overlooked solely for reasons of narrative finesse. Verne’s novel was published in 1873. The date line was not established as the 180° meridian until 1884, after the Greenwich meridian was established as the prime meridian.
The sculpture Reality Zones of 2016 by Alicja Kwade consists of 26 interlocking rings, each of which was formed based on a time zone (or date line) and its corresponding antipode on the opposite side of the globe.
Real time zones have frayed western and eastern edges that take into account countries and geopolitical decisions as deviations from the strictly vertical meridians. Scattered between the rings are depictions of small islands that are not supposed to be divided by time zones. The sculpture thus illustrates the ultimately arbitrary and historically determined, schematic subdivision of the world.
In her work Alle Zeit der Welt (All the Time in the World) of 2015, the artist had previously depicted the course of times zones as rods with copper alloys leaning vertically on the wall. In that case, she layered the lines of the course of the zones as if they were overgrowing one another organically. Moses had such a staff, it inevitably occurred to me, with which he was able to part the sea.
For more than ten years, Alicja Kwade has studied the seemingly calculable and yet unimaginable with a seemingly inexhaustible wealth of imagination, and in the process fascinated an international audience. She questions the world and its state with scientific curiosity but responds using artistic means. Her works are often very concrete and reduced, but at the same time they open up spaces of intellectual connections to parallel worlds, to that which has not even been imagined yet, which cannot yet be imagined, that can also be felt and though, sometimes with lively irony, sometimes with melancholy emotion. What is generally regarded as obeying laws is called into question in Kwade’s work.
In her recent “month pictures” too, Alicja Kwade presses up against the usual schematizations with unusual forms of presentation. In Januar 2017, small brass clock hands show the course of the entire month. Each hand stands for one hour of a day, so that twenty-four hands result for each day of the month. This produces an entirely unfamiliar calendar that espouses a rather visual poetry. Time seems here to be measured movement in stasis. Measured time is a human attempt to structure reality. But what is real, what is true, what is nature?
By the way: The economist Steve Hanke and the astrophysicist Richard Henry of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore consider time zones to be outdated in our globally networked world and hence ultimately nature as well. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) as a universally valid value has been proposed. The elimination of time zones, which has already been done at astronomical institutions and for airline traffic, would make it easier for people and communities to communicate with one another. Even more communication? How can you not be unhappy about that? Changing and synchronizing the idea of time of billions of people is presumably the greatest presumptuousness about that.
Traveling without arriving. Traveling without departing. Waiting for the present. In Goethe’s Elective Affinities, there is little room for the protagonists to move. The story of a couple living in distant togetherness, whose marriage is knocked out of balance by the arrival of two others, nevertheless offers a lot of material to reflect on the function of images. With the aid of images, Charlotte and later Ottilie dream in other worlds, not noticing that they themselves are excluded from them. Nature created based on images is supposed to be their only model. Eduard, by contrast, is sitting in a pleasant valley, a “ground,” whose individual parts are suited not to painting but to life. The restoration of a park with a cemetery chapel becomes the venue for reflection on likenesses, because existence is reflected and plays out only in images. Likenesses replace life and make it predictable and available. Images serve as patterns and models on which reality is then based. The reproduction of reality in the imagination and the projection of the imagination onto reality can no longer be distinguished. The people moving in a world of images become shadows of reality. The image becomes the central motif of “lifelessness.” It is clearly Goethe’s view too that art is deadly when it is no longer creative, when it only works with patterns and models, especially when it allows the living to ossify into the dead.
In the summer of 2016, Marcel Odenbach visited the former home of the collectors Irene and Peter Ludwig, which now houses the headquarters of the Ludwig Foundation. Having been invited to create a new work for the fortieth anniversary of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, he wanted to make, in a respectful rapprochement, a “picture of the picture” of these two patrons of the arts, who were so important, generous, and at times also controversial during the postwar period in Germany. The point of departure was the attempt to get closer to private people who have long since become history. The artist focuses on the interior of the house—which from the outside seems entirely unremarkable but is also the more seductive for that inside. He was touched in particular by the kitchen, with the original high-quality, still intact kitchen counter from the 1950s, which reminded Odenbach of the one that his own grandparents had had, but also the cellar, with its decorative tiles, and the garage, converted into an exotic storeroom for the well-supplied home. The garage door, which opens and closes several times in the film serves both as a projection screen and clapper boards. It opens up the space that it also closes off. It shows the absent in the present.
