Did Vincent van Gogh have any girlfriends

A long night of exotic pleasures, strange life in distant lands

By Antje Allroggen

To this day we admire Paul Gaugin's pictures, but we also know that this world of happy tropics never existed. (imago / United Archives)

For the painter Paul Gauguin, the island of Tahiti was an exotic paradise. Again and again she inspired him for his painting. Musicians like Claude Debussy or Georges Bizet also used influences from non-European countries in their works.

From a purely linguistic point of view, exotic means nothing else than something that is on the outside, that comes from distant countries, such as living beings, objects, smells, memories, music or images. Simply everything that is outside of "our everyday, present consciousness". This is how Victor Segalen, French writer, ethnologist, doctor and collector of the last sketches by Paul Gauguin put it. His dream of exoticism was Tahiti. Place of his longed for refuge, his supposed paradise, which he captured on canvas in rich colors and shapes. To this day we admire his exotic pictures, but we also know that this world of happy tropics never existed.

Musicians like Claude Debussy or Georges Bizet were early admirers of exotic influences. The Long Night tells of exotic, broken dreams, but also of successful little escapes to paradises that are still possible today.

The exotic as an emotional attractant

Hilke Thode-Arora, Munich ethnologist: "The exotic is of course a very strong emotional lure that picks up people. So I think we are all not free from the exotic. As a scientist, I, of course, enjoy a certain amount of the exotic, even if I know exactly that I have to question that, and I'll question that too. Exoticism has something to do with feelings. "
Dr. Hilke Thode-Arora, Head of the Oceania Department, Advisor for Provenance Research, Museum Five Continents in Munich.

The Five Continents Museum in Munich, formerly the State Museum for Ethnology, was founded in 1862 as the first ethnological museum in Germany. The collections of things of everyday life, ritual objects and works of art, which are kept here and continuously expanded, tell of the cultural richness of humanity. They build bridges from the past to current events and open doors to other ways of life and perspectives. Within the diverse Munich museum landscape, the museum offers unique access to the cultural wealth of people all over the world.

The sixth world exhibition in Paris in 1867

Our search for exotic initially leads into the 19th century. In 1867 the sixth world exhibition took place in Paris. First and foremost, she probably just wanted to entertain the French population.

A device for acoustic-mechanical recording and reproduction of sound. An improved bicycle and a huge light installation that illuminated the Eiffel Tower - which was built especially for this world exhibition - in the colors of the French tricolor. In addition, a separate village had been recreated at the exhibition using materials that had been brought in from the respective countries. The village was supposed to bring the entire cultures of the world to France. African and Asian countries were also represented, which was a rarity at the time. Craftsmen and artists from distant regions were even embarked for the exhibition in Paris. They showed their skills in the individual pavilions. Insights into foreign cultures with people who were presented to exhibition visitors like museum objects. It is only today that one begins to face this appropriation of foreign cultural assets intensively. At the world exhibition there was even a big top, in which 28 Surinamans were put on display. And if you were a self-respecting exhibition visitor, a chauffeur in uniform drove you through the exhibition rooms with a fan and a parasol on a so-called "roll chair" - a chair with three wheels.

Mario von Lüttichau, former curator at the Folkwang Museum in Essen: "From all the French colonies, from Africa of course, the villages have built up and work there. And dissect and do such a workflow. Of course, everything is somehow made for the travelers. So lived the people of course not. But it was put there like a performance, like a theater. "

Until 2017 he worked as a curator at the Folkwang Museum in Essen. Its founder, Karl Ernst Osthaus, made the decision to found a new type of museum after a trip to Tunisia in 1899. Numerous works of art from the period of Impressionism, Expressionism and Surrealism came to the collection from his travels to distant countries. Including key works by Van Gogh and Gauguin. For the artists of the late 19th century, the world exhibition was an important source of inspiration.

Gauguin's exotic counterworld

Gauguin had also visited the world exhibition. A year earlier he had followed Theo van Gogh's suggestion that his brother should join a kind of artist community in Arles, France. An attempt that had ended in a total fiasco. So when Gauguin was a guest at the exhibition, he was looking for new artistic inspiration. And was really enthusiastic about the colonial department of the world exhibition:

Mario von Lüttichau: "He was fascinated by the people. But of course also by the architecture. And of course he has already introduced himself, read about it, etc. And if he went there, he could immerse himself in this world and perhaps in its normal everyday life, not take part in this exposure, but in normal everyday life. "

"And then maybe there was the desire in him to leave civilization and immerse himself in a world. It must have been something really great. People write enthusiastically what they have there. You don't have to worry about anything. It is growing everything in the mouth. Everything is there: wonderful women, wonderful models. You always have beautiful weather and always have beautiful people around you. "

Exotic. Escape into the distance. Lush colors. Soothing light. Search for beauty. Shining sun.

