Most of us are living away from home in Berlin, therefore we have visitors, who would bring some smell from our past. Making one wonder: what is home, eventually?
Speaking about Berlin,one may face another kind of reality, say, by enjoying exhibitions, parties, working but knowing that the day would end in a nice bar. What happens if, all of a sudden, mom and aunt appear with your past and change your pattern? One finds herself/himself with the sounds of a flash of a camera trying to capture every single moment – including unnecessary ones. Touristic spots are inevitable… There is one place to endure: Alte Nationalgalerie with paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, Adolph Menzel, Osman Hamdi Bey, Monet or Arnold Böcklin… The list goes on.
In one of those moments I’ve encountered Caspar David Friedrich’s Frau am Fenster, 1822. A woman looking out from a window… Day dreaming? Maybe interrogating ways of escaping from that single moment… One may say that she is searching for solitude. What is solitude?
Richard Sennett illustrates three kinds of solitude in the society: “solitude of isolation, solitude of the dreamer/the rebellion, solitude of difference/ the sense of being one among many.” One wonders what kind of a solitude we are living in Berlin. Definitely we lack the chevaliers, the lonely fighter. There are no Don Quixotes, bohemians or 68 lovers anymore. Is a new type of romanticism is in the air? A new reality in terms of loneliness… Nevertheless, we all have the moments together: discussing, going to parties, laughing together, somehow enjoying an epoch but isolated at the same time…
Another painting at Alte Nationalgalerie: Adolph Menzel’s Schlaffzimmer des Künstlers in der Ritterstrasse, 1847 portrays an artist’s living space. A small room, a cosy one, with a single bed − Menzel is 32 at that time. A blur figure of a, say, woman behind the working desk. Evocative of our contemporary life of Berlin: small rooms, full of hopes, on the way of getting things done… A slight figure of some kind of a body, not a lover though, just a company: temporary. Therefore it is blurry, about to vanish. One never can be sure. How familiar?
Considering the solitude, what the naked figures of Georg Kolbe’s in The Golden Isle, 1888 allude? Young bodies are trying to get some support from each other… Their body language informs something is wrong. The souls are tattered – they are devastated and exhausted . Waiting, despite knowing what to search for. Yellowish light: one may say the sun − the feeling is different though. Maybe it is just a stage…