The camera cautiously wanders through the rooms: the bedroom, where a large painting by Roy Lichtenstein is hanging, remains closed, but not the library, which offers a view into the garden. There stands a sculpture by Arno Breker, who received the greatest honors during the National Socialist period. In the film the collectors are seen speaking in clips from historical film documentaries. Their obsessive, candid statements were unusual at the time, their close connections with the art market new, their dispensing with normative criteria such as “high” and “low,” “East” and “West,” almost obsolete. The concept of “Weltkunst” (international art) was programmatic. With an openly expressed hunger to possess and capital that flowed like hot chocolate, they collected everything that seemed worthwhile. Their engagement with contemporary art began in the late 1950s. They assembled thousands of objects.
The different levels of perception are especially important to me. I like working with a façade, an image that does not hold what it pretends to be. It is perhaps also a little underhanded, probably I learned that from film, especially from Hitchcock. The beautiful illusion deceives, and coming closer opens up another world. Perhaps these different perspectives are also a mirror of our current society and politics, says Marcel Odenbach of the film.
Marcel Odenbach became known for performances and videos and is considered one of the influential German pioneers of video art of the 1970s. In early 2000 he began to create large-format collages as well, often based on photographs. The photocollage Nach einer stürmischen Nacht (After a Stormy Night) is one of these fascinating visual creations, which both devote themselves to daily political events and at the same time exorcise the spirits the are repeatedly being evoked.
On Pentecost Monday, June 9, 2014, a weather front of the low-pressure area Ela passed over Düsseldorf and part of the Ruhr region from the west around 9 p.m., leaving behind a swath of destruction. Around 22,500 of roughly 69,000 trees lining the streets of Düsseldorf were severely damaged. The surrounding parks, the bank of the Rhine, and the famous Hofgarten (Court Garden) of Düsseldorf were no longer what they were. A week-long chain saw massacre was necessary, from which the cityscape will take decades to recover. The year 2014 was also the year of the Ukraine crisis, new conflicts in the Middle East, the Ebola epidemic, and the declaration of a caliphate by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Built into the collage is a multifaceted vocabulary of visual quotations from current newspapers and texts but also on more general subjects such as colonization, racism, and xenophobia, which Marcel Odenbach repeated calls to mind. The excerpts from texts, which can only be read from close up, are by German writers: Heinrich Heine, a master of the travelogue and art criticism, who as a child in 1811 witnessed Napoleon’s march into his own native city of Düsseldorf, and especially Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I see dialogues with Margarete, that is to say, from Faust.
Berta Fischer too is often in Düsseldorf, where she was born. But I have never met her in the Hofgarten. I am often here. Usually I take a walk and wait for something. For what exactly, I usually don’t know. For something to happen. For an opportunity to experience something new.
Because nothing happens, I read: No one is asking us to live life in the pink, but they’re not asking for black despair either. As the Chinese proverb says, you cannot prevent the dark birds of sorrow from passing over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair, says Enrique Vila-Matas in Never Any End to Paris. Vila-Matas also repeatedly warned of the literary affliction. Literature, like art, makes it easier to understand life better. But for that very reason, it quickly shuts the reader off from real life.
As an artist, Berta Fischer is immune to the literary affliction, I would assume. She dispenses with narrative, with genre-crossing references, and yet her dematerialized spatial volumes are full of poetry, shimmering like the plumage of colonies of the parrots, large flocks of which have settled in the Hofgarten.
