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By colormoods, Jun 26 2018 01:10PM

The theoretical set up was one thing — present the scenery in my head as an interesting, convincing and accessible body of work proved to be a completely different matter. I came to realize that despite my colorfully crayoned ideas theory and reality were light-years away from each other. I kept swaying between absolute conviction about the potential of my idea and the deepest, gnawing doubts in what I was (trying) to do. Who would be interested in the memoirettes of my sheltered childhood?

Over and over again I would drift off, losing focus… Was I genuinely producing relevant work for an audience or was I creating a little collection just to remind and reassure myself of my 30 year old mental souvenirs? Was I really processing personal experiences or had there been little clusters sneaking in that someone had just told me once or which I had picked up accidentally? Memories are slippery and sometimes, over time, they are are trailing off… So I spent a good amount of time knee deep sunken into the matter, rummaging and ‚evaluating‘ the ‘rightness’ of my memories, if in that case, a right or a wrong exists. Hasn’t got everyone their very own, unique story to tell? Who‘s to judge? But when I now look at my work, so close to the opening of the exhibition, I think it was worth to spend so much time contemplating, questioning, doubting. After a good sift, I ended up with what seem to be the ‚rightest‘ and most important images.

Sometimes though, when nothing seemed to work out or make sense, I was very close to give up, deeply frustrated about the time wasted and work done for the physical and the virtual bin. Eventually I understood, that all doubts and starting-overs were part of the process and the learning curve and I couldn‘t have done without. The direct, honest and neutral approach of my two tutors at Hull College School of art also sometimes threw me back by at least two weeks but also proved very helpful in order to pull me out of my creativity cloud where too many ideas where whirling, back onto firm ground... A structure started to form, a memory mesh if you like, which at last started to make sense not only to me. Things were going more smoothly and came out more naturally until I finally had worked myself off and was finished remembering (for now).

My solo show became reality, so exciting – a dream came true! Now I can only hope that my work will intrigue people. That they‘re enticed to join me on my journey to a smallish past with a huge event and eventually land in the here and now. Meanwhile, the Berlin Wall had been torn down for longer than it had existed but forget we should not, should we?

By colormoods, Jun 26 2018 01:07PM

Bananas versus Birds

For my workshop program, I produced two different iconic cardboard shapes, a banana and a bird.

I divided the classes into two groups and marked the middle of the classroom as the border between the two countries, GDR (East Germany) and FRG (West Germany), using red and white striped barrier tape.

The banana had been allocated to the group representing East Germany and therefore the bird to the students on the West German side of the room. The children could see each other but weren't allowed to cross the “border” which they took very seriously.

The “west” kids were permitted to draw and write anything they liked on their birds while the GDR kids were limited to use triangles, rectangles and circles for their drawings on the bananas, strictly no written thoughts, feelings and favorites. The children were challenged to make the most out of what they had. Mostly they were a bit envious towards their classmates with the birds but then they recognized the creative potential of plain geometric shapes. On the other hand, the bird group seemed to be overwhelmed by the choice they had available and took longer to decide what to do with the bird shape. When this group acknowledged the freedom they were given, they became very confident and were less worried to make “mistakes”.

Apart from few exceptions the students enjoyed the workshop, stating it was great to work creatively since there is often not much room for art activities in the busy daily schedule.

It turned out that drawing is very popular as an opportunity for the children to express themselves, even if art wasn’t one of their main interests or talents. It was a pleasure to see them loosening up and using their imagination during the process. The decorated pieces are all unique and for the children reason to be proud of. The shapes come together beautifully in a large collection.

According to the questionnaires that I asked the children to complete, of the children who were trusted with the banana, about two-thirds would have liked to swop it for the bird if they would have been able to. Nearly all of the children who were assigned to draw on the bird did not want to swop. This represents that a total of about 3 quarters of all the children were preferring the bird over the banana. They were preferring freedom over restriction and choice over limitation. They all enjoyed being creative, proving that drawing is very popular as an opportunity for the children to express themselves, even if art wasn’t one of their main interests or talents.

I know that this is not how one gathers proper scientifically significant data but for my little social experiment I was happy with the outcome.

By colormoods, Jun 26 2018 12:46PM

The next phase of the project had started in April 2017. My workshop programme with schoolchildren from Hull has gone very well, leaving me with hundreds of individual pieces of art. Now I was to continue producing more artwork myself in order to install the final exhibition in 2018.

By colormoods, Jun 26 2018 12:45PM

Why use a title so distant from the actual content? Quite contrary to the sub-line — or would you associate Pink Yogurt with the Iron Curtain?

During the last years I was, for some reason, often thinking about this substance known from my early childhood. We bought it a few times from the dairy shop. It lured us in by its atypical, new colour which was visible through the shop window. Although we only had it a few times, I vividly remember the colour, the taste, the texture, even the smell of this substance. Without a decent amount of sugar stirred in vigorously until smooth, this stuff was unenjoyable. I remembered almost to a point that it became real again and I felt I had to write down all that yogurt. Bit by bit, other memories kept popping up and after some time of writing, I sat in front of an extensive pile of pages. Those experiences I dug up had all to do with my upbringing in the former GDR and I began thinking about a way to visualize and share them. Memories about my two worlds.

A „proper“ one where I neatly played my role within the system and diligently did my best to fit in and to comply but which felt strangely unfamiliar at times — and my other little world where I, let's say, felt more at home. Everything began with some gooey pink yogurt in a glass bottle. The pink is drawing through my work like a pink thread. I just couldn't help it. Even though I don't really like pink as a colour. Or maybe I am pinking away exactly because of that?

By colormoods, Jun 26 2018 12:43PM

Set against the current backdrop of a similarly chaotic, fast moving political climate in Europe 'PINK YOGURT: A Childhood Behind the Iron Curtain’ is an attempt to go back and explore my personal memories of everyday life and education in the totalitarian system of the former GDR (German Democratic Republic, i.e., East Germany). For almost 3 years I have been working on an art project about school, military education, leisure, retail, individuality versus conformity and also the STASI – within the last years of the GDR – through the eyes of a schoolchild.

Who is the project for?

'PINK YOGURT’ is aimed at the growing up generation – school children that are at the same age as I was at the time of the political change in Germany. But I'm also reaching out to people of my current age and the generation of our parents and grandparents in both Germany and the UK. I am aware that the backgrounds of the particular age groups and individuals differ greatly and therefore the project provides plenty of opportunities for association, identification and discussion for a broad audience.

I'd like to excite or reawaken the awareness of intangible assets such as freedom of press, freedom of travel or the opportunity to develop and flourish as individuals. I’d like to commemorate this particular period of time, build connections between now and then and inspire people to appreciate today's social and political values which are increasingly becoming fragile again.

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