Please click on the highlighted words for further information. I have just recently had an exhibition at the Salomon Arts Gallery in New York from November 11th to January 14th. I exhibited a series of portraits that I did in '80s New York City, a series of fairytale themed portraits of various Prague personalities and portraits of unique and innovative personalities in Berlin 2013. I also did a series of silkscreens as well. I put myself under pressure to do this work in Berlin from September 1rst to November 8th for the New York show. I did over ten thousand photographs and had to edit them, we filmed and edited 2 video portraits and then created five silkscreens. Basically a years worth of work done in two months. By the time time I got to New York we had two days to put together the show. The opening was well attended, but I was too exhausted to appreciate it as much as I would have liked to, but the important thing is that we did it. Once again proved, if you do put your mind to do something it is achievable and will either be appreciated now or later. This was done with the help and support by Gigi and Rodrigo Salomon, who has an amazing old style New York Tribeca loft style gallery, probably one of the last ones around and is on the fourth floor with long steep wooden creaky steps going all the way up. Jana Oberdoerffer produced and curated the exhbition along with her company Arttagged. This exhbition included the amazing work by Berlin artist and photographer Tina Winkhaus.
I am particularly proud of the silkscreens I made with the valuable assistance by Jonni Berlin. Four of these silkscreens were directly inspired by Berlin and one New York. I will do my best to explain them and what they mean to me. The above silkscreen is the Angel. Of course, because of Wim Wenders, people associate angels with Berlin thanks to his brilliant film "Wings of Desire". With the help of Carmen Aigner we did a special photo session at her gallery Atelier Cross Art. I love film and I wanted to use the theme of Berlin films for the first silkscreens. I had to think about what films captured Berlin best for me and I came up with two automatically. The first being "Wings of Desire" and the angel. The model used in this was Berlin photographer Holger Knote. We projected the image of the angel coming from the clouds on the nude form of Holger. From these photos, I created some transparencies and then printed them on two screens with Jonni. One screen was Holger and the background and on the second screen were the wings. We played with the colors and this is the result. I have always felt a connection between Berlin and New York so not only did I think of "Wings of Desire", but I also thought of Tony Kusner's "Angels in America", the Pulitzer Prize winning play that was on Broadway and traveled the world and then went on to be an HBO mini-series directed by Mike Nichols. Quote from Wikipedia " Set in 1985, the film revolves around six disparate New Yorkers whose lives intersect. At its core, it has the fantastical story of Prior Walter, a gay man dying of AIDS who is visited by an angel. The film explores a wide variety of themes, including Reagan era politics, the spreading AIDS epidemic, and a rapidly changing social and political climate."
This all came to mind when I was doing this and I do this in the spirit of the memories of when I lived in New York and worked side by side with incredibly talented people. I dedicate this to all those that I knew that died from the AIDS epidemic that were dear to me and to the strong survivors that have AIDS and live their lives to the fullest.
The second fim projection that we did was from the other film that captures Berlin for me. This is the 1930 film "The Blue Angel" with Marlene Dietrich and directed by Josef Von Sternberg. The theme of the film somehow captures Berlin and all of it's temptation. It is a story of the fall of a noble man, a well-respected professor, who is consumed with the desire of Lola, a cabaret singer. He is eventually destroyed by his passion for her. I was lucky to find the model Sabine Ratka for this photo session. On her left arm she has a tattoo of the Charles Bukowski quote "Find what you love and let it kill you" which captures the essence of this story and the silkscreen. Once again we used two screens. The background and professor is blue of course and Lola is the colors of fire with the professor putting his hand into the fire/Lola.
The above is one of the portrait silkscreens. This is from a photograph that I took Jean-Michel Basquiat when he was known as Samo. I first met him in New York when he was doing graffiti on a wall somewhere near Broadway and 8th Street. It was not the typical graffiti with the name tagging that was going on at that time. He was writing philosophical and political statements on the outer walls of buildings and signing it with Samo ©. He was way ahead of his time. When I first met and observed him writing, he wrote the above statement. I thought it was appropriate that I do this silkscreen and then write what he wrote in my own handwriting out of respect and in honour of the first time that I met him.
The above is the second silkscreen portrait and I wanted it to be someone from Berlin. I immediately thought of musician, music producer, DJ and Berlin mover and shaker Steve Morell. He has his production company Pale Music Int. (Click on Steve;'s name and find out more) He is one of the first people I met in Berlin and he introduced to many good people and made me feel at home. This photo was taken in the men's toilet at the infamous bar and performance space in the heart of Berlin eschschloraque. Steve and I had many good times, conversations and many funny arguments there. The words are from a music project that he has been working on.
This last silkscreen is more of a joke if anything. I was thinking of doing a silkscreen of Berlin symbols. Carmen Aigner was the Berlin project manager and we were running all over Berlin capturing various symbols in the metro, streets and so on. Finally, I thought of the Warhol silkscreens and thought of his banana that he did for the first Velvet Underground album. Well, if Warhol could do a banana surely I could do a Berlin bratwurst! Carmen and I bought one at Alexanderplatz and laid it on the ground and photographed it. We completed it with a beer cap of Berlin's cheapest beer Sternberger. I liked the star and... well... it goes together. What to say? This bratwurst had lots of mustard oozing out of it, but did not come out well in the photograph. It is a pity. I wanted to make the mustard green in the final silkscreen. This is the final result. There will be more to come. .. silkscreens not bratwursts!