EXPRESSIONIST ADVENTURES

The Red City, a painting by Marianne von Werefkin from 1909, stands exemplary for Expressionism which emerged in Northern Europe in the early 20th century and quickly spread through all of the arts and as well also in architecture. So lets make a short walk through the vivid Falkenhagener Feld in Berlin.



The Falkenhagener Feld was originally an area used by allotments and agriculture and closes west of the old town of Spandau, the core of the district Spandau in Berlin. Between 1923 and 1927 the architect Richard Ermisch realized here the erection of a huge estate in Expressionist style along the Zeppelinstr. and Falkenseer Chaussee.

At the junction of both streets four eye-catching towers form the very centre of this interesting architecture. Till today these varied houses look really strikingly modern although almost one hundred years old.

 

THE GREENS OF HANNAH HÖCH

The annual Day of Open Monuments offered the unique opportunity to visit the house and rural premises of Hannah Höch (1889-1978), great artist, co-founder and also the only female promoter of Dadaism. Her former green refuge and home is located in Berlin-Heiligensee, a more village-like district in the North of the German capital. Here she worked and lived from 1939 till her decease in 1978.

Hannah Höch’s house and garden (street-view)

Hannah Höch, Mechanical Garden, 1920

In 1918 she proclaimed the photo montage as a new form of artistic expression and thus wrote art history. The gift of observing was essential for her in order to discover new pictures in existing ones. With the help of scissors and glue Hannah Höch strove for such new creations, which according to her own estimation were achieved when the alienation of found illustrations was so fundamental that one could no longer recognize where the pictures originally came from.

Hannah Höch working in her garden, late 1960s

Nature and landscape played a special role in the ouevre of Hannah Höch through her entire life. She liked to show the numerous facets of nature far from a naive idyll by using also combative and humorous angle of views, sometimes full of dark melancholy.

Hannah Höch, Bouquet, 1929

” A great deal of strength gave me my strong touch with nature. In the wild whirl (in which) our life took place in this time, I always had this one thing at hand.”  

 (Hannah Höch in a letter to Kurt Heinz Matthies, 1943)

Back yard of Hannah Höch’s home

Every day she spent many hours in her garden, raising flowers, vegetables and fruits. So the garden was also important for her surviving because she never got rich with her varied art. Not all of her works are known till today because they are spread somewhere while she was also forced sometimes to pay the butcher or things like that with small artworks and creations. 

Hannah Höch, Tempest, 1935

During the Third Reich she was defamed by the Nazis as a Culture-Bolshevist and was no longer allowed to work and exhibit. In the autumn of 1939 she bought a former flight attendant’s house in Berlin-Heiligensee far away from the busy city centre. The house offered an ideal hideout for the artist, and in this pastoral environment Höch could feel safe from spying and denunciation, because none of her neighbours suspected anything of her Dada past.

Hannah Höch, Der Unzufriedel, 1945

Due to this seclusion of her new domicile she succeeded in rescuing her own works as well as the objects of her artist friends which were declared by the Nazis as the leading representatives of socalled degenerate art. However, the decision to stay in Nazi-Germany resulted in a real difficult economical situation. To make a living  she had to sell flowers and fruits from her nice garden which she arranged after WW II to a thriving total work of art.

Hannah Höch, Garden, 1948

 

ARTBASE FESTIVAL 2019 – MURALS IN RURAL RUINS

Artbase is a festival of urban art moving in a vivid kaleidoscope between painting and party on deserted grounds. The first issue took place in 2011 at the former pulmonary hospital Grabowsee. During the last weekend of August 2019 it was realized again in the former and now abandoned lunatic asylum Domjüch close to Neustrelitz (80 kms north of Berlin). Nearly 150 international urban artists transformed these ruins into a wild, romantic and very alive place.

 

A smooth wind blows through the long abandoned houses‘ empty corridors, while a warm and friendly summer sun gleams through the ailing cracks. Inside the ruins, a conglomeration of fading colors and amazing street art works decorate the walls.

A place where nature has slowly recaptured the old walls. Deserted, long hallways, abandoned rooms with only faint memories.

 

But suddenly a soft hissing of a spray can sounds. Someone presses a button. Suddenly sounds are coming through the empty rooms. Loud voices echo through the old walls and the place awakens.

After WW II the buildings were used for military purposes by the Soviet Red Army which left the site in 1993, the start of a long and deep slumber which was interrupted abruptly now by all kinds of colors, visions and phantastic dreams painted on the crumbling walls of this remote place.

And last but not least on the premises you will find also the namegiver of the site, a beautiful forest lake called Domjüchsee.

Jo’s Monday walk : Alvor & the Estuary

 

NOTHING AT/AND ALL

The biggest enemy of patience is called nowadays action bias, meaning the craving for doing something always at any time. Why not just start doing nothing or even feel the nothing?

And in this mysterious mood everything comes to the vain blow, because the plastic world staged the cosmic blackout. But to untangle the world of the Maya can only succeed in pure nothingness, an unstructured space without end or still beginning – and yet no space.

Here the words simply fail and hence everything starts all of a sudden nowhere again. According to the unwritten riddles of cosmogony, the jump to the true non-place now succeeds.

ALLIANCE FOR MASTER BRUIN

A common Russian joke told to guests from other countries is that they can meet in Russia bears as well in big towns but with a balalaika around the shoulder and a bottle of vodka in the paw.

All is just fine for my teddy deep in the forest

This human perspective of the bear and nature has in fact nothing to do with the real bear who likes for instance to snack honey or all kinds of berries. In any case the bear still acts all around us as a virulent archetype in our today’s life and language, so in Germany – when telling a complete false story – this is described by the idiomatic phrase  “jemandem einen Bären aufbinden” meaning literally to fix a bear on somebody’s back.

‘Meister Petz und Reineke Fuchs’, 1752, by Allart van Everdingen
(Illustration in Johann Christoph Gottscheds’  animal epos ‘Reineke der Fuchs’)

During the Bronze Age people in Europe adored the bear for his power and strength, but besides believed in him also as a great healer because it was said that during the time of the annual winter dormancy the bears would simply disappear to the other unseen world of myths, spirits, gods and dreams. However, the common picture of the bear is a bit ambivalent because he was also regarded as a threat for farmed animals although being in reality a vegetarian most of the year. In the last 200 years the common view on the bear has changed a lot, because he hence became an important player in fables and epic works where he would represent either just a clumsy fellow or also quite often the real personalization of a friendly, good-natured, naive companion.

19th century illustration by Gustave Doré

In Northern America the tale of “The woman who married a bear” is widely well known and most probably existing in multiple versions with the diverse tribes and first nations. And in this context and culture bears are more treated like brothers and sisters shared in a common nature. In order to preserve this old but jeopardized relationship they have found GOAL, the tribal coalition to protect the grizzly and their ancestors’ legacy. GOAL is representing 39 tribal nations in total, and you will find more detailed information under the following link:

http://www.goaltribal.org/