For Gauguin, Tahiti is a kind of counterworld to his dreary and expensive life, which he leads in Paris as the father of five children.

In 1787 the French writer wrote the much-noticed in his day Roman Paul et Virginie. An unequal pair of lovers who overcome social differences in Mauritius, the then Île de France, but who ultimately die. For the first time, classical material was played in the tropics, which here, in Rousseau's sense, are the foil for a virtuous soul. Saint-Pierre sees the north of Europe threatened by the decay of customs. But here, in the tropics of the southern hemisphere, he finds the eternally longed for Garden of Eden:

"Paul and Virginie had neither clocks nor calendars nor books on time, history and philosophy. The periods of their lives followed those of nature. They knew from the shade of the trees what time of day they were and the seasons of the year when they were Blossoms or fruit. "

"Paul and Virginie" - Read about it at Project Gutenberg

From the foreword: I have set myself great things for this little work. I tried to depict a soil and vegetation that is vastly different from that of Europe. Our poets have long enough let their lovers rest on the banks of the stream, in the meadows and under the beech leaves. Mine had to sit down on the shore of the sea, at the foot of the rocks, in the shade of the coconut palms, the bananas, and the blossoming lemon trees. The other half of the world only lacks Theocrites and Virgiles: otherwise we would have long since had at least as interesting paintings of her as of our own country. I know that tasteful travelers have given us enthusiastic descriptions of several islands in the South Seas; but the customs of their inhabitants, and even more so those of the Europeans who end up there, often spoil the landscapes. I wish to combine the beauty of tropical nature with the moral beauty of a small society. In doing so, I intended to produce the proof of several great truths, e.g. B. from the fact that our happiness is based solely on a change in accordance with nature and virtue.

Film adaptation of PAUL UND VIRGINIE - Trailer on Youtube

Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre grew up in modest circumstances in Le Havre, received a decent schooling and was "infected" by literature when he read Robinso Crusoe. His uncle, a captain, is said to have taken him to the West Indies around 1749. Continue reading

Pierre Loti's successful novel in the tropics

The French bestselling author Pierre Loti also had his second successful one Novel "The Wedding of Loti" in the tropics, more precisely in Tahiti. He had made a stop there as a French naval officer in 1872, where Queen Pamaré IV named him after the tropical flower - Loti. The novel consists mainly of descriptions of the young Rarahu. Loti fell madly in love with the young, underage girl during his stay on the island.

"Rarahu owned two muslin dresses. One white, the other pink, which she wore alternately over her blue and yellow pareo to go to the Protestant missionaries' mass in Papeete. On those days she wore her hair in two very thick braids A large hibiscus flower was fastened above her ear. This fiery red gave her bronze cheeks a transparent pallor. "

When Van Gogh heard from his friend Gauguin that he was looking for a new place to paint, he recommended that Gauguin read Pierre Loti. In the novel, Gauguin reads about Tahitians who lived in a peaceful world. He is intrigued by how Loti describes the young Rarahu he will later marry:

"Rarahu had reddish black eyes. An exotic promise, of caressing sweetness, like kittens when they are caressed. Their noses were narrow and fine, as you can see in the faces of the Arabs.Her mouth was a little wider and more open than the classic models and with clearly contoured corners of the mouth. Her hair smelled of sandalwood and hung the full length on her bare shoulders, which were a tan in color. A bright, shimmering color that can also be seen on the terracotta figures of the ancient Etruscans. "

Pierre Loti, 1850 to 1923, actually Louis Marie Julien Viaud, was a French naval officer and writer. His innumerable novels include a number of bestsellers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Continue reading

Who was Pierre Loti anyway?
His real name was Julien Viaud. He was born in 1850 as the son of a seafaring family in the western French town of Rochefort. As a child he dreamed of faraway places: his older brother Gustave, a marine doctor, often told him about his travels and exotic countries. But he died young during a sea voyage on the Indian Ocean. Inspired and in memory of his brother, Julien also decided to attend naval school and became an officer. At 18 he began to travel the world and sailed to North and South America, the Pacific Islands and Africa, among others.

