Monday, March 14, 2011

The Spinnerei

Did you know that the New York Times ranked Leipzig as one of the top ten places to go in 2010 and one of the places it mentions is the Spinnerei.

The Spinnerei is an old mill that was abandoned and was "taken over" by squatters.  The squatters were mostly artists, they found the giant warehouse rooms with huge windows the perfect place to work on their art.  The city found out about this new hippie art village at the mill and decided to charge the squatters rent.  Luckily for them the rent wasn't very much and they all stayed.  Man is it cool.  Twice a year they open their homes, studios, and galleries to the public for tours but Jon knew someone who knew someone else who set up a private tour of the Spinnerei for the TNC participants, and me & Alessandra of course. :o)

It was incredible!  First of all, I can't believe the way these people are living.  It would never fly in the states as the building would never get a certificate of occupancy.  But there is a strange beauty to the disarray.  It is an old, abandoned , boarded up,  run down, dirty mill.  Yet the artist have built their homes and studios here.  One of the artists, a lithographer by the name of Stephan Rosentreter opened his home/studio/gallery to us.  He built a loft above a portion of his studio where he has his bedroom, below his bedroom is his library filled with books.  Besides his bathroom and kitchen (which are the same "room") the rest of the space is used for storage, art supplies, and his art.  His room is very bright and homey, and a part of me envied the simplicity.

They told us about the lithograph process, showing us different steps a long the way and the machines and equipment needed to create their art.  Then they took us to their gallery to show us the their favorite finished pieces (the first picture is of a postcard they gave us of one of those pieces).  It was really amazing.  As a gift, they made us all lithographs to take home.  The lithograph was of a hippopotamus that was actually drawn in 1889 - very cool!

After a quick snack we were taken in a really old elevator (imagine the ones you see in horror movies, the ones without doors that people get trapped in, with flickering lights - yeah that just about describes it) to visit with an artist visionary by the name of Julius Popp.  He uses art as a way to demonstrate his ideas/theories.  He very well may be the most brilliant man I've ever had the privilege to meet and speak with.  He told us about the pieces projects he was working on.  He doesn't like thinking of himself as an artist and his work as art but rather theories that he is trying to think/work through.  A couple of his projects include; Bit Fall a machine that "rains" different words or images, Bit Flow a machine with a long string of tubing that when the colored liquid goes through it spells words but only in one place in the mess of tubing, and many more.

Please take a minute to look at the videos I have just posted.  Julius is really brilliant and I'm hoping someone will see his work and help him to fund/market it so that he'll be able to get his art out for people to use and enjoy.

All in all it was so cool.  I feel so blessed that I was able to meet these people and get a tiny glimpse of their lives, their homes, and their art.


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