Thursday morning and heavy snow for a studio visit to Marion Kahnemann http://mkahnemann.de an interesting artist who has done much on the subject of commemoration in Dresden. In particular I like her transparent park benches with words inscribed which have been situated in public places where Jews were not allowed.
Friday the first complete prints off the press, a slightly nerve racking moment. but Torsten remains calm and precise throughout and we work all day. In the evening I walk down river and across the bridge to the Semper Opera to see the Marriage of Figaro. The audience is very elegant, lots of evening dress and bow ties, despite having put on a skirt I feel somewhat under-dressed! A modern dress performance, largely played for laughs, the women better than the men, I am too tired to fully enjoy it and dive out quickly before the endless clapping they do here and into a taxi and home.
Saturday, beautiful weather clear and crisp and I explore the Neustadt Gallery scene. The part of town near my apartment has a number of galleries dealing in 20th century German art and I spend a wonderful couple of hours browsing. The weekly farmers market, a chance to avoid the uninspiring supermarkets, consists of three sad looking stalls; the weather has kept most stall holders and buyers away. I walk the entire Neustadt in organised fashion noting places to return. Later in the day I meet the very delightful Susanne Ritschel at Café Neustadt, a place for good cake, and we talk about all things Dresden. In particular the Stolpersteine-Project, which she is working on as a volunteer. http://www.stolpersteine.com/EN/home.html is an amazing project and we start talking about whether it may be possible to have such a ‘stumbling block’ for that is what it means, as a commemoration in front of my grandparents and mother last home in Dresden.
Sunday and I am at the Kreuzkirche for the 9.30 morning service and the installation by British artist Terry Duffy of the painting ‘Victims – No Resurrection’ a 4 metres+ painting in a cross configuration suspended above the altar. Painted in the 1980’’s in the dark, angst ridden and expressive painterly tradition of that era, it stands in defiant contradiction to all the baroque loveliness that is Dresden. This service, the stern sermon and Duffy’s grim work two days before the 13th February Dresden’s ‘Diem horribilem’ reinforces the sense of tragedy that hangs palpably over this city.