Thursday, January 28, 2010

more photos aus vernissage

snow, films, and chocolate

it snowed again today (and yesterday) and today the snow came down like rain. i would most closely compare it to hail, but it was not hail. the peices were soft and snowy, but dense and bouncy. and almost looked like giant fat snowflakes. they still had their points and bounced off of bodies like hail. i didnt know berlin weather was so exotic.

Kathryn arrived today, and she took me to a new area that I hadn´t been before. I could live here for 2 years, and I think new visitors would still be able to take me to new places. She came with her friend Kari, who she knows from the Paris program. We went to Fassbinder und Rausch Chocolatier, another place I hadn´t been, and they had a chocolate Brandenburg Tor, among other large sculptures made aus chocolate. There was a case full of tiny Trüffelen, which were so cute fun to look at! I tried a wasabe and ginger truffle. It was good.

So after the chocolate, we went to the Hamburger Bahnhof, the contemporary art museum of Berlin (free on thursdays). I went to find out about another residency in Mitte the other day and learned of a film night that they were having tonight. Keep in mind, this is a tiny, 3 year-old, non-profit gallery in the north. I told Kathryn and Kari about this and invited them to go. As it turns out, a friend of Kathryn´s who works for a gallery in New York had coincidently invited Kathryn to watch one of the very films that was in the screening a short while ago, so she was familiar with it and had heard of the screening. Also, a friend of Kari´s had told her about the screening because a friend of the friend´s was organizing the night. So needless to say, we went, and it was a nice collection of films from all types of artists. The theme was "FLOAT," a concept that the artist and organizer, Caitlin Berrigan, was also working with. The films were for the most part beautiful, and they made me want to make a film. Many of the films had natural bodies of water playing a large role. The films also brought to my attention that professional looking films take a whole staff of people to make.

I just sneezed in this internet cafe, and a guy said, "gesundheit." I said, "danke."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

rubik´s cube party

1. go to the thrift store and buy lots of different brightly colored clothing
2. put it all on
3. go to the party
4. trade articles of clothing with people until you are wearing all one color
5. now you are free to leave the party

Friday, January 22, 2010

ice skating

so they dont really shovel anywhere here, and the show piles up. as i said when i got here, it was sandy, dirty snow. a few day ago it got warm- maybe up to 38 *F, and some of started to melt. now its about 10 below= 12 *F and the sidewalks are covered in about 2 inches (5 cm) of bumpy ice. everyone is ice skating.

i went to a gym yesterday to see if i could take some yoga classes. i had to climb 10 flights of stairs before i could even get to the desk. i guess they´re weeding out early.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I only drink coffee in Paris

and now Berlin. Jillian and her mom left this morning, and I arrived at Dorothee's flat in Prenzlauerberg shortly after. the timing really worked out well since she was leaving the same day that I would need a new residence. For Jill's last day in the city, although it was Sunday, we had a full day. We found a brunch restaurant in Prenzlberg in an area that is apparently known for all day brunch! and near the Mauer Park flea market. I found beautifully crafted earrings there from Lisbon. since it was snowing and the middle of winter, I was surprised and impressed to see as many people as I did there. flea martkets seem to be so much part of the culture here, i guess Berlin wouldnt be the same without them.

When I met Dorothee at her flat this morning, we had a cup of coffee together and a tiny glass of orange juice. she showed me around the utilities and kitchen and told me "act like you do in your own home." There are many art works decorating the walls of past artists that have stayed there. Like a collection or record. Dorothee has a 36 yr old daughter who is also an artist.

Since it is Monday again, I will have to put off my galerie visits until tomorrow. I added some pictures of the installation and some details.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


the opening was a success. somehow the time between the last day of installation and the minute you enter into the opening really transforms the space. the people, the fancy outfits, the questions, the wine- they make the space bright. many people asked me if i changed the lighting in the space, or painted the walls, or changed the space in some other way, but i think having installation in a space that has only been lined with paintings is able to transform the space. there were few people that i didn't know at the opening, and its always nice to have the opportunity to meet new ones! I saw some people that i hadn't seen since the summer, including a resident artist who I just met briefly in July. Jillian and I met some friends at Madam Claude's afterwards, a French bar in Kreuzberg. Everything is upside-down there. literally.

Im pretty sure that im officially not fluent in any language anymore, as I have been bombarded with way too many at once. the other night at a Tapas restaurant, we struggled communicating in German and English until we realized that the servers all spoke Spanish. French also made an appearance and we finally had a quadlingual conversation.

Jillian and I finally made it to the Turkish baths today. We found it yesterday by asking bathhouse? and then badhaus? at Hamam, the bathhouse, there is a Finnish dry heat sauna, a hamam which is a tile room where you can pour cold or hot water on yourself, and an exit to sit in the snow if you wish. there were many more rooms that i didnt get to. you could stay there all day. we also finally got crepes today, which I had been craving.

