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I’m dealing in my new series of large-sized paintings with the definition and the feeling of home. Home is a place inside us. Childhood, memory, nostalgia, yearning. A place for retreat and where our souls can find peace. Trust, creed, our harbour, an emotional safe house. At the same time home has also a historical dimension. This word and the feeling behind bore nations, and in the name of home people waged war and became killers.

I’m dealing with my own family history. My both grandfathers were soldiers of the German Wehrmacht in World War II, served at the eastern front and became prisoners in Russian prisoners of war camps for many years. When the Red Army moved forward, the families of my mother and my father had to give up their native hometowns in East Prussia and Sudetenland and had to flee to western Germany while they were under attack. Nevertheless this part of the family story was off-limits and its direct connection with wartime and escape a taboo (a behaviour that was no different from other German families at this time). The term “homeland“ became a centuries blame and was on a par with terms like “nation“ or “völkisch“ (folkish in a racial meaning).

And of course – how could it be any different – the new series deals also with (past and present) Germany as historical and geographical homeland of millions of people. That reflection doesn’t end by the 20th century and not by the Third Reich but it goes back to the Late Middle Ages and to the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest more than two thousand years ago. It irritates when discussions about the definition of “home“ try to negate any historical context and – mostly without deeper knowledge about history – concentrate on present age. Surely German history needs a critical debate but it’s not fair to debase past ages and the output of all these former generations.

For the record: home is very filigree, intimate and personal. On the other hand home stands for brute force, aggression, trenches and the roar of guns. Of course it’s an obvious conflict but also the other side of the same coin. That’s the determining factors for my new series “HOME”. My conviction: We can detect our roots and the repeating historical patterns only if we face and study our history in detail and with seriousness. Tabooing is the wrong way because it darkens where we need bright and positive thoughts. This has nothing to do with a late hero worship, romanticization or admiration for bad aims. The modern human needs a home more than ever (again).

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James Gordon Farrell highlights the importance of historical aspects, the understanding of history to the point in his novel “The Siege Of Krishnapur“ (1973):
“We look on past ages with condescension, as a mere preparation for us….
but what if we are a mere after-glow of them?”

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H O M E

HOMELAND – HEIMATLAND
MOTHERLAND – MUTTERLAND
FATHERLAND – VATERLAND
BROTHERLAND – BRUDERLAND –
SISTERLAND – SCHWESTERLAND
ENEMY LAND – FEINDESLAND
NO MAN’S LAND – NIEMANDSLAND
BLOODLAND – BLUTLAND

H O M E

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