It was the a last minute snap decision to travel from Berlin to the Rheinland Pfalz, the opposite end of the Germany. I wanted to attend the Art Imaginär exhibition to see some artists I knew and to try to meet some of the people behind the illusive Labyrinthe Gessellschaft. Everything magically fell into place and I arrived in Mußbach on Saturday.
Mußbach is wine growing village which has the oldest vineyard in the region, the Herrenhof. It was peak tourist season as people flocked to the region to sample the new wine. Almost every available courtyard was full with people eating and drinking. So finding a place to stay is impossible and finding a place to eat is a challenge.
The Herrenhof is the venue for the Art Imaginär exhibition. While it may now have a great role as the cultural center of Mußbach, it wasn’t always so. The local council were wanting to demolish the buildings as they were in a serious state of disrepair and they had no interest investing in the buildings. So the local residents took it upon themselves with their own time and funds to renovate the buildings.
The exhibition opening was Sunday, but I visited the exhibition on the Saturday anyway as I knew the gallery would be full with people and I would be preoccupied with talking and photographing the exhibition. I had wanted to catch my friend Peter Gric, but he had already delivered his artwork and left for the day, so instead I looked around the exhibition.
Otfried Culmann, conversing with Wolfgang Harms, in front of Viktor Safonkin
The exhibition was curated by artist Otfried Culmann who has already organized a number of such events. This particular exhibition was three in one. The main exhibition consisted of 75 artists from 10 different countries, from the well known such as Fuchs and Dali, to lesser known, all working in Fantastic Art. Second was the Woldermar Winkler exhibition. Finally was the exhibition of a special selection of Fantastic Art from the Westermann collection. One of the special things about the Westermann collection is that all of the artists are requested to create artworks in the same format, but they are permitted free reign in those constraints.
After looking at the exhibition I started to chat with some of the people that were there, and discovered that they were none other the organizers themselves. So it came to pass that I sat down to tea and coffee with Otfried Culmann, Gustav Adolf Bähr, the chairman of the Herrenhof association, Gerhard Habarta, the publisher of the “Lexicon der phantastischer Künstler” and Lukas Kandl who organizes the L’Ange Exquis project. Later artist Michael Engelhardt came and joined us. Slowly, I was discovering who was who. It was also an opportunity for me to look through a number of the catalogues and including the “Lexicon der phantastischer Künstler”.
That evening we all met again with everybody’s partners in a fascinating restaurant that used to be an artist’s residence. The front of the house was decorated with stone sculpture, and various surfaces inside had been painted with all manner of pictures. With our large group and it being peak tourist season sitting around the table was very cosy. On offer was all manner of local cuisines and of course, local wines. We all had to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, looking our best for the exhibition opening in the morning so we did not make it a long evening.
I must heartily thank Kurt Kaiser and Gabriele Humborg, who devote much of their free time to the Herrenhof, for their generous hospitality and having me stay with them. It proved to be a full house with the Kandls staying with them also. I very much appreciate how accommodating they were.
The grand day of the exhibition opening arrived, along with a few more of the artists whom I had not seen on the Saturday, such as Bruno Weber, Peter Gric, Viktor Safonkin, Siegfried Zademack and Wolfgang Harms. I think Otfried Culmann and the other organizers were very pleased and relieved when the show finally opened. The hall above the exhibition was packed to capacity with the exhibition receiving some 500 visitors on the opening day. There were also a number of favourable articles of a good size in the press. So exhibition proved be a great success.
The day was a superb opportunity for the artists to meet each other, make new friendships and renew old ones. Many had traveled a long way, seldom seeing each other except at various exhibitions, and perhaps contact over the internet. It was a valuable time to exchange information and ideas, fostering the growing sense of community amongst Fantastic and Visionary artists.
To this end, the Fantastic Art project in Viechtach was mentioned several times. I discovered that there was already dialogue between Viechtach and Mußbach and that a delegation, including the Mayor of Viechtach and artist Reinhard Schmid would be visiting the Art Imaginär exhibition the following week to discuss the possibility of the exchange of projects or the collaboration thereof. If such things come to fruition, then future is indeed exciting for Fantastic Art providing a wealth of opportunities on top of those already offered by events such as Art Imaginär at the Herrenhof Mußbach.
Open from the 27th of September to the 25th of October 2009
An der Eselshaut 18
D-67435 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse
Peter Ackermann, Bernhard Apfel, Utz Arnoldi, WESSI Benderlieva Karlhofer, Myriam Bat-Yosef, Nicolaus zu Bentheim, Johfra van den Berg, Serge Brignoni, Alice Buis, Agustin Cardenas, Fabricio Clerici, Otfried H. Culmann, Salvador Dali, Doremi, Tine Duffing & Cocoon, Edgar Ende, Leonor Fini, Ernst Fuchs, Joachim Geissler-Kasmekat, Walter Grab, Peter Gric, Friedrich Gross, Fabius von Gugel, Joe Hackbarth, Veronika Hagen, Wolfgang Harms, Rudolf Hausner, Claus Dietrich Hentschel, Werner Holz, Herrmann Hoormann, Fritz Horauf, Emy Hudecek, Wolfgang Hutter, Michel-Claude Jullian, Edgar Jene, Heinz Jung, Lukas Kandl, Helmut Kies, Karl Korab, Edgar Landherr, Hannelore Langhans, Barbara Lenz, Ellen Lorien, Jaime Makinde, Roberto E. Matta, Max von Moos, Hans-Peter Muller, Alexandra Muller-Jontschewa, Hellmut Neukirch, Wolfgang Ohlhauser, Erik Olson, Wolfgang Peuker, Dieter Peukert, Silvia Quandt, Tamara Ralis, Kurt Regschek, Carl-W. Rohrig, Victor Safonskin, Hundertwasser, Dietrich Schuchardt, URSULA Schultze-Bluhm, Ludwig Schwarzer, Cornelia Simone-Bach, Manfred Sillner, Ernst Steiner, Piero Strada, Charles F. Soehnee, Esaias Thoren, Elke Wassmann, Bruno Weber, Woldemar Winkler, Paul Wunderlich, Siegfried Zademack & Mac Zimmermann.