Spontaneous art making at former Nazi grounds


I'd say that I’m a rather sensitive soul. What I mean is that I'm more affected by various stimuli than others; subtle triggers can prompt awe or sadness. Quite often a confusing range of emotions floods my mind, which I can’t shake off for a long time. This is where my art comes into play. In the parallel world of creation, I process these feelings and transform them into art. Everything I take in must be released in one way or another.

Words are often not enough to convey my feelings; therefore most often visual expression is my choice of communication

Last week I visited Nuremberg for the long weekend. Amid the sun-drenched gothic setting, with weeping willows hanging over Pegnitz river, the town was truly charming. The flowering acacia trees, cobbled streets and warm breeze reminded me of home.

One of the places on my to-visit list was obviously art related: the house of beloved Albrecht Dürer. I used to adore his engravings and he actually inspired me to study printmaking. But, you know what, it’s not what I’m going to talk about today. I want to talk about the other place I visited, which was a Nazi Party rallies grounds.

As many of you know Nuremberg held great significance during the Nazi Germany era and some of the architecture remains until today. I didn't go to see the exhibition at the Documentation Centre, just strolled around the grounds not too far from the city centre. Zeppelin Field and the partially completed Congress Hall (twice the size of Rome’s Colosseum) are located in a gorgeous green park full of shimmering lakes, happy families of ducks and locals basking in the sun. Somehow those contradicting images felt too overbearing. Unforgivable inhumane acts were plotted exactly where I was standing. A weird mix of feelings rushed through my heart, as I simply couldn't imagine the scale of horror that had happened during the Third Reich rule. How can so much beauty still exist here? It felt almost like the land marked by a horrid history should be barren. You know the image I have in mind: the apocalyptic flat ground of dry sand and burning sun. Too many films, I guess.

So, without much thinking, standing where I was, I started making art with whatever I could find. Dry reeds, some funky-looking grass, clover flowers and fresh leaves. The almost white dusty path was just a perfect background for my spontaneous composition. I spend some time working out the balance until the point it felt much better. People cycling past me, turning heads to sneak a peek. Someone stopped to check out my work without making any noises.

After this random act of art making an important question resurfaced. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, but I feel I have to explore it more. How do I make optimistic art despite all the bad things happening around? Why am I being so tenacious to spread words of courage and hope, wishing that more and more people would follow and lose their fear? I’m going to think about all these questions and explain in the near feature. And I will definitely go back to making more art outside, in nature. Where it has its roots.