Purple Art

[July 22 2014]

Greetings from the Black Forest, Baden-Württember

I’ve made my annual sojourn to southern Germany where my friend Martin Schaesberg is launching an artists’ residency in his family’s Schloss Tannheim. The former abbey was converted to a residence when his ancestors moved from Northern Germany during the Napoleonic wars. Martin has enlisted me as a consulting curator on the project. So I invited out an amazing group – artists, gallerist and curator – including Grear Patterson, Katja Kublitz, Larissa Bischoff and Joseph Gergel as well as my dear friend, the actress, Lucy Griffiths.

Next year, I’ll officially nominate five artists to reside at the castle and produce site-specific work for an exhibition I’ll curate in 2016. The place is nestled in lush fields of corn and wheat adjacent to the Black Forest lending a damp green hue to the atmosphere. Sitting in the gardens or cycling through the fields, you can see weather systems approaching for miles. Storms bowling along in big dark clouds. Luckily, it was mostly sunny and even when the summer storms billowed through the sun’s rays would inevitable penetrate their density creating spotlights from the heavens. The freshness of the landscape and the antiquated backdrop of the property itself lends itself to self-reflection and offers ample rejuvenating activities. It’s no wonder the region is speckled with grand monasteries and lavish rococo cathedrals whose steeples pierce the skyline of even the tiniest villages. It also makes it the perfect spot for an artists’ retreat.

These last ten days, we divided our days between activities… Taking several hours to prepare and enjoy each meal made of products grown in the garden or from the dairies and game raised nearby. The rest of the each day was divided between reading in the morning and cycling to the river Breg for a frigid swim before swapping out sauna and pool dips and laying in the sun to dry. Late afternoons we all retreated to our chambers for more reading and down time, research and writing, or – for the artists – time to paint and think through their current projects. A regiment that reminded all of us of summer camp. Text and photo Cecilia Stucker

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