Welcome to the Spinnerei: Leipzig Residency, Part 1

By Shangkai Kevin Yu (MFA 2014)
Krista Smith and I met up with Tim Buckley in Munich to take the propeller plane into Leipzig. I will never forget seeing Tim’s familiar big beard and broad smile when he found us at the airport and listening to him rave about how amazing sitting in a tin can at 37,000 feet was. 

Following the grand tradition of travel blog posts, I am going to start with this picture of Krista:

A corner at the Spinnerei outside Boesner, the biggest art store in Leipzig.
The first day was very surreal. We arrived at the Spinnerei in the rain, and entering Hall 18 where our studios are is like walking into a cave. Every room inside is so massive, the smallest sound is echoed and amplified. We have three other artists at the Leipzig International Art Programme (LIA): Jérôme Zonder from Paris, Sophia Janatti from Amsterdam, and Aika Furukawa from Tokyo. All three are really great artists and fantastic people.

"Jeu D'Enfants," by Jérôme Zonder

Painting by Sophia Janetti
"Intertwined Moments," by Aika Furukawa

As soon as the art store opened on Monday morning, we went on a little shopping trip (the store is really only 20 feet from our building), discovering the local art supplies. We are still a little confused about the lack of matte medium and the absence of oil ground. Here are some studio shots of us working: 


We've had many strange sightings on the streets around the Spinnerei, especially on Karl-Heine-Straße: a chicken strapped to a tree, a white tiger in a tree, an airplane behind trees, gypsy camps, odd posters…

Visiting the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig, was on our must-do list. We went to a student show opening there this past Thursday night. The architecture of the building blew us a way. I wonder what kind of an effect the space has on the student work there – making art inside a building that is itself a beautiful art piece. Here are two pictures of the entrance hall and the front of the building:

A painting (2012) at HGB Galerie

Finally, I want to share an amazing studio visit we paid to the artist Stefan Guggisberg. Originally from Switzerland, he now works and lives in Leipzig. The surface of his paintings on paper is really mysterious; it has the visual qualities of charcoal and color pencil drawings, but at the same time it possesses a sense of permanence that a drawing doesn’t have.

Inside Stefan’s studio
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! 


  1. Kevin it looks great!
    Hope you're having a wonderful time.

  2. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
    The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.