The quiet, rare joy of enjoying the work of an artist previously not known.
Hans Robert Pippal
In a medium that’s my particular favourite and quite uncommon.
To top it further was the subject depicted.
Streets of Vienna from the late 20th century. Vital and vibrant.
There is a special fragile quality of paintings from the 1970s , 80s and 90s.
Artists were facing a challenge from photography like never before. Painting had not found its new space that it has today in the 2010s.
As art became more abstract and non-representative, paintings like these, masterly in their confidence and skill, depicting reality as it was, yet more than just a capture of the scene, were rare. A treasure for the viewer today.
When I feel homesick, I go through my photographs from India and most times it’s the simple spontaneous shots that evoke the greatest emotion. Like this family waiting to cross the road when my car came to a stop at a crossing.
Yes beauty is in the perfectly composed, dramatically lit shot of the perfect Taj Mahal. Yet these shots, often off in composition and exposure are so much more powerful in their ability to strike a cord. The changing expressions creating bonds reaching across time, space… lives.
Mountains, mornings and winters seem to be made for each other. Specially after fresh snowfall. The Gerlitzen Alpe is a popular skiing destination and a photographers joy.
We went a little crazy.
Out with our cameras at all hours of the day and night. Including 4 and 6 am when the sky was clear and the stars performed their nightly drama. The fact that the wind howled and the air was cold enough to be felt through several layers, seemed somehow not to matter. (ok seems I did grumble a bit as my long-suffering husband informs me. I naturally don’t remember such things 😀 )
Then morning came bringing with it a rosy sunrise.
The full collection of photographs can be seen on my website
It seems to be an endless wait for snow in our part of Austria this year. Around me are dry mountains, their trees still holding on to their last brown leaves. Much treasured are small areas around water where there is some frost and ice. A little of winter magic before Spring returns.
At Bärenschützklamm, a happy waterfall, ice dusts the moss-covered rocks. Some icicles reach down. Not yet strong enough to touch the ground.
Some months ago, the forest was full of colour. Singing its Autumnal song. Now that song is ended. The winter one not yet started.
Earlier this year museum visiting the acclaimed Museum Insel in Berlin, I ducked in at the Alte Nationalgalerie. To browse at leisure through it’s rich collection of Romantic and Impressionist paintings and sculptures.
In the entrance hall, “STOP!!”, commanded a staff member. “All coats MUST be deposited at the cloakroom.”
This essential cloakroom turned out to be a little hole in a wall tucked into one side of the lobby. It’s entrance like the narrow one-man-only corridors in medieval forts. A hassled lady stood behind the desk while groups of excited schoolkids meleed around for their coats and bags.
Feeling from this moment on that this was not the right place to soak in art, I ventured in further nevertheless.
Inside the museum continued in a similar vein. Poorly planned, badly lit, over heated and rudely staffed. Its Constables and unparalleled collections of German Impressionist painters made it a treasure trove, yet barely half an hour later, I was standing outside.
History and art had lost to the quality of the experience.
Part of me thinking it might just be pleasanter to find a nice Coffee Shop, I walked over next to the Neues Museum. The Neues Museum is located on the same plaza. Standing physically at 90 degrees to the Alte Nationalgalerie. As an experience it proved to be a full 180 degrees different.
“Hallo!” smiled the man at the entrance as he let me into the large foyer.
There I was free to meander and explore.
I joined a stream of happy visitors, engrossed in the Art. Surrounded by priceless statues and objects from ancient Egypt, some of the earliest human creations. Including the exquisite statue of Nefertiti. In terms of importance in art, just this one statue could have perhaps competed with a whole floor of art in the previous Museum.
A couple of hours later, mentally saturated, I still didn’t want to leave. And next time in Berlin I’ll be back there.
So what makes a museum?
Is it the quality of its collections or the quality of the experience?
What is the purpose of a museum?
Is it only to collect and save or is it also to interest and involve?
Does art stored in vaults serve a purpose or is art valuable only when it is viewed, interacted with? When it is loved and appreciated.