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3x3 for the gallery – The adventure of exhibiting

Updated: May 20

For years, I watched enviously as others fulfilled their dreams – writing books, producing comics, setting up their own business as an illustrator or celebrating success as an artist. Until I realised during the pandemic that this couldn't go on and I started to give art more space in my life.


Since then, I've been following my path step by step and fulfilling this long-cherished dream. It is the beginning of a journey to express myself creatively and freely and to share the results – preferably live and in colour, at exhibitions.


Having already had the good fortune to present drawings at the historical museum in Frankfurt am Main and acrylic paintings at the Museumsuferfest, I finally had the opportunity to exhibit in a gallery.

 

The exhibition series "The newcomers"

 

Every year, the BBK Frankfurt – the professional association of visual artists – gives its new members the opportunity to perform together in its own premises in Frankfurt, to introduce themselves and to celebrate their membership – and this time it was me too.

 

4 weeks before opening: organisation and preparation

 

At our first organisational meeting, we were supported by a current and a former board member from the association. The association provided the flyers for our exhibition and the gallery – we had to organise the rest ourselves. We set opening hours, drew up a supervision plan and a chat group to organize all other topics. I never thought that the time leading up to the exhibition would involve so much coordination and communication. It's like always: if you're not involved yourself, you don't realise how much work is involved.


My design background and aspirations meant that I took care of our social media posts and posters, while others wrote press releases, managed the finances and organised musical accompaniment for the vernissage – including a grand piano for the gallery. And somehow I also slipped into the role of the person who tries to keep track of all the threads, helping and mediating in case of questions. Not entirely unstressful :D



I had also decided very early on that I wanted to show nine pictures at once - in a 3x3 grid. The crux of the matter was that only six pictures had been completed so far. With the fixed deadline breathing down my neck, I had to finish the remaining motifs quickly – a real race against time. It was only a few days before the hanging that I was finally able to seal, sign and frame all the pictures.


Finishing & framing

Kezia series 07-09

 

In what is now the third part of my Kezia series, I have interpreted the songs 07-09 from the album of the same name. These are told from the point of view of the convict, ‘Kezia’. (More about the rest of the series and how it came about in my blog articles here and here).

 

It's about Kezia's inner conflicts, her crime, her femininity and her transience. Dramatic and, in my opinion, visually powerful themes. Song 08 seems like such an accusatory text to the patriarchy that I keep asking myself how the band members, all men aged 18-19 at the time, were able to put something like this on paper.


Kezia series, pictures 07-09

Picture 10 is already in progress and will be completed after the exhibition, as the album has 10 songs. Only after that will I devote myself to new projects.


6 days before opening: water damage in the gallery

 

Just as I was starting to relax because everything was now ready and going its way, the bad news came via Messenger: we had water damage in the gallery basement. Would we even be able to open? Even though I was only following the whole thing from afar (pumping out, appointments with property management and craftsmen, drying attempts), the tension was palpable.

 

2 days before opening: Hanging the pictures

 

It was therefore with mixed feelings that I made my way to the installation of our pictures – we had decided to take another look at the location and, depending on the situation, decide whether we could really open. We all knew that it would have been a disaster to cancel at such short notice, as countless posts and flyers had already been distributed, guests invited, trains and hotels booked. Not to mention all the other commitments that each and every one of us had.


Once on site, we were relieved: everything was in order in the gallery upstairs and we could start our preparations with a clear conscience. Thanks to the valiant cleaning efforts of one of our colleagues, the room was sparkling! (Thank you, Nadja!) The roughest part of the basement had also been done by now, the wet carpet had been removed and a drying machine was doing the rest.


One by one, everyone arrived and we distributed our works around the room. The many expressive works immediately gave us an idea that we were going to create a great and varied exhibition here. When our musician played a sample on the grand piano, I finally had the feeling that everything was going to be alright.

 

So off to the ladders and get to the ropes and nails – a busy hustle and bustle ensued and after a crisp three hours, everything was finally hanging. With mutual support, the exchange of hanging material, smart advice and words of recognition, a nice sense of community was created. The exhibition now became real and tangible – and I was overcome with incredible anticipation!



The time has come: Vernissage & exhibition


With flower-decorated tables, a rich buffet and a pleasing selection of drinks, we finally opened the doors on Friday. It didn't take long for the gallery to be packed with an audience, including some of my friends who had come to support me.


Melissa Klingelhöfer performed her pieces on the grand piano, filling the room with the most beautiful sounds. Afterwards, Maike Kreichgauer hosted the evening and all exhibitors were allowed to briefly introduce themselves and their work. Although I was struggling with my nerves, I also found it nice to be able to provide context for my series of pictures. In the conversations afterwards, this was confirmed to me and I was asked even more about the backgrounds of the paintings – about the album concept, the band and my implementation idea. It was nice that my pictures and their arrangement were so well received.


I also saw satisfied faces among the other exhibitors. At this point, a heartfelt thank you again! None of this would have been possible without so many hands-on participants.


Photos by: Isabel Blessing-Peest, Barbara Walzer
The newcomers of 2023 with board member Maike Kreichgauer. Photo by Barbara Walzer
Some impressions of the exhibition. Works by: Eric Schrade, Rose Marie Modenesi de Broser, Tina Ritter, Ljuba Babenko, Kerstin Stechl, Jindeok Choi

Come by!

 

The exhibition runs until June 9, 2024, every Friday from 5–8 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 2–6 pm. I will be on site during opening hours on May 25 or by request. So feel free to come by and take a look, it's worth it – not just for my contribution!


Where: BBK, Hanauer Landstr. 89, Frankfurt a. M.


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