It is the first exposition of my paintings which started Sunday morning at the Café Bilderbuch in Berlin. And setting up the exposition was a smooth and inspiring experience.
Last Saturday 5 am. The car windows are frozen. After putting the last luggage into the boot, I have to use the ice-scraper. A few minutes later we are on the highway. On the way to Basel, there are only very few cars around. A quarter past 6 we arrive at the border to Germany. The custom declarations were all ready (it was quite some work beforehand…) and so it takes only some minutes to go through the Swiss and German customs. Then we are heading north, nearly 1000 km of highway drive. It is a beautiful day with a gorgeous sunrise. And when we arrive at Berlin the Sun has already set and it is getting dark again.
Our friends where we stay the two nights give us a warm welcome. After dinner we discuss last details for coordinating the setting-up of the exposition of my paintings. And early Sunday morning, after a short group meditation and a quick breakfast, we are driving through the empty streets of Berlin. The Café Bilderbuch is a huge café located on two floors – we will set up the exposition at the ground floor – and for this we have just two hours, from 7 to 9.
The car access to the Café Bilderbuch is from an inner courtyard. The other helpers are already there. But the previous exposition is still on the walls…. Our helpers take these paintings carefully to a side room. A quarter past seven the artist couple arrive – and get angry that their paintings were already down. They were told that they can take down the paintings till 9 am – and we were told to be ready with the exposition until 9 am… After some “reconciliation work” the artists calm down and we continue the preparations. Time is running fast. We set up two teams and I supervise the work, leaving much freedom to the helpers. And they do a great job. When the first guests enter around 9 am, we are still working and the service team is a bit nervous. But around 9:15 70 paintings are set up. It was an incredible moment – all were feeling like in a dream. I had not thought it would have been possible to arrange all the paintings and in this short time.
A friend, a music teacher and guitar player, arrives with some members of his family to give a vernissage concert. And while we are relaxing with the breakfast he plays a number of songs. In the meantime the café is filled with guest. And while I am going round to control the paintings, a waitress comes to me and says, “These are very beautiful paintings, I like them a lot.” I smile.
Two small paintings cannot be found, neither in the luggage nor in the café (and also not at home – they were in the list for the customs). I also smiled – maybe somebody had taken them. I had decided not to ask for any money for the paintings but to give them, at the end of the exposition, when people want them. I just inform about the costs of the production and the work and leave it to the people to decide whether they give money and how much, feeling inspired for this by the example of my teachers.
There are some nice exchanges in the afternoon and evening followed by a short night. Then yesterday again a highway ride over nearly 1000 km. When we enter our apartment in the evening we are very tired but happy about the whole trip to Berlin.