Working Vacation

When we were planning the trip, I wrote to our friend Thomas Rentmeister in Berlin, and asked how one would go about finding a place to stay with a fast internet connection, so that I could do actual work. He said that he would be gone setting up exhibitions, and that we could stay at his place. It’s a fabulous warehouse/loft/studio space in the Wei├čensee area. We arrived, his girlfriend Bibo was there, as well as Sandro, an artist from Sao Paulo. Our friend Philipp came over as well, bringing a monitor for me to use for working. We stayed in Thomas’ attic bedroom, up a spiral staircase from his enclosed office area. The large space is somewhat austere: the kitchen is tiny, there isn’t a lot of furniture. But there is plenty of room to work, and plenty of light, and Thomas makes large art. Sandro was also spending the week working. He tears layers of accreted posters off neighborhood walls after the rain has softened the glue. Then he picks out the ones which best serve as backgrounds, or visual themes, for his pieces.

Sandro had come to Berlin because a customer wanted pieces made from German posters, and it was cheaper to bring him here than to send the posters and finished art back and forth across the Atlantic. It is, too.

Tuesday and Wednesday were work days for me and for Sandro. Bibo took a bus to join Thomas where he was setting up the exhibition near Bremen. After setting things up to use Avid’s European network connections, access was quite usably fast, and I was able to dive into the problems of the day. Tuesday night Philipp took us all to Zur Haxe, a fairly nearby Bavarian restaurant serving large plates of pork knuckles and potato dumplings. On the way home, Ray’s phone fell onto the backseat of Philipp’s car. I discovered this using Find My iPhone; it was very sweet of him to drive it all the way back. We could have got it tomorrow, but everybody acknowledges now that phones are more important than children, not to leave in the back seat of somebody’s car.

Wednesday Ray and I walked to the corner store, picked up some sausages, and Ray fixed dinner for us all, using up some of the vegetables lying around the house. Sandro had a deadline of Friday to deliver two pieces to a German collector, and realized he really needed to work all night to get them done. When we woke up Thursday, there they were: posters, dimmed by wax, with painted figures in the foreground.