Giethoorn

Giethoorn is called the Venice of the Netherlands. If so, it is a very rural Venice. Old Farmhouses line the canal, which serves as Main street. Most are used as accomodation for tourists. In summer the canals are filled with excursion boats and the foot paths with lightly dressed tourists. In winter everything is closed. The local band “de flagellanten” play in the last pub which stays open, and the only open hotel has plenty of space. On a nice November day this is the time to come here.

JR – “I own the largest gallery in the world: the walls of the city”

While spending his nights roaming the backstreets of Paris as a teenager, JR realized that his skills were insufficient to become a graffiti artist. After he found a cheap camera in the metro he started taking photos, which he printed and glued to the walls of Paris. To mark these spots for the time after the paper of the photos had disappeard he surrounded them with a frame of red spraypaint. These highly illegal activities became sanctioned after he drew the attention of then President of France, Hollande. Today his art projects and installations have extended to all continents and he lives in New York. The Kunsthalle in Munich organised a fascinating exhibition.

This early picture of JR shows one of his friends with a film camera.
JR took pictures of the people of the poor and delapitated suburbs of Paris. The pictures were glued onto the inside walls of appartment buildings to be demolished. Upon demolition, the photos became visible to the outside world
In Kenia, JR printed pictures of the inhabitants of a slum on plastic film which was used as cover for the leaking roofs of the shacks of the slum.
In the project “wrinkles of the city” JR photographed old inhabitants of cities around the world like Shanghai, Berlin, Los Angeles or Havanna and recorded their stories in an attempt to draw attention to the changes affecting these people
In another project JR put together hundreds of pictures of inhabitants of, for example, New York or San Francisco. All were asked to present themselves in a typical pose and record a story. The recorded stories are part of the installation and could be followed during the exhibition via smartphone
After the border fence to Mexico was built JR glued a huge photo of a boy onto a wooden panel on the Mexican side of the border. After one month the panel was taken down and transformed into a table to celebrate a huge lunch on both sides of the border

“The essence of photography is to immortalize faces” JR

Merry Christmas

Of all the christmas markets in Germany, the one in N├╝rnberg is probably the oldest and the most famous. The market surrounded by some historic monuments on the Hauptmarkt goes back to the 17th century. Each year, the market is opened by the speech of the Christkind, a girl from one of the local schools selected for that job. Here are some impressions from this “city of market stalls”.

Santa Claus

Traditionally, the children of the Netherlands get their presents on the eve of december 5th. Already weeks before, Santa Claus – in the Netherlands called Sinta Klaas – roams through the shopping zones and his helpers, called black pete – zwarte piet in dutch – hand out sweets to the little kids. However, since some years, black pete is seen as a symbol of racism and this type of celebration not only is controversial, but has led to riots between followers of tradition and opponents of colonialism. The appearance of a zwarte piet brass band now is seen as a provocation.