Weserburg

Dusk; and down by the river drifts a gentle breeze. I walk a while along the Weser towards the Weserburg, with my collar up, my hands deep in my jacket pockets and my shoulders hunched.

And as I stroll along the river esplanade I glance into the water and notice a patch of warm red light. From the rippling on the surface, it seems to be constantly in motion, like a restless flickering before my eyes. Let us imagine that is how it began – with an image in the water, a reflection.

And thus – suddenly jolted out of this mysterious viscous current I have been lingering aimlessly in – I am following a red reflection, a sign, a secret trail that will lead me to the Weserburg, Bremen’s Museum of Modern Art.

And now here I am, in front of the gable of the Weserburg façade, with Sol LeWitt’s imposing white wall sculpture behind me and Ulrich Rückriem’s two massive granite blocks to my left and right, and I look up spellbound to the threemetre high neon installation by the feminist artist Monica Bonvicini, which outshines these monumental sculptures with cheerful ease.

Power Joy Humor Resistance

Four words, soft-edged and hastily written, as if quickly typed into a mobile phone before the moment evaporates, the resistance wanes, the joy has passed and sinks like a shard of glass to the river bed.
Glowing words. Rather, images of light in red.
Red for lust, for joy.
For life.
For struggle. Shame. Rage.

As if the words are glowing, when you look longer – dazzling and piercing at one and the same time. To lose myself in there, to follow the fragments, the slivers and scraps of thought and the spaces behind and between the words. Power Joy Humor Resistance

Sense the energy. The power source in red, where strength and resistance conjoin with joy and humour.

An incentive for me. A message. Encouraging me to act, perhaps.

But basically enchantment. Epiphany.

For in some mysterious way, everything I see is linked and interlocked: Monica Bonvicini’s neon writing on the gable, the red source of light, the architecture of the Weserburg and its gleaming red setting with the distinctive works of art.

And when, soon, I turn towards the Old Town and gaze into the water from the Bürgermeister Smidt Bridge, I will presumably look on the dancing reflexes on the river’s surface in a different light and perhaps sense a special gleam in my eyes, like some reverberation of sunken images.

It is as if I first had to look both higher to the gable of the Weserburg façade and deeper into the river to discover where these red landscapes lie behind my eyelids.

Translated by Ian Watson