my most unusual and personal exhibition
In the early spring of 2012 I got the diagnosis: very agressive cancer in the lower part of my body... Estimated survival chance: hardly more than 10 %...immediate operation(s) required, and so on..
|The first big operation only hours|
away - may be, the last picture?
|3 bad years later, the sixth|
chemo is on, still some hair
After 3 severe operations (each ca. 5 hrs), numerous smaller ones and 6 very hard chemo-treatments, on thursday, february the 18th, 2016 I returned to the main hospital - not as a patient but as an artist. It was the day of the opening of my latest exhibition, which at the time being still is on show: "Voyageing to the end - and back", as it is called, will be running until the 24 th of may. Here some views of that show, which is built upon 2 different artists books, both from completely different times and situations in my life, but nevertheless in many ways related:
Above: A double side from the sketchbook I used in Kerguelen
Below: A double side from the Hospital Miracle Book
Both feature the same genuine ink paint technique and both were made in a situation of livethreatening circumstances; in the Kerguelenbook it was the extremeness of nature itself and the absolute lonelyness of that place, exposure to winds that often can reach 200 km/h, no safeguard possible as soon as you leave the area of Port au Francais, and - remember- no GPS in those days! In the Hospital Miracle Book it was the extreme nature of the illness - cancer ..
The first one is called "Voyage en Kerguelen", an artists diary from an expedition to the " Kerguelen archipelago", a french overseas resort, situated down in the subantarctique regions with very harsh weather conditions. In those days it was mostly visited by french scientists and young volunteers, who thus could avoid the military service. Twice a year the "Marion Dufresnes", a 200 m vessel, sails down there from Réunion, via Isle de Crozet, a 7 days journey through heavy seas....
The book and the paintings on silk paper, that are shown in the exhibition, were made 25 years ago, directly on location! On three different hiking tours there (each lasting 12 days) I used my very own calligraphique inktechnique, because it needs only the adding of water and thus saves weight! While on board and in the station, I painted on light japanese silkpaper...
|First impression, still on board|
|The ship: "Marion Dufresnes"|
Note: Nobody hunted this whale, I painted it, while it was chasing another, much bigger whale (together with a few other orcas)! The picture must have been done in a bit over 3 minutes!
|Huge rock at the beach|
|Sometimes you see ice even in summer|
I had already made several abstract artists books with my special technique at home - but still there´s a big difference in using it, once you´re in such an environment: You don´t have much time..
In the exhibition, the Kerguelen images are presented as 2 pairs beside the patientroom doors
In very good weather conditions we saw Mont Ross, the Pyramide Branca, and Rallier du Baty in the distance! Luxury: Just a few hours to walk down and back!
Rain in Kerguelen is an inevitable part of trekking!
We were extremely lucky,though:
During our weeks of walking, we had exceptional fair conditions: Very little rain - , no snow, just heavy winds and even sunshine for half a day! But there were a few nights, when we thought, our little shelter might get blown away - with us inside!
The coastline is spectacular..
..and extremely varied..
..but down at the beach you´ll find the true sensation: enormous monsters creeping from the sea
Early in the morning just before leaving Port au Francais, on the first manipe, I quickly fixed this morningscene on paper. It shows what this technique can create with only one fluid and water.
For most people, Kerguelen
is unheard of and unseen
To honour my departed friend I
made a German translation, too
Above the painting I made of Doigt St. Anne and the penguin colony 25 years ago
Here a photograph I found on the internet (not my copyright) of this exceptionel volcanic rockformation(134 m)
Beside the 32 original paintings on silkpaper there are 10 digital Serichroma artprints from the Kerguelenbook on show - you can hardly see any difference, but they cost less!
Why it was necessary to reproduce these books? It´s quite obvious: I didn´t want to rip the originals apart! That´s why you now can buy complete reprints of the 2 books (a total of 300 images) at the exhibition.
|The 2nd book is called "Hospital Miracle Book", made basically with the same technique, but in addition it features cut-outs from illustrated journals as well. This post shows some of those images (as digital Serichroma art prints), the way they are exhibited in the very hospital, where they´ve been made -|
which is something I never heard of before and indeed very unusual!
Most of these images were originally made on the 6. floor in the hospital " Klinikum am Steinenberg", Reutlingen, where they now are exhibited, too!
There, I had this small book (Din -A-4) with me, which I painted, drew, cut out and glued in, on almost every day, that wasn´t totally killing me.., yet,...so to speak...
|"Panzerwelt" needs no translation. It´s the 1st page of the book- and connects it with the very last page: In " Viel zu Viel" you´ll find the beetles` missing legs.|
|"Siddhartha" shows what the Hospital Miracle Book was in the first place: A therapy, a diary, that took my mind away from the hard reality around me! I made Siddhartha (a great book) as a reminder to the author´s 50-th dying day.|
As seen above, this whole project has it´s predecessors. But, I think I´ve found a rather new angle, too: Not only is the connection of inkpainting and collage hardly to be found, ever; it´s proofed to be very practical in a hospital given the poor circumstances for painting..But the idea of rather illustrating your state of mind as a cancerpatient, than just bodyconditions or the hospital you´re in, is new, too.
If you´ve read and seen all of this so far, I thank and salute you!
Still, there is one more thing left for me to say: My intentions for this project are not purely aesthetical - I also want to make a statement of encouragement to all cancer patients out there! That´s why I would like to show these images in other hospitals and explain them there personally, too! So, if you have connections or possibilities in that direction - please, contact me! And of course: send the link of this blog out to everybody that you think might like or need it!