Traurig, aber wahr …

I do live in this city for, wait … winter semester 82/83 now its summer semester 13 – must be thirty years now. I am generally not bad in finding my way, especially when I am in familiar surroundings I am tempted to call “home” like this conglomerate here. And it’s nothing but a smallish city based on a medieval-early modern nucleus.

For the first time in years our Professor sent a mail and invited the usual suspects to come to a museum. We were meeting for some years in a pizzeria near the university library (yes, the master likes Italian food), a Kränzchen  (Ger.) as it was called in the 19th century; if you do not like these informal groups you can call it a Seilschaft (Ger.) – but this would not describe it properly, because we never bargained or chaffered (schachern) with jobs or projects; of course we gossiped and still do; the members of the “group” changed a bit over the years, but in the end its the former head of our institute and people who studied there “at his feet”. This time our colleague Betty K. gave a special tour for us through the exhibition she curated about art produced through the national socialist time that is found today in the public collection here. Please note that it is not “national socialist art” – it’s not that simple.
She did a very good job, showing differences, relations and all. Some years ago I read her dissertation about the local art scene in the twenties and thirties and found it very informative – she IS a very good researcher – and has the guts to stand such a thing like this exhibition – and everything that comes with it – through: And she does! So of course I would have liked to meet the group afterwards in a trattoria or something for some additional chatter over a glass of wine.
I had not visited the museum for years and took the chance to look around through the other rooms after the end of our tour. I found interesting new objects they have acquired, especially some photographs by a man called SCHWAB – he did realise the photographs I always wanted to see being realised! I have to do some research on him, all I could find from the explanations and what the desk lady could tell me is that they bought some of his works, that he’s dead now, and seemingly lived in the Arnstein area (Ger., Eng.). They actually show only six of his pictures but I was struck: Silver gelatine, monochrome, the most delicate work with light; no people, just places/situations; very old-fashioned in the sense of alt-meisterlich, good old hand work – darkroom mastership; no publication available, no major exhibition. I returned to this wall four or five times and stared into these pictures and they suck me in. If one looks at them with a fast glance, one will probably say “bah, boring dots”; they need some time and reward rich.
SO when I went out of the house I was already late and remembered only vaguely the directions (die Straße runter, links, 20 Meter – bis gleich!). I went down the road (one of the ugly main outward roads), into the old area of the town, went to the left (into the Pleich (Ger.), number 04) and searched for the “Lugano”. I found nothing. After another half hour it was clear that I would not find them, I cursed and decided to go home.
For the next meeting I need a map, Kompaß und Marschrichtungszahl (Ger.).

Or someone take me by the hand and lead old Mago to the pub, GOd how I hate to embarrass meself!

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14 thoughts on “Traurig, aber wahr …

  1. His name was Valentin Schwab, born in the late 1940s, died ca. 65 years later – that is all I know now. A person called Beate Reese has written about him, there must have been an exhibition in 1999.

  2. See here … Marlene Lauter the editor is the head of the Kulturspeicher, I do not know who Mrs. Reese is. It is seemingly the only exhibition SCHWAB participated. I have not searched for pictures yet.

  3. The google image search brought only one – here – it says that they bought 35 photographies from the work “LAND (done since 1974)” in the year 2009. But this one is not as striking as the six on the wall – and one must stand before them to see what it is all about, this thumbnail gives no impression of the richness and depth of the actual pics.

  4. It started years ago as a colloquium where everyone talked about the ongoing projects like dissertations and such. Only Mrs. Gold and me are the ones who never finished the job – but Mrs Gold is on her way (I read some chapters of her work only months ago for correcting and if I win the lottery I will print her book with some high quality Tafeln!).
    Then the big B. retired from the chair and we all hang around and had a jour fixe every semester in saied pizzeria. And people told about their works in museums and such, we made some excursions etcetc. Then there was kind a break because the big B. became a bit hyperactive in the nineties (not his nineties, he’s in his eighties now), later a bit ill, things happened and so on. We always kept contact, and now things are a lot easier, and I guess we’ll simply start again with a kind of regular meeting. Another thing is that the situation at the university cleared in a way, maybe we’ll be able to use rooms there again. Hm .. yes, there’ll be a new head sometime in autumn or so.
    We simply love him I guess. As I can say, all I learend (after the basicall things, maybe the orientation – yes the Kompaß!) I learned from this man. But do not get me wrong – it’s not Heldenverehrung, we critizise our master as well as he critizises us (kritisieren) … It is a good forum to stay informed after all, with gossip, real important things, and wine.

  5. I like it too! I have taken similar pictures of old barns and houses in Washington state. My friends and I used to explore abandoned buildings for fun. At a house not far from a mental hospital and a correctional facility we found a room on the second floor where someone had been living. They had pinned dead, burnt birds to a wall. We make a hasty retreat afraid that they might return and find us there.

    When I was a student and employee at the UW I would go to the Henry Art gallery almost daily for the café and to stare at a picture on permanent display. It was of a small cottage alongside a river in muted tones of gray and green. I envision that picture as my “happy place” when the soul needs to escape. It is similar to what you might see in a Thomas Kinkaid picture, but older and more somber.

  6. Some pictures have the ability to “swallow” one up … I sometimes like to get lost there Melanie.

    Home Sweet Home, MsScarlet!

    (s-z) it is – the printers and early typographs simply reproduced the writing, where an “sz” was common. I do not think that it is used in another typograhic system, MJ. The last “Rechtschreibreform” killed a lot of the “ß” and replaced them with “ss”, like in ” …, daß” that is now “…, dass”. In my personal writing I often use the “ß” and find meself also using the “h” that was skipped already in the 19th century: “Landwirth”, “Werth” and such – but this may be temporarily, because I wrote so many titles from the nineteenth century lately. I think the great Ian Tschichold used it or paied some attention to it; he made a small book about the “&” too – I may be wrong …

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