Grit and Mortar

The Academy sends four students to enjoy a two-month residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in the historic Spinnerei in Leipzig. Holly Ann Sailors, Aleah Chapin, Nicolas Holiber and Alexander Barton blog with us while they're on residency in Germany.

By Alexander Barton (MFA 2012)

Nic, Aleah, Holly and Alex in front of the Spinnerei

Acres of rescued brick mills at the Spinnerei supports a fertile artistic community and has informed the success of this cultural collective. Complete with artist ateliers, an art store, galleries, bars, a cafe, businesses, a theatre, resident artists, and from bikes to Porsches, the Spinnerei is a self-sufficient artistic epicenter. This niche of Leipzig thrives on and is influenced by its historical relics and charm. Stone, brick, tracks, broken windows, graffiti, and rubble is coupled with humble renovations to make for an inspiring artistic terrain. Like rings on a tree you can count back the years by the layers of chipped paint in our studios. What is the appeal of this grit to artists? It seems for me absurd to even create work in a clean, plastic, or na├»ve environment, one who embodies not history, weight, and failure and therefore, potential. Sacrificing comforts for creative faculties, I have been living in mills like these since 2002 and have been evicted three times. The buildings, this tactile character and this evidence of life harmonizes with my purpose. Like that of New York, the rugged physical architecture we climb and dwell in fuels our practices. The scars in the floors and stains to the ceiling offer a great dialogue to creative minds. In the courtyard of the Spinnerei, a massive clock on building #21 has stopped at 10:10. The ghosts of the Spinnerei answer back our efforts in tact. We create with interests of progression, potential and production, however; I hope this stopped clock keeps my time and the Spinnerei’s energy preserved at this 10:10 stage forever.

Bleib dir treu Leipzig!





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