Wednesday, June 6, 2012

NYAA Leipzig International Artist Residency (LIA) 2012

Week 1: Willkommen in Berlin

Our Lufthansa airbus (2 store mega-airplane) to Frankfurt-Berlin. 
Above: Brian Dang, Robert Fundis, Elizabeth Glaessner, Noelle Timmons
Technically we didn't get to sit with each other since our assigned seats were in different rows but thought this would make a great family picture. 

Berlin from above. 
Photo by Robert Fundis

Funny story we got to Berlin at 5:30 am and our transfer connecting flight to Berlin leaves at 6:30. We almost miss our flight because we didn't realize how big Frankfurt Airport is from our arrival gate to the other gate. As well we had to go through German International Customs and security checkpoint again which by the time we got there they were preparing to close the gate but luckily we were able to board.


Anna-Louise Rolland with her baby Camille at Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch. 
Photo by Noelle Timmons

Anna was so wonderful to drive us from Berlin where she lived to Leipzig to drop off our belongings before the grand opening of Neo Rauch's foundation in a small town of Ascherslet (where he was born and raised) for the permanent collection where his graphic artworks will be store. 

While at the Spinnerei look what we found.  Picture of last year NYAA LIA residents (Alex Barton, Nick Holiber, Holly Sailor, Aleah Chapin). Apparently they keep scrapbook pictures of every residents that stayed at LIA. 

On the road to the Neo Rauch's event we saw tons of these wind turbines. 
Apparently there are more than 21,607 wind turbines in Germany ever since Germany decide to be an eco-friendly country decommissioned 17 of its nuclear power plants and wanting to use more renewable energy. The US can learn a thing or two about renewable energy from Germany. 

Grafikstitung Neo Rauch.
Photo by Robert Fundis

We had just arrived and immediately we were on what suppose to be 1-hour trip from Leipzig to 
Ashcherlet. Its my first time in Germany and I had hard that people travel to German just to drive super-fast on the highway. I learn quickly that driving 120 km/75mph or faster is the norm. We arrived and apparently everyone imaginable in Germany art world was there. Anna was pointing left and right art dealers, art collectors, gallery directors all of which I had forgotten their names. We were star struck to be shaking hands and eating side-by-side at the the after party with Neo Rauch himself. (Apparently Neo Rauch's personal studio is just the floor above our studio at the Spinnerei)

Yum Noelle having her first bookswurst (German boiled pork sausage) at the outdoor vendor of Grafikstitung Neo Rauch. 

 700 years old renovated building was the after party place of Neo Rauch's opening.
Photo by Robert Fundis

The Grauer Hober was home of Neo Rauch's opening of his foundation and what a treat it was to celebrate on our first day in Germany. Food of plenty and drinks & wine at this three-store restaurant dining with a fire-pit outdoors. We were invited to this private event and even had the opinion if we wanted to sleepover at a nearby prison which they turned into a loft but declined. 

Welcome to the Spinnerei. Spinnerei which means "Spinning".
This once was the biggest cotton spinning mill in the continental Europe will be our home for the next 2-months. The place is now home to 10 galleries, exhibition spaces, artist-in-residency buildings, communal art cultural center Halle 14, art library  for many who come visit. We are staying at the Gwangju Pavilion LIA. 

It feel like home when the building halls welcome you by automatically light up when you pass by.
Photo by Noelle Timmons

Noelle and Elizabeth Studio
Photo by Elizabeth Glaessner

Robert and Brian Studio 
Above: While staying in Leipzig our main transportation will be our niffy bikes which LIA offer to give each one of us to use here.
I still can't imagine the space we were given. 13ft ceiling with two big 24ft walls with big glass windows which two of us share is a dream. If there is even a dream studio, it would look very similar to this. Imagine how much work we can produce here and the possibilities of upscaling our work. That is why I am working right now on this 138"x 63" canvas (biggest painting I had done yet). Hope I'm ready for this.

Graffiti SNOW.
This graffiti SNOW is pretty popular around Spinnerei and Leipzig if you visit here. I have to find who's the tagger responsible for these. 

Noelle and Elizabeth covering up a graffiti BABIE. 

Flughafen Leipzig-Halle. (Aero Park Aviation Museum)

Kaholische Pfarrel Liebfrauen a nearby landmark by the Spinnerei if I ever get lost. 
Photo by Robert Fundis

Center of Leipzig, City Festival on June 2nd.
Photo by Robert Fundis

Garden by the Spinnerei where cotton mill workers used to grow their foods. 
Now locals use it as gardens.