I got to the gallery a few minutes late today, and I heard that woman was here and avidly wanted to see the show. I was told she would return at 4:00. She did, bearing 2 small tulip plants, "for a tiny glimpse of spring". she said she found the card for the show in Sibel cafe on Karl-Marx Allee, where Jillian's mom had coincidently left some cards. she was enamored by the card and decided that she must see the show. luckily she was driven enough to come back at 4, and shared with me her thoughts about the show. she spoke English well, but there was some frustration that made me wish I spoke German. she lives in Cologne most of the year and has an apartment in Prenzlauerberg for vacation, that she lends to artists staying in Berlin, and she has invited me to stay there while she is gone. she will send me a book about Herta Miller, and she would like to talk to me about buying a work. she also explained to me the Wortbruch (broken word) has the same meaning in German as the english phrase, "to brake your word." A different spin on the theme of this work.

Tonight we will meet my cousin Julia for a drink at a pay-what-you-wish Weinerei. This concept i don't think would work in any other city. Tomorrow is market day, so we will see which vendors brave the snow with their carts. Pictures to come soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vernissage tomorrow!

The show is ready (vernissage: Freitag, 15, Januar 19 uhr). I just have some sweeping and photographs to do. All of the gallery walls, and all of the flat walls in this city for that matter, are covered in pretty strange, ugly wallpaper. At first glance it has a texture similar to stucco. When you take a closer look you realize that it is just textured paper. I inquired about this and found out that the paper actually has wood chips in between the layers to give it the texture. It is so weird! and so widely used! So after getting as much information as i could about what was behind this wall (and talking about materials with a non-native speaker can be tough), I took the risk of tearing it down. I started just ripping it off the wall, and incidentally ripped a horizontal bulbous form across the wall. My intention was taking it all off the wall, and getting a solution to remove the more adhered parts. I found that the piece that I ripped off, being totally horizontal with some peaks and valleys reminded me of an abstracted line of text. Some people said it looked like an EKG graph. I was a little hesitant to leave it since it is a totally new way of working for me, but why else did I come here if i wasn't going to do anything new?

The bricks never made it into the wall. I decided that building the wall would be kitschy and excessive, so now they are lying on the floor in 22 straight lines. To make the straight lines, I knew that I needed some string. I looked in the closet and found one spool labeled "brick layer's chord." I thought it all too appropriate. I also have some strip installations here, which I also simplified from previous installations.

I have had plenty of time also, to be experiencing Berlin in the snow. The snow, as i mentioned, is like walking through sand all over, so I am getting my exercise! We went to a dance performance last night where one man performed for a whole hour. it was impressive, but some of the parts were hard to interpret. He also sang a part of a song that I was sure a huge hit in america, but no one I was with (americans) had heard of it. Then we had a delicious dinner at Antonio's apartment. Endive appetizer with brie, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic with honey. The endive was a little boat allowing the whole thing to be finger food! Then we had Antonio's famous pasta (on Brazilian time, which apparently means eating pretty late). Tomorrow I think we will go to the turkish baths in Kreuzberg, and then the opening!

I hear some bird chirping outside. maybe spring is coming.

Monday, January 11, 2010


It´s Berlin in January, and its snowing. Apparently it has snowed for the past few days and its all still on the ground. Its a funny powdery snow that does not really melt, just turns brown. And they do not really plaw here. I have already explained what a plow was to a few people in the context of asking if it happens. I went to the gallery to map out some installation stuff and met with the director last night. I went to have dinner with Bernd and his wife, Anje. They have a 1.5 yr old who is very enerjetic! We had a meal that they called "pretty usual," and it was "goulash." This word refers to the meat which tasted like stew meat, and after some more questioning, they explained that it originated in Hungary. After that, I hoped that my Brayilian friend Antonio was at home so that he would answer the door. I realized that I hadn´t been in touch with him recently, and that he may not remember that I was coming. Life without cell phones! Luckily his roommates were there, because he was not, and I had a nice evening with his boyfriend, Rod. We got pizza.

Today I had trouble waking up, but I made it out of bed and Antonio and I had a chance to catch up over a pair of soft- boiled eggs (something that I was recently acquainted with and turned on to the day before when one of the residents made me one, saying "I´m a 4 minute egg girl." Also, coincidently, all of the residents this month are english speakers, but only one from the states. The other points of origin include South Africa, Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland.)
So I mostly spent today doing errands- actually just getting a cell phone. I also met up with Jillian and her mom who are staying the week. Our meeting plan sans cell phones worked out quite well.

Tonight was the first night I had to spend some time in the gallery, and some of my plans are changing drastically. I am surprised and glad! I guess that´s what happens when you work in a new place. I will add pictures tomorrow. I am still awaiting 3 boxes that I mailed here for the show. One of them I must pick up at customs tomorrow. Wish me luck. Tschuss!