berlin trip

finally time is right to write about the berlin trip, this will most likely be a long post because amazing things happened in berlin!
Calle and me were there between the 9th and 13th june.
i kept a diary while there and so i’ll copy/reference it for this post. :)

us in the plane

thursday june 10th 2010
i met Marina today!
there is so much to write down, i don’t know where to start. i want to remember it all!
Calle and me arrived here yesterday on the 9th, it’s crazy it feels like a week ago already. it seems we are here while the first heat wave is happening, it was sooo hot today. Calle is so great, he gets the U- and S-Bahnsystem so well, he always knows which line to take to get to our preferred destination.
first we went to Brandenburger Tor, there were dressed up people, among others there was a storm trooper from star wars, we were dying in regular clothing, i don’t know how that guy survived the heat in his plastic looking suit.

we walked through the Tor and the to the Reichstag where a marching music in full uniform was playing. the waiting line to go up to the Glaskuppel of the Reichstag was very long and it was so hot that we decided to skip it. walked back around to the Brandenburger Tor, kissed under it ♥ and then drove to Hauptbahnhof to buy our lunch, big baguette sandwiches. we then realized it was getting closer to the time for the Sneak Peak at Strychnin gallery (4 – 6 pm) so we drove there getting off at Samariterstrasse.
asked someone on the way if we were walking in the right direction and indeed we were. finally after looking for somewhere to sit we decided to just eat our sandwiches while standing, no benches in sight (this was something i noticed in Berlin, they don’t have a lot of benches, or maybe we were just always looking in the wrong places).
after “inhaling” our lunch we walked on towards where we thought the gallery must be and actually found it after some looking around. also found the flower store some blocks further from the gallery as i knew i wanted to bring Marina a flower to congratulate her, and i had checked google maps at home for the nearest flower store. was so happy that i actually found it, and we went there first looking for the perfect flower.
i had something white orchid-like in mind but they did not have this, so i finally went for a beautiful deep red rose. the woman in the store added some nice “grass”, you know this long slim kind, and i asked her to add such a thingy with some water in it, in case there wouldn’t be any vases.

then went with my rose back to the gallery and were actually in time. were a little shy, the door was open, but finally we went in. oh my, i got glimpses of new dolls lining the walls. went to the desk and introduced ourselves to the woman behind it, who turned out to be Elizabeth. it was lovely meeting her after having talked to her over email before. she immediately looked at us and asked if we were thirsty, we gladly accepted the softdrinks, they were called aloha and were fruity and nice and cool, life saving in this heat.
she also asked if the flower was for Marina and said she’ll find a vase and that i can put it on the desk, Marina would be arriving later as she was busy right then.

now Calle and me started walking around to look at the dolls. it was simply overwhelming to be in this room with all these new girls Marina had made and most of them kept secret. i also hadn’t seen the preview pictures of them online, and i’m quite glad i didn’t, it was amazing to see them for the first time in person.
the gallery was empty except for Graham running around fixing stuff, Yasha walking outside the gallery being on the phone constantly, Elizabeth doing online stuff at the desk and there might have been one or two other people fixing and setting up stuff. i asked Elizabeth if Ilona was going to come, and she said yes but she did not know when exactly. i asked for permission to take photos and then started taking full shots and close-ups of each doll.

the feeling i had seeing each one is indescribable, the beauty of them overwhelmed me. i had to think sometimes to properly realize that i really was there and this wasn’t a dream.
the dolls were on their little shelves, some posed standing and some in a sitting or kneeling position. there were no glass or plexiglass boxes on them yet, at some point Elizabeth unwrapped those on the sofa in the middle. there were no descriptions of the dolls on the walls yet so i did not know their names or stories, i only knew Cathedral.

after i had taken photos of them all i kept going around looking at each of them. i also took a tour in the back rooms called “the vault” so see the other art pieces of Wendy Froud, and Virginie Ropars. Sasha Petrova’s pieces were not up yet and several pieces of the other two artist weren’t up yet either, and there were big well packed boxes in some places, so i realized things were being set up here. (Graham was running about)

several times Elizabeth came to tell me that Marina will be a little later, but it wasn’t as if i wanted to leave anyway. ;)
then, i think it must have been around 5 pm, Marina and Chad came. i was already overwhelmed seeing all the new dolls, so when i found myself in front of Marina i was even more overwhelmed, i think i had tears in my eyes because it felt just so unreal and amazing to meet her, the person who makes these magical dolls that i admire so much. i was also so surprised how sweet and humble she was, and how short and cute. it’s not often that i meet someone who is shorter than me but i think she must be about 1 cm shorter than me, and she is so very sweet!

