On the way to NO! art in the concentration camp | December 1998
To the NO!art to the concentration camp in Buchenwald in winter, that was a proposal I was soon to decide. I was never there, it flew through my mind, never in the concentration camp. Don't go there alone either and should sleep in the warm. And as it turned out later in a side speech by the NO!art artist Boris Lurie, who now showed his work there and who was locked up there in the 1940s: Yes, he said that he had also slept worse than at this shitty place, namely later on a ferry. Was it from Reykjavik to ... ?
So I slept well. But those were only short hours. Not that the storm and the rain in front of my room hindered me, no, because my room was good. The others too, at least the renovated ones and the ones in the slipstream.
I immediately got to know the NO!art experts Dietmar and Martin Kirves from Berlin. They showed us, with ironic smiles, how everything had to go for this night in the former SS barracks. On the evening of arrival, adventurous stories circled in the smoke of the joint round. We heard eerie noises in the loneliness of the concentration camp memorial. "Shut up, what was that, can't you hear it too?" ... A snowstorm swept through the concentration camp grounds outside on Goethe's Ettersberg.
In the morning we had breakfast in the canteen, right next door in the other barrack. Still with the charm of socialist cosiness, which I defended from time to time, between the beloved styrofoam ceiling and the imitation of wood in the floor linoleum. For breakfast we had: "Do you have a cheese roll?" - "No, but I have sausage and a roll." The fact that the sausage was warm was the good surprise.
Eckhart Holzboog had left Stuttgart at half past four in the morning, without sleep at night, via Frankfurt Airport, where Boris Lurie and Clayton Patterson had yet to be picked up, due to uncertain factors, because Boris Lurie had not found his passport again in New York. But now more than punctual, nobody wanted to believe it, they arrived, here on the parking lot in front of the window, in front of our eyes.
The opening date forced us to move quickly to the exhibition rooms in the former concentration camp disinfection building. It was impressive. True art. Complex and authentic. There hung large and small pictures, painted over collages and objects. A wondrous, touching show by an artist who had already been to this horrible place. I was completely changed by the omnipresence of the renovated concentration camp building and the many pictures. The network in my head reformatted itself. Impulses, unconventional, strong disturbances shot through it.
Then the opening speech by the memorial site director Dr. Knigge, a declaration of love to the man and artist Boris Lurie. He stood there, heard it and was touched. By the way, there were a few more people than I had suspected. I noticed Clayton in the middle of it all. He was taking video pictures with his left hand, at the same time he was moving the video controller with his right hand and grinning in a completely different direction.
The exhibition was opened. Boris Lurie answered everyone who asked. I bought the NO!art book, even though it fell apart at the signing. Then we went to the opening buffet in the former SS barracks. Oh yes, there were many treats. I tasted everything. Good mood in the round. The Rotkäppchen sparkling wine, a sparkling recommendation from today.
Slowly the rows thinned out, we moved closer together. But we remained seated, even after the repeated veto to take advantage of the fresh air by going outside. But nobody could really imagine that in the icy weather.
Unfortunately, unfortunately, time passes. And the train to Stuttgart did not want to wait. Thanks to the artist Boris Lurie! Thanks to the pictures I have left!
Published in: NO!art in Buchenwald: Boris Lurie, Written/poems, Stuttgart 2003
more: ►Exhibition in Weimar Buchenwald: Boris Lurie Werke 1946-98