The oriental paintings by Delacroix

Gauguin is increasingly suffering from the conditions in his country. Academic painting has come to an end. And Gauguin paints himself as a yellow Christ nailed to the cross. He gives nothing to social progress. Rather, the oriental images of a Delacroix or Ingres fuel his search for paradise. The color theorist Matthias Krüger from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich knows that the palette of a Delacroix also influences the coloring of a Gauguin:

Matthias Krüger: "Delacroix is ​​actually the great role model for many. His trip to Morocco is described in the literature in such a way that he discovered the color there, and many, many artists, including Matisse, take him as a great example they follow want to and then set off for North Africa to learn color there. So - there are also many artists who go there to paint the foreign customs and traditions, i.e. more artists with an ethnographic interest, but not one There are just these artists who pay homage to color so much, that is not entirely unimportant for modernity, because, so to speak, this topos of liberation from color from its attachment to the object, which will then culminate in abstract painting, too has its beginnings there too. "

Stéphane Mallarmé - exotic. Departure into new worlds

Sea breeze

The meat is sad, alas! I've read all the books
Flee! Flee there! I feel: birds are drunk
Between the unknown foam and the sky
To be!
Nothing of the eyes, not even the old gardens
will hold tight to this heart that plunges into the sea
O nights! Still the deserted glow of my lamp
On the blank paper, protected by the white,
Also the young woman who breastfeeds the baby.
I will drive! Steamer, cradle your mastwork,
Lift the anchor for an exotic nature!
A weariness tormented by cruel hopes
Believe in the handkerchiefs last farewell!
And, maybe, the masts are what storms upon them
Of those whom a wind bends over shipwrecks
Lost, without a mast, without a mast, still fertile
Islands ...
And yet, my heart, hear the sailors' song!

Here, too, dream - the escape into an exotic natural paradise - and reality - the bourgeois narrowness - face each other. However, they are no longer a contradiction. Rather, Mallarmé is concerned with language. He frees the verse from its constraints and arrives at a completely new lyrical language. His words no longer denote anything unambiguous. They sound, maybe even create colors, result in a rhythm beyond what is expected. He himself once said of his artistic intention that he wanted to depict "not the thing, but the effect". At the end of the 19th century, the pioneers of modernism felt closely connected to the exotic. It becomes a vehicle for new images, new words and new sounds to create another world in which art and life merge.

Exotic. Departure into new worlds. Break with old rules and conventions. Artistic freedom. A new aesthetic that soars into new dimensions.

Claude Debussy - Prelude à l´après-midi d´un faune

While Gauguin dreams of a second departure for the South Seas, another celebrates great success in the same year: on December 22, 1894, Claude Debussy's symphonic poem Prélude à l´après-midi d´un faune is premiered in Paris. Here, too, the model for Debussy's symphonic poem was a poem by Malarmé:

These nymphs, I want to immortalize them.
So bright,
Her light incarnate, it flutters in the air,
muffled by leafy sleep.
Do i love a dream
My doubt, piled up from the night before, it ends
In many a delicate branch that, still the real forest
Stayed, shows, oh, that I indulged myself all alone
As a triumph the ideal lack of roses -
Let's think.

Armando Merino: "The tonal system of European music of the 300 years before was somehow exhausted ..."

Explains Armando Merino. Conductor with a broad repertoire but a clear focus on contemporary music and artistic director of the Munich Ensemble Blauer Reiter.

Armando Merino: "This legendary piece by Debussy - it was extremely revolutionary. Even Pierre Boulez once described it as the awakening of new music - not new, modern music."

"The beginning of the piece by Debussy, Prélude à l´après-midi d´un faune, it is no longer tonally established. No longer clear. So there have to be a few bars before we actually realize, aha, where we are, Yes."

Like Gauguin, Debussy also played a key role in inspiring the Paris World Exhibition of 1889 to devote himself to the cultures of foreign countries. Debussy influenced Debussy above all the sound of a Javanese gamelan ensemble, which he met for the first time at the exhibition.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Gauguin and Debussy processed influences from non-European countries in their works in order to give Western art a new aesthetic claim: It was to be substantially renewed through the foreign and exotic. The dream of a total work of art as a universal culture is closely linked to this idea. So it's about the relationship between Occident and Orient, felt at the time as a tension between center and periphery, and the self and the other, which we now want to pursue.

