It’s getting difficult for me to remember what I did even two days ago. Hence, this blog. One day, when I’m back from Berlin, asking myself “what the hell did I do during those three months?” I will be able to look it up on this blog. It will also help me remember some life lessons that I am drawing from my experiences here. It’s not all about the sightseeing — that is just the external stuff.
I am spending a lot of time here in an internal dialogue that is at times so loud I cannot hear much else. This is beyond good or bad, but simply as it should be. This is my time to focus on my inner journey. I am very grateful to have this opportunity. And “Ich fühle mich hier sauwohl” (I feel bloody great here), as Heinz Rühmann’s character says in the German classic movie Die Feuerzangenbowle, where he returns to high school as an adult man to make up for things he missed out on.
There are so many impressions here that I am easily able to relate to my inner life, which is very enriching. I am trying to keep a separate journal to record some of those, but this blog takes a lot of time.
On December 7, I rented a bike and cycled halfway around Berlin’s ring streets to the large Turkish market at the banks of the Maybach in Kreuzberg. I am amazed that I am still cycling in this freezing weather, it was -4˚C and the roads felt a bit frozen. All I bought at the market was half a kilo of mushrooms for 50¢ (they ended up in a casserole dish that I will be eating for dinner four days in a row).
Then I went to the Käthe Kollwitz Museum. Käthe Kollwitz is one of my favourite artists, I was inspired by her work and dedication to her political beliefs ever since I was a teenager. She knew what she needed to say and she had the talent and will to say it with her art. “Eine Gabe ist eine Aufgabe” was her motto (It works better in German, but it means: A talent is an obligation). The museum is in a beautiful old villa in Charlottenburg and had a special exhibit about the influence of the Russian October revolution on her life and work.
Right next door to the Kollwitz Museum is the Literaturhaus Berlin which is also in an old villa where as guests of a wealthy couple, artists and scientists would visit at the turn of the 19th century. Tours of this villa are held on occasion and I may sign up for one at some point.
After the Kollwitz Museum, I had a coffee and cake at Einstein Kaffee before going to an opening of a show at Galerie Taube, where one of the Urban Sketchers, Oona Leganovic, a 25-year old German woman, had a couple of her drawings included in the multi-artist show. All the work represented by Galerie Taube is highly figurative, which is not so much my thing, even though I draw and paint figuratively. But I very much like Oona’s purposely unfinished-looking watercolours, which leave something for the viewer to conplete, and I am planning to buy one of her sketches as a souvenir.
I am doing my best to express my support for these Berlin artists I am meeting by buying small works off them (this is the watercolour I will be buying from Oona), and the pieces I am buying are going to be very meaningful to me. They will remind me of this time in my life when I got to meet these artists in person and grew in understanding of their work, and of what it means to be an artist.