Hey there everyone!
Let me tell you the last part of my Leipzig Trip. The final day.
After we had that magnificent breakfast overlooking the town for a last time, we packed our bags and left them at the reception. Then we headed downtown and ended up exploring a different part of town.
One with a lot of very meaningful street art.
You are probably familiar with the situation a few years back in Germany, when there were practically two Germany’s. Leipzig belonged to the GDR, which was part of the Soviet Union, but its own state. Click here or here for some other facts about the economy. Shortly said life wasn’t the best in East Germany – as it’s drawn in black and white here. At the end of the GDR there were a couple of things happening, that are all incorporated in this piece of art: there were people leaving/escaping the GDR (which was mostly illegal and very dangerous – you could risk your life ), …
…there were peaceful inner protests for free elections and from the outside West Germany was trying to make agreements with the not so cooperative heads of the GDR.
It was completely by chance that we came by this gigantic piece of art. I was pretty overwhelmed at first and then just stood there – in the rain – trying to grasp the time, the emotions, every detail in that painting, as well as the whole picture. For me it was just an experience of its own.
Originally we were on our way to the Museum of Arts, which I quote a local is “ugly on the outside and beautiful on the inside”. (You could interpret a lot in that statement, apply it to different other fields or just use it as a little wisdom sprinkled your way by a gentle stranger.)
He stood corrected. The building was a complete ugly construction site from the outside, but inside it was chic and modern and tidy and elegant – just wonderful.
I had to pay extra to take my camera with me – so please props for that. But still I wasn’t allowed to photograph what I liked the most, which was the exhibition “Nolde und die Brücke”.
“Die Brücke” translates to “the bridge”, but is actually an artist group of expressionism consisting of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel und Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, who then recruited/convinced Emil Nolde to join.
The exhibition was just wonderful! I was already a huge fan of expressionism, but those paintings just blew me away. They fascinated me to a point where I (true story!) stood ´ infront of one painting for 20 min easily. Although standing wouldn’t be the right verb. Walking would be a bit better. Or pacing? I stood inches from the canvas for a few minutes, then slowly walked back, keeping the painting fixed, standing away for a bit. Walking closer. Examining every stroke of the brush. Every dab of color. Then slowly walking backwards, still in bond with the picture.
I just really lose track of time in art exhibitions. When I enjoy the art, it’s able to pull me in and not let me go. If you haven’t noticed already.
We didn’t have too much time, sadly (!) and we still wanted to see a bit of the other exhibitions. There was a really thought-provoking and fascinating one on GDR art, which displayed a lot of different artists – controlled or not by the GDR – painting situations of “everyday life” in the GDR. Some were very colorful, showing the “glory of the mass and the working class”, “glorious life in the GDR”, others showed a little more depressing versions of the “official reality”, just so much it would still pass the restrictions.
Yet another exhibition was Max Klinger and Markus Lüpertz, sculptors and painters, but they didn’t really represent my favorite type of art. Just personally. Other paintings I found fascinating again, like a couple of original Max Backmanns. Funny to reflect on it, I really rather walked through the other exhibitions, except for the GDR one. That one and Nolde I spent so much time with each and every painting… maybe I was just tired. And it was getting late.
The last thing we wanted to have seen before departing was the Zeitgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, where the entry is completely free! They had an incredibly exhibition on the complete history of the German Democratic Republic – from the founding day to the day the wall fell. I wish I would’ve had more time to spend in there – there was so much to see, to read, even to touch. All original documents, newspapers, protest banners, whole cars in there, stuffed animals, commercial banners, … and with all a precise and short text. Just the dream of exhibitions! If you ever come to visit Leipzig, you have to go in there!!
Sadly we really had to rush through, but despite of the short time, the impression it made on me was quite huge.
After getting our baggage, we headed for the central station and took the train back home.
All in all it was a very eventful, educating and great trip, from which I take with me a lot of impressions, feelings, new knowledge and a lesson learned.
See you in my next post,