She too studied for a time with Marcel Odenbach, at the time in Karlsruhe. She too began with video works, but then discovered thin plastic foils as a “material without matter.” Initially she projected videos onto her first objects made of foil but soon switched to pure light. Later she developed lightweight sculptures of plastic, which she caused to vibrate using fans. She sprayed paint on plastic materials and sought to create a maximum of form and space with a minimum of materials. That also worked with acrylic-glass rods, which she heated and formed into knots, thin spirals, or delicate lines, which then grew out of walls or hung from the ceiling and trembled quietly at the slightest puff of air. She often cuts her harder sculptures from a single sheet of transparent, sometimes colored acrylic glass. The light gathers on the cut edges, producing glowing lines. Her sculptural “paintings” unfold in iridescent, fleeting colors, forcing their way out of the plane and into the space as if growing organically. The architecture of the site where her work finds its place is determinant initially, before yielding to her. In the end, everything is rather complicated: the proportions, the formal relationships, the angle of the lighting, the surface qualities, the effects of color change constantly from multiple viewpoints. Only by moving and actively observing can the numerous facets of these fragile constellations be fully appreciated. Even if Berta Fischer fundamentally linked to the Minimalism of the 1960s—as it were by birth and childhood experiences with the artists—she plays with light and space in a way that recalls not least the members of the Abstraction-Création movement, which was founded in Paris. In her sculptural works she orchestrates a virtuosic interplay of materiality, color, form, and light and produces a polyphony that seems musical in its play of harmony and disharmony.
Goethe noted concerning the night of October 14– 15, 1806: Our house saved thanks to perseverance and luck. Lieutenant Noisin. On October 14, 1806, following the Battle of Jena, Weimar was surrendered completely. Not ten houses were left unscathed, not even the castle. Goethe’s friend Melchior Kraus, the director of the drawing school and author of saccharine genre scenes, was completely robbed and so badly mistreated that he later died. Many of his friends lost everything they owned. His son-in-law Heinrich Meyer lost his most important work of art; even Charlotte von Stein, who was extremely courageous, was robbed and looted. Christiane Vulpius’s brother was robbed of everything; he fled with his wife and child to the part and spent that October night hiding in the bushes. It is said that Christiane saved Goethe’s life that night, and that he later married her out of gratitude for those days. Or so the story continues to be told today. No evidence of it from Christiane survives.
It did not look good for Cervantes either two centuries earlier. When the first part of his El ingenioso hildago Don Quixote de la Mancha, was published in 1605, he had not only lost his left hand to the glory of his right in the Battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman Empire but also spent a rather frustrating time—despite several attempts to escape—as a slave in Algiers. His poor performance as a tax collector and misappropriation of state funds later landed him in prison. The concept of tax havens had not yet arrived.
Although Cervantes’s bones are lost, and Goethe’s are safely hidden away in the Fürstengruft in Weimar, in retrospect Goethe certainly has reason to be annoyed: In 2008 the work by the Spanish author was translated anew by the German philologist Susanne Lange: a two-volume German version that was highly praised by literary critics and its linguistic dimension in German has been compared to that of the original. Moreover, in 2002—as announced at the Nobel Institute in Oslo—one hundred famous authors selected Don Quixote as the “best book in the world.” Both national authors lent their names to the most important cultural institute of his respective country, and in both cases they are of inestimable value in the support of the visual arts as well. In Germany, the story of the knight of woeful countenance is famous above all for a few central scenes, not for its great significance the rhetorical figure of irony as a cure for melancholy.
Nacht über La Mancha (Night over La Mancha) is the title of a large-format painting by Gregor Hildebrandt. It owes its format, however, to a completely different place: the large display window of the Kunstverein Heppenheim. Heppenheim is a little town in southern Hessen, one like so many other small towns in Germany. It was once a haven for the liberal, revolutionary cells in the run-up to the German Revolution of 1848–49, now long gone. A hundred years ago, the Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP; Free Democratic Party) was founded in this town for that reason. Martin Buber lived and worked here for many years, then in 1938 he was forced to emigrate; his house was looted; instead the town got a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp. The display window of the Kunstverein had previously been the shop window for the bakery run by the parents of a friend of Hildebrandt, the artist Thomas Zipp, who not only suffers from the literary affliction but has in general studied many a realm of affliction related to art.