The allure of Maori music

Victor Segalen: "For a long time this resulted in a roar of beautiful, hoarse or rather soft tones, rough or soft cadences, and an incessant, monotonous singsong: every moment of sensual life had its own singing, its own way of speaking own dance: one came together, one celebrated in the midst of these voices. "

The Maori chants also appear so appealing to Segalen because they were almost extinct at the beginning of the 20th century when he was in the South Seas. Segalen blames the arrival of the "whites" for this. At first they were probably enthusiastic about the sweet music, writes Segalen. First and foremost James Cook, who had already discovered on his second voyage to the South Seas that music was of great importance to the Tahitians:

"Immediately they are flooded with songs, choral chants in precise and complex time measures, unexpected melodies and confusing intervals. Around them, shoulders, torso and hips shake. When it is a party with happy ceremonies, everything mixes and rushes."

Victor Segalen dedicated the little book on Maori music to the musician Claude Debussy. Both were friends and shared their enthusiasm for strange, atonal sounds. Segalen's influence on artists of his time should not be underestimated. To this day it is hardly known that he wrote a libretto with Debussy for an opera, which, however, was never realized.

Exotism as the aesthetic of the diverse

Paris, December 11, 1908.

Introduction: The concept of exoticism. The diverse.
First, clarify the preliminary questions. Throw overboard everything that the word exoticism contains in terms of the abused and the stale. To free it from its threadbare clothes: from the palm trees and camels, the pith helmet, the black skin and the yellow sun; take the opportunity to get rid of those who use them with simple-minded talkativeness. So no Bonnetain, no Ajalbert, no prospectus for Cook's travels and no hasty, verbose travelers ... Oh Hercules, what a disgusting preparatory work!

And then very soon cite and define the feeling of exoticism, which is ultimately nothing more than the concept of being different, the perception of the diverse, the knowledge that something is not your own self, and the ability to be exotic, i.e. the ability to to be understood differently, "wrote Segalen in his little book about Aesthetics of the diverse, which defines the exotic here by distinguishing it from the familiar. The exotic is the other, the foreign. The treatise is known to only a few and has remained fragmentary.

Other artists also made long journeys at the beginning of the 20th century, during which they studied and absorbed the influences of foreign cultures. The French composer Maurice Delage, for example, was so enthusiastic about Debussy's music that he learned to play the cello and went on trips that took him to India. Impressions from these ventures not only inspired him to create his own pieces of music, they also influenced, at least indirectly, the compositions of an Igor Stravinsky, with whom Delage was friends.

Travel to distant countries, sources of inspiration. Appropriation of foreign influences. New art experiences.

Emil Nolde and his interest in the exotic

The German painter Emil Nolde has been interested in the exotic all his life. Long before he sets off on his great journey, he begins to collect exotic goods; small figures from Europe and other continents. Asian and African masks were added later. From 1913 to 1914 he finally had the opportunity to set off for the South Seas with his wife Ada.With a clear mandate: because he is a non-official member of the "medical-demographic German New Guinea Expedition" organized by the Reich Colonial Office in Berlin. The aim of the expedition is to advance research into the health conditions in the colonies. Even before his South Seas experience, Nolde was searching for the original in art. He encountered the art of the so-called primitive peoples as early as 1910 in the Berlin Ethnographic Museum.

Mario von Lüttichau: "Nolde painted vases that he found in the Ethnographic Museum in Berlin."

In the museum he made more than 120 drawings of many sculptures. They later form the basis for many exotic still lifes that Nolde painted after his return to Germany. He writes about the people in New Guinea:

"They were wild, with their mighty hair, with their jewelry made of shells and bones on their arms, around their necks, or hanging in their ears; some had a crooked white bone stuck through their noses. It was cannibals, these people. For An uncanny term for us Europeans. We looked spellbound and stood crowded. "

Nolde sees the "savage" as noble and unadulterated, as "one" with nature and "part of the whole of the universe". In 1912 he even wanted to write his own book about the "Artistic Expressions of Primitive Peoples". First, Nolde paints what simply fascinates and aesthetically pleases him in New Guinea: people and still lifes, explains Mario von Lüttichau:

Mario von Lüttichau: "With Nolde it's a completely open story. He is enthusiastic about these motifs and paints landscapes and stormy lakes. Everything he finds there, and the people too, yes. And some of them are very good Funny. These Palau boys, like the ones sitting there, with big round eyes where he emphasizes the lightness of the eye and they then seem so out and partly blue, it's crazy how he does it, but with devotion. "

Exotic animals as a demonstration of power

Not only art objects were popular trophies that were brought home from colonized countries and found their way into the collections of large museums without being asked, exotic animals have also played an important role since the colonization of foreign countries in order to demonstrate their own claims to power: is legendary the collection of exotic animals of Louis XIV. In the menagerie, which he had built especially for the animals in Versailles, you could see rare birds from the tropics, camels, an elephant and a rhinoceros. Ludwig's finance minister Colbert, who primarily promoted French colonial policy, brought many exotic animals home with him from these countries. Similar to how he had cheap raw materials delivered to France. Colbert even hired his own agent to buy foreign animals.

