Academy of Fine Arts, Duesseldorf. User Guide: It’s top down.


For me, exhibitions are always something very exhausting – there is a point of saturation, where you can’t keep looking or receiving. First there is pleasure, then you look back and get the feeling of loss. A loss of something to the work you previously enjoyed. During that time you slowly fade, get drunken up.

Of course I choose this so called fate voluntarily. Maybe I converge at some vague ideas of the figure of the ‘suffering artist’: Commitment, dedication and excess, something true and beautiful within the innumerous possibilities that can be set by art or the artist.

Colorfull sculpture in the Tal R class, photo by Paula Pohle
Colorfull sculpture in the Tal R class, photo by Paula Pohle

‘Not too much, but never enough.’ [Link]
The excess can be found in the walkabout (or the Rundgang) of the Academy of Fine Arts (whether in Düsseldorf or elsewhere….). You can see tired eyes and feel the stress that made art happen in time. Hundreds of students show their works, you are surrounded by thousands of ideas: People spent thoughts and time on something, everything appears to be dense and abounding. The room is filled with people and voices. Other people’s thoughts fill up your head.
It’s therefore important to make use of the architecture : Start at the Top. Get up, like you climbed up those diving platforms when you were young: Looking straight ahead and then let yourself go. The resistance of the people taking the opposite direction creates a pleasant speed, you can float down and concentrate your energies on seeing and not touching anything. There was a colourful plastic made of glass and folded paper in the Tal R class. It was based on a cloud and space pedestal, which itself stood upon a giant round mirror. All the sculptures in the Cragg class appeared to have his handwriting and in the Anzinger class I talked to a painter about his pieces: His speech was quick and complicated and beautiful. There a words, that give you more than a whole text and achieve deeper understanding and new perspectives. There are ‘pictures, that’ll just draw you in’.

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written by Chris Erkal

author | studies German studies and comperative literature and cultural studies in Bonn

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