Your skin is my paper

Sunday Matinee I

Collaboration with the artist Bettina Krieg and the journalist Hanno Hauenstein
Since my first artistic skill was painting, I never lost the satisfaction of expressing myself through drawing. I filled over the years over 100 sketchbooks while sitting in Bars, Clubs or waiting for trains and airplanes. The subject are always people, shown in storytelling, narrativ observations.
In this collaboration I asked my precious friend and artist Bettina Krieg to collaborate with me. Together we draw on the skin of a beautiful young man, Hanno Hauenstein. The process was just love. Thanks to Krieg and Hauenstein!X ER

Text: Hanno Hauenstein

In The Penal Colony, a story Kafka wrote exactly one hundred years ago, describes a torture device which carves a verdict on, or better under the skin of the particular prisoner who received it. Well, when Esra first told me about the idea of a shoot, I didn’t imagine anything even close to torture. Looking back, the Kafka-story popped up though. Thinking of his 'type-writer' as a metaphor for power, the calculated aesthetics of power, this is pretty much the opposite of what my body-paint session with Esra & Bettina looked like. Esra just started to sharpen her wax pens, and it didn’t seem like one or the other actually had a plan. "Why not use Eddings?", Bettina asked. Esra jumped, "let's do colors!", sat down again, "maybe, let's not do colors!" - Ideas like prices in a food market. The only clear thing was that we'd start from a symbol on my chest. A symbol the philosopher and musician Sun Ra used in his Afro-futuristic processions. To me, it indicates something specific: It reminds me how dreams can generate moments of liberation - even if the dreams themselves aren’t realized. I didn’t speak about this, neither with Esra nor with Bettina. Yet, when they started extending those symbolist sun stripes on my skin, I felt they had long grasped the idea. The process of painting had some of that glittering curiosity I connect with that symbol. Now, I was lying on the kitchen floor, like a subject of surgery, and since I couldn’t actually see the painting, I just concentrated on what I felt. Slightly tickling, slightly pressing pens, each in its own volume and speed, one carefully precise, the other one assertive and quick. Line to line Esra and Bettina pushed themselves closer to a meticoulous master plan of how the result should look like. Watching them work is special, something I rarely witness: people whose openness runs parallel with their sincerity. In fact, out "Sunday Matinee" was mostly love. Love in the sense that Ortega Gasset anticipated: of actively going towards its object. Love has direction. After this experience It sounds a bit ironic to me that Ortega writes about love as something like a surgical act. After the shoot I didn’t immediately wash off what turned out like a tribal cave drawing. I wanted to see people's reaction, tell the story, hear them ask, almost scared: "It's not real, right"? If you get the chance, you should go see Esra and Bettina work. It's really the opposite of a penalty - it’s a gift. 

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