In the exhibition in Heppenheim, Gregor Hildebrandt showed seven small-format works that find their monumental synthesis and their positive in the work exhibited here in Luxembourg. Applied with a grand expressionistic gesture, broad white brushstrokes intersect to form a structure of narrow vertical stripes that recalls Op Art or Minimalism. But appearance is deceiving, for nothing here has been painted. The image of this mock battle is itself illusion. The whole visual look seems embalmed, thanks to a technical invention by the artist that is more closely related to printing techniques. On a canvas primed white, strips of tape are applied with binder, and the gestural parts are “drawn in” in advance with white fixative. When the protective film is removed from the tape, long vertical rows of magnetic tape dissected are applied to it by rip-off method, but they will not stick to the areas marked with fixative.
Since the early 2000s, Hildebrandt has been using materials that previously stored images or sounds: vinyl disks, film stock, video and cassette tapes along with their cases. Almost manically, like the Ludwigs in their passion for collecting, his visual works and installations gobble up enormous quantities of these increasingly rare objects and storage media for a technology from the film and music industries that has already been declared dead. Hildebrandt is a nightmare for (media) conservators, an iconoclast for the future generation. For he is pursuing a conjured-up squandering of resources that are already scarce, aesthetically recycling materials for storing cultural data into art objects in their own right. With these materials, Hildebrandt makes collages, easel paintings, photographs, and installations that are not only formally pointed, polished, and inventive but also develop a rich spectrum of allusions on the level of memory. Last but not least, they have been described as mortuaries that cannot be reopened, as cemetery chapels, urn collection chambers, which nevertheless want to help those who have ossified into death return to ephemeral life.
For what is stored on these media remains hidden and is not heard or seen directly but is at most asserted. In the work Nacht über La Mancha, tapes of Jacques Brel’s musical adaptation L’homme de la Mancha of 1968 were carefully applied to the canvas—a musical with which Gregor Hildebrandt has been familiar since childhood. In 1967, at the height of his career, Brel retired from the stage and worked hard on a French version of the musical, in which he himself would take the role of Don Quixote. Brel had long since been an idol for his audience with his urge for freedom and adventure, his search for happiness, and his nonconformity.
The expressionistic, emotional performing style of this international star from Belgium is recognizably echoed in the visual composition. The gestural tilting at windmills leads in a sense to the ironic extinguishing of the image. For Gregor Hildebrandt, Don Quixote per se is the epitome of the figure of the artist.
Don Quixote is famously one of the most difficult patients with the literary affliction, as long outdated chivalric romances had gone entirely to his head. From the perspective of literary studies, the self-appointed squire’s hopeless battle against the thirty giants was an ideal symbol of the aristocracy’s loss of power in the face of the threat of rampant technological progress. At the same time, Don Quixote—much like Voltaire’s Candide later—personified creative imagination and an unswerving, heroic idealism. In the clash of ideal and reality, of folly and reason, however, for him too the tragic experience of the unrealizable ideals increasingly leads to cheerful composure. Perhaps that is a recipe for the near future that we should hope for today.
Isa Melsheimer was at Gregor Hildebrandt’s opening in Heppenheim, and she has been in Luxembourg many times. Cervantes was in Barcelona, but not in Luxembourg. Goethe was not in Barcelona, but probably in Luxembourg, at the same age Gregor Hildebrandt is today, in happier times, still as a tourist of war and not, as later, one of its victims. He arrived on October 14, 1792, after a successful and frustrating journey on which he had accompanied Duke Carl Augustus of Saxony-Weimar and the troops of the antirevolutionary alliance. They had threatened the French revolutionaries that they would completely destroy Paris. That plan had gone south. The fortress of Luxembourg pleased the reactionary Goethe; several his pen drawings of the secure stronghold survive. The entire city was then one big military complex, and anyone drawing here could be accused of being a spy and end up behind bars. When Isa Melsheimer was drawing here, around 2011, she got to the bottom of the city’s gloomy basements. In the context of a group exhibition at MUDAM, she intervened in the spiral staircase with scaffolds, concrete and corrugated metal panels, imperceptibly shifting contours and borders. She called the installation Garten für einen glücklosen Schatten (Garden for an Unhappy Shadow), alluding to the architect I. M. Pei’s penchant for the tradition of the culture of the Asian garden as a source for and the essence of his creativity. I. M. Pei early on broke with the principles of orthodox modernism that envisioned a standardized architecture of the future in all countries and cultures.