it’s almost hard to remember our conversation, it becomes a blur because my mind was racing to try and think of all the questions i had for her, so i wouldn’t forget anything.
i gave her my flower and congratulated her for this accomplishment, and she seemed so humble and surprised that i would give her a flower and said how she wishes she could bring it along with her but that it won’t work when traveling. it did not matter though, because i just wanted her to have a little gift to look at while she was in berlin.
she asked me how i liked the dolls and i told her how incredibly beautiful i find them all and that it was overwhelming to see them all at once. i also told her how there is a new feeling about them, that the painting techniques are impressive and new, even more improved and that all the dolls together create a wholeness and fit with each other.
she seemed very happy to hear that i loved the dolls, she told me once she had put them up she was worrying that they were not good enough. this surprised me so much, i couldn’t believe she had such doubts after having created such beauty. i guess that even the greatest artists have this self doubt, but i assured her to please feel very accomplished about the show, because really i was blown away by these new dolls!

at some point i was wondering if the bug headpiece of Specimen was a real bug, it looked so real even in person. Marina asked me “Do you want to touch it?” and went right over to it, removed it from the doll’s head and put it in my hands while she explained that the parts were cast in silver/bronze and painted with enamel colour, but the wings were real bug wings covered in “rubber gel”. i was stunned that she would give it to me as i thought the dolls were all aligned and posed in their final state and i did not want to create more work for her, having to align everything again, but she waved that off as “no problem”. it was also so cute how she asked “Do you want to touch it?” because her face lit up like that of a little girl at christmas somehow, and now in retrospect i remember she mentioned once on her blog that she is very tactile and need to touch stuff to know it, she does not like simply looking. so maybe she translated that over to me, that i too should touch it to know it. and of course it was amazing to get to hold this headpiece, like any of her works it was so detailed and beautiful and at the same time functional, that’s what i love about her work!

at another point Calle said how intricate and incredible Virgin’s headpiece looked. again Marina went to it, grabbed it and put it in his hands. Calle said it was heavier and sturdier than he expected. after a while he asked me if i wanted to hold it. i reluctantly did (again just not wanting to be “too much”). it really was sturdy and heavy, and even looking at it so close up i couldn’t say how she made it to look as it does, how she got it to be sturdy like that. i think she is a pioneer also in Jewelry work because i have never seen such jewelry work before.

later some time i said how i loved all these new hair-do’s and especially Anna Karenina’s and Marina said they are all wigs, went and grabbed Anna’s wig to let me check it out. this i loved the most, these tiny braids were just a joy to look at, and the tiny hair comb, just sooo beautiful!

i think in full we talked something around 45 minutes but time just flew by, it was time to say good bye. i asked if i could have a picture of her and me, and i asked Chad to take it with my camera (because Calle has hard time to hold the camera steady as his asthma medicine makes him shaky) and so Chad took the picture.

i asked if they wanted to do something together forgetting that Marina had a show to finish setting up, she had a lot of stuff still to do and so we said good bye and that we’ll be back for the opening the next evening.
we thanked them and Elizabeth of the gallery and stepped out.

then once again it felt like stepping out of a dream, i had to pinch myself to realize i had just met Marina and see all the 15 new amazing dolls she made. in reality words really aren’t enough to describe how this whole experience felt, i am ever so grateful for it!

i will be writing about the opneing night another time, if you have not yet seen my photos on flickr, all 126 of them are here, and even 4 short videos:

i am off to bed as it has gotten really late.



4 Responses to “berlin trip”

  1. Melissa Says:

    amazing, how truly amazing, I feel as if I were there too, thank you

  2. Annina Says:

    it’s THE Melissa from flickr (cybermelli)?
    you’re welcome, i’m glad i can share with others! :)

  3. monika viktoria Says:

    I can’t believe I forgot to comment! I read your post here whilst I was overseas, and loved it so much. A real delight to get to experience a little bit what the show might have been like.

    Such a great treasure to keep with you forever, having gotten to see and meet an artist you admire so much… I hope I too shall know the feeling one day!! Thanks again for your post!

    Hope Idunn’s well :-)

  4. Annina Says:

    aww thank you Monika, don’t worry, i knew that you read my story.
    at some points i thought, “Monika is going to love meeting Marina”! i hope she’ll come to Australia soon in the coming time! :)

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