Many years ago somebody told me he would depart to Stromboli on vacation. Stromboli is one of the volcanic islands belonging to the group of the Aeolian Islands in the North of Sicily.
It sounded like a dream to me. I had just watched Rossellini’s movie Stromboli, with a beautiful Ingrid Bergman, but above all the most archaic landscapes, inhabitants of the island and tuna fishers. That drastically black and white tuna fishing scene was burned into the head. The energy of the fish, the archaic and raw process of the fishing.
Many years later there was the exhibition of an artist in Cologne, Peter Gilles. Some of his very impressive works were painted on Stromboli. He painted a lot with his own blood, same here in these paintings. But it wasn’t only that. It was the combination with the archaic energy of the place that was captured in those images. Extraordinary.
Last year I finally made it there. Not Stromboli, ironically enough, which was the main goal initially. But to several other islands of the Aeolian Islands. And I found one very very special island: Alicudi. The smallest and most rural of them all, not a single street except one right in the village. Other than that: Little stonepaths up the hill, where pedestrians and donkeys can get up.
Here the fleeting watercolors of the exhibition were painted. In these watercolors is little to be seen, I admit. Very little. And they are repetitive. Very repetitive! But that “little” was everything to me. And the repetition is more of an obsession with the place, with “the little”. The little that is everything.
Henry Moore and other guests at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark.
One of the most famous German paintings is Caspar David Friedrich’s “Monk by the Sea”, painted 1808-10. Here opposed to a modern day Sri Lankan Monk by the Sea, making a call on his handy.
On the island of Lipari (in the South of Italy) I visited the cloisters of the Cathedral. Looking at the amazing Norman columns I felt reminded of a more recent artist.
Column Capital from the Norman Period
Keith Haring, Subway Drawing, 1982, picture not taken by me.
Accompanying a school-class on their trip to Greece.
Painting an old Finnish tree five times – and the result.
Look at these guys. I really appreciate them.
One of my favorite ways to start a new piece is to “find”: To find an object with a history or a form that I want to integrate or to transform into something new. Especially the aspect of time and history, the aura, depth and dimension of it, the “connectedness” of everything is very important to me. To recycle. Because it should all be a big cycle. But also the form might talk, might tell a whole story, might be perfect! Last but not least: To find is also a way to avoid the moment of the “empty page”. There is something to start from.
A couple of years ago, on a New Year’s Eve, I visited the Danish island of Møn. It is a “sister” island of the German island of Rügen: The Baltic Sea separates them but they have the same geological origin and beautiful white cliffs. On a good day you can see the other island across the sea. Both islands are some of the most beautiful places I know on earth, I dare say.
Walking along the beach on Møn you find these special stones that have very interesting forms, often resembling little amorphous figures, think of the artist Henry Moore’s sculptures. The color and parts of the form remind me of flintstones. But are they? I don’t know. Anyway, these small sculptures are enclosed in the wall of the cliff, so they are NOT part of the overall-material of the cliff: When the cliff crumbles down, slowly but surely, you can see them stick out of the wall and finally they are “set free” and fall out of the steep cliff. A geologist told me that to this day it is not absolutely clear, how the chemical/physical building process of the stones exactly looks like, how their material sets itself apart from the cliff.
Too beautiful, these stones. Too difficult to decide which one to take and which one to leave behind!
But I will be back and get the rest, one day. Nature is a miracle.
The island. No filters used!
Collecting as much as I can carry.
Playing around with the stones: Voluptuous woman and her avantgarde dog. For example.
“The lightness of being”. Set together from a box for cutlery, a little image made in Lisbon and a stone and piece of wood from the Danish Island.
“Leichtes Gepäck” (Light luggage).