Isa Melsheimer works with urban living spaces and the conditions for their design and transformation. In her rich oeuvre, sculptures of concrete, glass, or ceramic are found alongside model-like experimental setups, embroidered textiles, ensembles of living plants, and arrangements of objects that play with the possibilities of functional use. With an enormous arsenal of references to the history of architecture, she studies the thin skin of thresholds, needs for contrasts, and the possibilities of poetic “error correction on journeys back into the future.”
From Iannis Xenakis by way of Werner Kallmorgen to John Lautner, from glass architecture to concrete Brutalism: with her installations and objects, the artist does not just refocus attention on forgotten architecture and its authors. She also follows the trail of stereotypes and formal traditions to which she gives new potential with fictionalized interventions and alterations. In the process she often manages to use architecture and design to make it possible to sense dynamic and social tensions. Her gouaches represent in her work the point of departure for carefully studied and also free visual worlds in which she subtly interweaves quotations from the realms of architecture, design, art, and pop culture. In her objects, she surprises us with shifts in scale, changing perspectives, contrasting materials, and ironic humor. Many things happen in parallel in her work. The artist is extremely energetic. Her works are still handmade, sometimes fragile, never perfectionist. Nevertheless, nothing happens by chance in Melsheimer’s works. The landscape of pedestals of her ensemble in the exhibition in Luxembourg quotes Mario Bellini’s variable landscape of chairs and tables, Gli Scacchi—a design classic from 1971 that was already far ahead of Minimalism.
Isa Melsheimer, who has received numerous art prizes, scholarships, and invitations to participate in exhibitions around the world, studied at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin in the 1990s with Georg Baselitz, who repeatedly tried in vain to impose his thesis on the art world that women cannot paint. Times are hard, but postmodern. That is presumably true of Baselitz as well.
The question of whether the world is what it is, and whether there might not be another parallel one, joins more than just artistic elective affinities. Ideally, it brings together both authors and readers, artists and viewers, architects and dwellers. The unstable boundaries between reality and fiction have always been the measures of artistic tightrope walks: stories, deceptions, imitations, labyrinthine detours have always been material to reinvent the true. Goethe supposedly practice Arabic calligraphy in order to sense the language and meaning of words in the physical activity of copying letters. In her series Being … (2006–11), Alicja Kwade forged manuscripts by renowned figures such as Werner Heisenberg; Isa Melsheimer makes drawings of architecture that has long since been destroyed. When I write something that has already been written, or something similar, it is nevertheless no longer the same thing.
We want to understand the world—at least somewhat—and then act, to show it our pictures or tell it our opinion when we have collected information and ideas. We appreciate independence and the intellect and as a rule are reliable and friendly without having to be all too pushy. We concentrate on tasks we set and solve ourselves and we seek the right processes to do so. If we don’t find enough in ourselves to satisfy us, we seek predecessors and doppelgängers and appeal to traditions that avant-garde artists have to break free of because they perceived it as a space of the worn out and lost, just as we experience the “modern world” as a place of breakdown, even when it itself affirms it from the value of the new.
The day after the opening on January 19, 2017, was a cold one in Luxembourg. It had been a pleasant evening; many people were there. Even so, I slept badly. After having breakfast together, I had retreated to the Parcs de la Pétrusse just before my departure. There I discovered a single black bird, reading a newspaper, almost motionless. Now and again he turned a page, with increasing energy and rage, as if he wanted to cause his surroundings to tremble. As all the gloomy thoughts rise in me, involuntarily I put my hands in front of my face—like the Statue of Liberty today. I wanted to shut down my consciousness and not analyze anything any longer.
Sabine Maria Schmidt