One hundred years before Gauguin's departure for the South Seas, he was finally in Paris the world's first scientifically managed zoo was founded. The so-called Ménagerie des Jardin des Plantes, located on the Rive Gauche in the 5th arrondissement, was founded in 1793. In the same year, the decision was made to either hand over exotic animals to the Ménagerie of Versailles or to leave them to the naturalists of the Jardin des Plantes, who should stuff the animals for research purposes. Contrary to the regulation, the scientists let the animals live.

"So it's not just about an exotic spectacle for the public, but really also about a scientific foundation of zoology as well as paleontology within the framework of the Museum des arts national d'histoire naturelle. There was just the menagerie, and this scientific facility with it the museum, that was actually the point where we really see a scientific institution anchored in a botanical garden. That is what makes this Jardin des Plantes so special simply in the whole history of zoology and paleontology as serious sciences ", says Isabel Hufschmidt, provenance researcher at the Museum Folkwang in Essen. Some time ago she took a closer look at the depiction of animals in the Paris Jardin des Plantes.

Human and animal, civilization and wilderness

The caged animals also included a black panther, which became world famous through the poem by Rainer Maria Rilke from 1902:

The Panther
In the Jardin des Plantes, Paris

His gaze is from the passing of the bars
Got so tired that he can no longer hold anything.
It feels like there are a thousand sticks to him
And behind a thousand bars there is no world.

The smooth gait of supple, strong steps,
that turns in the smallest of circles,
is like a dance of strength around a center,
in which there is a stunned great will.

Only sometimes does the pupil's curtain slide
Silently up. Then a picture goes in
goes through the limbs tense silence -
and cease to be in the heart. "

The previously prevalent contrast between humans and animals, civilization and wilderness, between the familiar and the exotic no longer applies here. The panther takes on almost human features and seems to have something like a soul. The panther - also a metaphor for the human being, one's own imprisonment.

Otto Müller - the foreign in itself

So what are we looking for in a foreign country? The own, well-known or the new, unknown? And how much of the unknown did the society in which the artists of the early 20th century lived? The expressionist painter Otto Müller was fascinated by the exotic theme not because it held unknown experiences in store for him, but because he himself contained a lot of foreign things. Mario von Lüttichau:

"One who is very important, I think, is Otto Müller, whose origins, similar to Gauguin's, are puzzling. It is always said that his mother was a gypsy. She comes from deep Silesia and is very exotic He reads a lot about it and is later also called the gypsy miller. The gypsy painter. Since the beginning of 18/19 he has been dealing with people who look different. He also had a dark complexion himself, you have him yourself always thought he was a gypsy, he dressed like that. "

Müller developed an ecstatic style without being harshly critical of society. That makes him suspect even for his painter friends. His watercolor "Girl Standing Between Trees" was later put on the list of degenerate art by the National Socialists.

Emil Nolde's position against "mixing"

In September 1914, Nolde had returned to Germany. At home he now devoted himself to still lifes. Dolls, masks and idols. Peaceful pictures, still lifes against the war. In 1920 Nolde became a Danish citizen and later moved to Seebüll. There the artist wrote his autobiography. His "Years of Struggle" was published in the mid-1930s. Nolde's earlier fascination for foreign cultures can no longer be seen in these records. While the color used to be the focus of his interest, it is now "purity". Nolde advocates racial purity and positions himself against "mixing": "Even in art, racial mixing gives rise to adversities," he literally points out. On the other hand, Nolde finally sets "German art" and speaks out in favor of every ambiguity in art. He writes about it:

"It doesn't matter whether it is Chinese-Greek, exotic-Aryan, Japanese-European or French-German.

While the pioneers of modernity tried to dissolve the opposites of cultures and conjured up the unity of art and life, the National Socialists consciously re-established a link to the premodern, in which their own culture understood itself by delimiting foreign cultures.

The exotic on the plates

In the post-war period, things were initially bad for the exotic in Germany. Traveling to distant lands was unaffordable, and you had enough to do with your own life. The economic miracle was not yet in sight. But of course there was a great need for an intact world and a little pleasure after the difficult years. The hits from this time reflect people's wishes. This got the record production going again. Many of the lyrics of the hits and songs of that time told of a lot of nonsense and a lot of exoticism.