LIA family potluck dinner. (Not only are they talented artist but they can cook too!)
Above: On the left- Sarina Scheidegger, Noelle Timmons
On the far right:Brooke Tomiello
NYAA residents are not the only one staying at LIA. Other international artists are staying at LIA which we have the privilege of befriending. 

Sarina is from Switzerland and her practice is mostly performance art. She been here so far 2 months and will stay another month with us in June.

Brooke unfortunately left today but we will be seeing her soon in Brooklyn. She practice mostly performance art and studied her undergraduate at School of Visual Art in New York. 

Marin de Jong not in the picture but another artist who will be staying with us in June is from Holland and his primarily practice is painting in egg tempera. 

Kanal River in Leipzig, Germany. 
Here what I learn about Leipzig so far. Leipzig was once an industrial city home of textile factories like Spinnerei but after World War II Leipzig became a ghost town with not much employment. Leipzig now though is one of the two largest cities in the state of Saxony, Germany. Although there's not much businesses still it is recuperating with artist that want to come and making it their home. It rival Berlin for Germany art and cultural scene with big names  such as Neo Rauch, Jim Whiting, Aris Kalaizis, Matthias Weischer and artists from  New Leipzig School. Since Leipzig is less populated than Berlin more artist prefer living here because of the cheap rent and artists can get free housing if they have a social art project proposed. 

Kanal Cafe.
In the forest by the Kanal River by the Spinnerei. 

Guten Appetit. 
At the Kanal Cafe I had my tastebuds try an Easter German favorite soup: Solyanka (orginally a Russian/Ukrainian dish made with pork, cabbage, tomatoes, parsley and cream.

128 years old cotton. What I learn about the history of the Spinnerei.
Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei  10 acre site in 1884 was once the largest cotton mill company on the continent with housing over 240,000 spindles. This place once employed thousands of women which helped produced sewing thread at the three Spinnerei. It was its own city within Leipzig with housing for their workers, training school, gardens for worker food, fire brigade, powerhouse,  doctors, etc. In 1993  when the company production came to an end a Western German buyer by Regina Lenk purchased the site. The owner allowed empty rooms to be used for alternative projects-architecture firms and few artists to give workshops. After Regina Lenk closed three owners Florian Busse (Heintz & Co.), Tillmann Sauer and Gertaim Schultz bought the place seeing the potential the space had for "tentants". The artist Jim Whiting in 2002 brought his project "Bimbotown" a robotic art environment to the Spinnerei. Soon a not-for-profit contemporary art center took over Hall 14, the largest of the Spinnerei buildings.  Artist-run galleries followed for this artist colony  with Dogenhaus, ASPN, Galerie Kleindienst and maerzgalerie. On May 1st, 2005 galleries opened their new space for the first time. Followed by international galleries once the Spinnerei gain reputation Brooklyn's Pierogi gallery and London's Fred gallery. Welcome to the Spinnerei.

Hal Le 14
Above:  Far left- Kristina Semenova, Robert Fundis, Elizabeth Glaessner, Noelle Timmons

 Thanks to Anna's wonderful LIA assistant Kristina, she's so wonderful in giving us a tour of the Spinnerei today and other helpful things such as organizing LIA events and helping us fix our bikes.

Hal Le 14 is a public space where you can find a public art library, art events partnered by Columbus Art Foundation and Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. Also I discovered that former NYAA alumni Candace A. Goodrich is housing an art project at Hal Le 14 called One-sided Story as the director there from May 2012-April 2013 (she also was an artist-in-residence at the Pilotenkueche in Leipzig, Germany). 

Art installation at the Hal Le 14.

What to look forward to...

  • A new artist staying with us in July from Belgium by the name of Samuel (another fellow painter).
  • Jon Beer NYAA alumni 2012 will be staying at Spinnerei with another residency. 
  • Neo Rauch is expected near the end of June to do a mid-critique with the LIA residents (unless his schedule changes). 
  • Art fair June 14th Museums to see in Basel: Schaulager, Tinguly Musuem, Kunst Museum, Foundation Beverie

LIA is not the only international artist residency here at the Spinnerei. Look forward to tomorrow we will be attending a barbacue (if it doesn't rain) with all the other international residencies for lunch. 

Look out for more blogs about my trip here in Leipzig, Germany and Europe....

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