Reliving Childhood Memories Through Abstract Works of Art
Last time we talked I let my thoughts wander off the beaten path while looking at artworks in a group show… well, today won’t be much different. But I’ll stay way, way closer to the road of looking at – and talking about – art. Promised!
Remember the Good Times
But before we get started and jump right into all the precious art a little tête-à-tête between you and an earlier post of mine is in demand. Remember that time when you read about me telling you that experiencing an exhibition to the fullest is not only about the artworks themselves being amazing but also the arrangement (aka curation) of those being intriguing? Yes? Great! No? Please follow this link!
Well, now that we are all on the same page (yes, right, of course you can still disagree with my view on curation) here’s another exhibition to take in when thinking curation done & gone right.
Like Home (Extended) by loop – raum für aktuelle kunst (Berlin)
2018. A typical Berlin “Altbau” apartment building, one that has escaped decades of renovation – at least so far. Now, lucky curator Rüdiger Lange got his hands on said building and did what anyone in their right mind should do: set up artshows in its living quarters.
The DeLorean Is Waiting for You
2018. But instantly, like right outside the building, definitely upon entering its premises I feel like joining Marty McFly on a trip back in time. A time when I was a kid, a teenager at most. But it’s not just the walls that speak in sentimental tones to me but the interior does so well as well. 2018. 1988. And my eyes are drawn to a square seducing me with RGB patterns that let you once dream of what you will be and make you now reflect on what you’ve actually become (1). Are you strong, are you fragile? Sometimes it’s hard to tell especially when you have become so good at disguising your true identity. What once came across as welcoming, yes empowering, the well-dressed arm of America’s true first lady, holding up her guiding flame, has become, in this day and age, a symbol of hypocrisy whose light is not to shine but to burn your fingers (2). But do not fret, the further we all advance, the more escapism is on your way. Right here, right now, like Kaa back there, back then, my mind is played with to the fullest, casting a spell on me and you. But now, that I’ve been there and back, I advise you to not be afraid and let it happen, just like when you were a child, eager to engulf yourself in secret made-up worlds (3). You see, I had a happy childhood, one that I don’t try to run away from – neither now nor then. What you might see as trauma, a giant mobile like figure, frozen in time, taking over not just your crib but suffocating you all around until today, is in my eyes a symbol of a tree that has been resisting all of times, expanding further in the future (4). From this tree comes material that lets me turn all that I come across today into mementos of imagination, notions of uncontrolled fantasies. And if you just dare to stay with me a little longer on this journey back in time today, maybe, just maybe, you can follow all my tales a little better than you anticipated. And being here in these chambers on this day, I know I’m not the only one that uses this material in the best way possible. It’s a neverending story, one that you should not, just don’t want to escape. No matter which way you turn, which angle you choose, you will always end up seeing something new. This story isn’t finished, and will never be. It’s a game that you can play forever, with ever changing story lines (5). But what was valid then, is not what you might encounter now. The paper fortune teller has resigned their duty long ago. What was once going to define your future is now a reflection of yourself, laughing back at you with its once many chances minimized to a, oh so, sought after and predictable result. But be aware, stainless steel can cause wounds worse, than any paper cut has ever done to you (6). I admit though, a reflection laughing back at you might at least still be helpful in some way. Way better than the discussions you have with your mirror on your bathroom wall. Don’t pretend you don’t remember how that one specific story went. Or are all your childhood memories burnt out and banned? So that when you see a mirror in front of you today, it’s you just looking at you and not the narcissistic meaning all we children knew? Well, what evolves in front of me is Snow White and her storyline not my own reflection. The mirror, your mirror, the seven dwarfs and her whitewashed self. The casket, so transparent as the story of her life itself. The scepter, well, or do you just want to leave that to my female gaze? (7) And thanks to the brothers Grimm’s unasked persistence, from Snow White it’s not far to Cinderella. Oh, you see, I do remember all those stories – but not once have I said that I actually ever liked them. You’ve just encountered first written proof for this here by yourself. But this is material for another narrative or work of art of mine. But for now, let’s focus on what’s right in front of us: the veil of Cinderella’s wedding dress. Token for the almighty happily ever after of the (dreaded) fairy tale. Painfully hand cut, letting time pass swiftly till the day finally arrives when the maiden turns into the swan and is paid off for all her work not by recognition nor income but a wedding ring (8). But let’s not finish off this tour of art and my childhood memories in such a tragic and upsetting mood. I ache for far happier thoughts and associations before I leave you free to wonder and struggle on your own in this gnarly world we lead today. If it were one color that would define my childhood it would be the color blue. But were it not subjectively and not one singular tone but rather a full color scheme, then we would all be thinking neon colors of all hues. And on this magical note, i.e. the power of colors and a newly instilled power of imagination, I will send you off to brighter lands… and times (9).
5) Maria Munoz
8) Fiene Scharp
Walls That Speak and Make Abstract Art Shine
And thanks to that environment of private chambers, not walls that have never seen the private lives of their many visitors, but rooms that are full with lives themselves, rooms that make you feel at home, I could easily relate all those works on view to my own life and memories. And that’s what fascinates me so extremely – that despite this being a group show combining lots (like really a lot) of works by different artists and despite these works being abstract works, I could find my own subjective storyline and personal references in it immediately.
Your Chance Will Come
And if you’re – rightfully so – jealous of the experience I got to encounter – don’t be sad, you’re chance will come. And not too far from now that even is. loop – raum für aktuelle kunst is setting up another show opening in September. Stay tuned and go get your childhood memories and wild associations ready.
What’s up Next?
Oh, hey, we’ll be going from abstract sculptures to figurative fibers next time round.
Let’s get personal! What do you think about looking at art in someone’s home vs in a white cube exhibition space?
Don’t be shy and leave a reply!