The Spinnerei, Leipzig’s City Center and Berlin in a Nutshell: Leipzig Residency, Part 2

By Krista Smith (MFA 2014) 

We are going into week three here at the Spinnerei, and everyone is deep into their own work. For me, the Spinnerei is kind of like one massive production site where artists from all over the world come to nestle into their industrial-sized lofts and make some serious use of its big white walls. Our days so far have consisted of waking up around 10 am, stumbling into the kitchen where Tim has already buried his face into one giant cup of coffee and is making some concoction-like breakfast while smiling and dancing to old Motown hits.  

One of the best parts about living here is the fact that there are galleries on the grounds. We do not have to go far at all to see some really interesting shows and spaces. It's great to see how the facades of the buildings look in contrast to what is inside. Here is one of the gallery spaces across the cobblestone from Halle 18, which houses a massive installation piece that was built start to finish in the space and is hung with only one piece of wire.

Besides sticking around the Spinnerei, last week we were introduced to our new intern, Mirihka, who took Kevin, Alicia and me around the city center to give us a little history lesson about Leipzig.  

One of the churches she showed us really stood out to me because it was so unlike most of the churches you might see in other parts of Europe. You know: the ones that are covered wall to ceiling in decorative gold leaf and religious murals. Apparently not here in Leipzig! It was as if we walked into some classical lullaby inspired by a playful carousel, with its heavily lacquered pews and minty milkshake colors. Its airiness was absolutely stunning, its no wonder Sebastian Bach used to play here.

Again, judging by the outside, I did not expect the inside to look the way it did:

Later that week, we all met up with Tim, who was already in Berlin with his very talented friends who had recently played a show in Leipzig. Anna (LIA’s coordinator) and her very happy and beautiful baby, Camille, walked us around Berlin, pointing out its major historical landmarks and monuments in both the east and west side of the city. 

Part of the Berlin Wall

Some of the wall is completely littered with gum and bottle caps.
It looked really amazing close up.

Then on to the Holocaust Monument ...

Our trip to Berlin was short and sweet. We decided to hit a couple of museums the next day before our train departed. I was impressed with Kathe Kollwitz. I had only heard about her and seen her works online. Her worked awed us with its precision and combination of techniques. Unfortunately, we could not take pictures in her museum, but I encourage everyone to try and track down her drawings and etchings. It really is significant work. 

Our last stop was the Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin where Alicia, Tim and Kevin were introduced to their first Anselm Kiefer (in life).  

The gallery was not mammoth in size but had a refreshing sculpture and installation hall. Sadly, the Joseph Beuys collection was closed for hanging, but there were many quality works by Robert Rauschenberg and others that kept us going. In the end, the trip was short and to the point, but fun was had by all!

On May 31, four Academy students arrived in Leipzig, Germany, to start a two-month residency hosted by the Leipzig International Art Programme. Alicia Brown, Tim Buckley, Krista Smith and Shangkai (Kevin) Yu (all members of the class of 2014) will share their experiences here throughout the summer!

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