Harry Belafonte, Banana Boat Song on Youtube

A huge hit by Harry Belafonte in 1956. His album Calypso was the first LP to sell more than a million times. Tropical fruits like bananas - sung here most impressively - were particularly popular in the post-war period; probably because they had to be done without them for so long. When it comes to eating, people were keen to experiment: foreign foods and spices were very welcome. In this way, the exotic came back on the plate.

Toast Hawai

The Hawaiian toast brought at least a touch of the exotic to the otherwise well-bourgeois post-war dish: pineapple and cocktail cherries awakened the longing for the big wide world, the toast brought the dish into connection with America, and the boiled ham ensured that it was sufficiently down to earth. Clemens Wilmenrod first presented the recipe on German television in 1955. As a Norman who immigrated to Germany, Dumaine finally took the liberty of making his very own toast, Hawai Toast Normandto create: Toasted bread with salted butter, ham and Boskop apples.

Jean-Marie Dumaine: "Briefly fried in butter, with sugar, lightly caramelized, then nice crème fraîche on top, a nice slice of Allgäu Emmentaler on top, and that in the oven. A real treat. Easy to make and good."

Enjoyment of the alienation

In the 50s and 60s, the desire for alienation grows. New magazines hit the market with new recipes teeming with American ketchup, mixed pickles and cocktail cherries. Colorful parasols hang in the glasses and are reminiscent of the easy life in tropical countries. In the fashion magazines, too, the models tell of a different time. Unfamiliar rooms enable a short escape from the dreary everyday life. In the 1960s, it went into space and exotic places, above all to Brasilia, the exotic place of that time par excellence.But it's not just the setting that takes the reader to distant countries, the fashion itself also quotes exotic motifs and even creates a new, exotic style of its own in the 1960s, explains the Zurich art historian Bärbel Küster: "There is a series by Yves Saint Laurent, where he used a lot of macramé, for example, which was the introduction of the ethnic look, which incorporated African elements. In this series of the ethnic look, models like Twiggy appeared and were photographed. Back then in the 60s Years, with televisions, with signs of modernity. So they were linked in the 60s. "

Longing for the exotic in the globalized world

Non-European cultures are not only a source of inspiration to enrich your own culture, but also as a source of equal value. If the foreign is no longer what we perceive to be exotic - is there still room for a longing for the exotic in our globalized world?

Mario von Lüttichau: "I don't know if that isn't just a change of place. Where you are left in peace. Where you are far away from everyday civilization. Which is very strong here. You are constantly bothered by someone today technical things. Especially when you use all this social media. So be it Facebook, be it. And then if I change my location, then I think it's a trip to a - that can't be compared to what Gauguin wanted. "

"There are these atolls for a lot of people who think. They are looking for atolls. Well, I can understand it all the more today that people just run away today. As with artists. Heribert Ottersbach, I think he teaches in Leipzig, and up in Sweden has he's his studio somewhere in the country. Get out. Quiet. I think that's the most important thing. It's a bit exotic. But I wouldn't call it that. I'd rather call it escape or a change of scenery. "

Armando Merino: "There is still space nowadays when we can get everything so quickly with our cell phones. There is still space to go to a concert to experience something new. You can like it or not, understood or have not understood. But for me the most important thing is that it moves us. And it excites us. And that is lively. I don't experience a lot of liveliness in everyday life. "

"You can play in other places where the audience is much closer. The audience as a collective during the performance, I mean. There is an energy there. I can't really put it into words, but when the audience really listens and this Back and forth communication, you can feel it. And at several concerts by the Blauer Reiter concert ensemble, we have it again and again. Music is a return. "

Exotic today

Exoticism today: resonance spaces in which, according to the sociologist Hartmut Rosa, something vibrates again. Escape from the networked world. The search for a new liveliness. Longing for flying tomatoes and a little irony.

The more the globalized world is interlinked, the more European and non-European cultures merge, the smaller the difference between wilderness and civilization becomes. Living and cultural spaces converge. Man seems to have mastered all of this. Perhaps in the future it will be the task of art to create new spaces: places of possibility in which the coexistence between humans and animals is re-explored. The longing for exotic experiences has retained its charm. Marcel Proust, an aesthetic border crosser with a lot of sympathy for exotic pleasures, once put it this way: "Longing makes things bloom."