Monday, March 8, 2010

the folkwang museum

as opposed to the Volkswagon museum...
(mmm, just realised that this is a German play on words that doesn't work in English, you see in German the V and the F sound kind of the same, and the W is a V sound....confused? Good)

So anyway, often on a Tuesday Rebecca and I take ourselves into the amazing metropolis that is Essen (just a hint of sarcasm should be coming through) and either window shop or...whisper it so that the spouses don't hear it...actually shop...with like, real money (plastic money usually, but you get the idea) This week is different (mainly because the last time we went (2 weeks ago) we both flexed our credit muscles and we thought we should rest them) this week we're doing culture!

The Folkwang Museum in Essen has been rebuilt (I don't remember what the old one looked like, nor do I know why they built it anew) and re-opened at the end of January, just in time for the start of the European capital of culture year thingummy wotsit here. However, it turns out that it's not finished...the brand new bit is, and a very lovely, open and well lit building it is too (huge floor to ceiling windows allowing the cold March sunlight to flood in) but the older bit is still being finished, it opens March 20th. I can't believe we were too early for something, let alone something so cultural!

We met up with Jenny first and decided to have coffee in the 'Vincent & Paul' cafe/restaurant first, we ended up sitting and chatting in the sun for over an hour, completely using up Jenny's free time - managed to put the world partway to rights though! That left us with an hour or so to see the museum, which turned out to be an easy task as more than half of it isn't open yet!
All we got was the 20 & 21st century stuff the best of which for me was a lovely Rothko and a Pollock, the most bizarre installation (that must be the word you use, I'd hesitate to say 'sculpture' because that implies art) was a large rug...hung up as if to air, with some long strands of wool stuck on one corner and 2 floor standing fans blowing on the wool, there was also a large tub of oranges and pears nearby that supposedly had something to do with it. The next in line for 'most odd piece of 'art'' would be a dining table, perfectly laid with white table cloth and crockery but instead of cutlery there were feathers and what looked to me like bird bones (what can you expect from an artist whose surname translates as 'treegarden?)

On the either side of the atrium was the photography exhibition - good, some stunning stuff there, an exhibition entitled 'wishes and acquisitions', and a display of posters.

I think we both came away feeling slightly cheated, where were Vincent and Paul after whom the restaurant is named? And I know they have a Gaugain, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Picasso, Warhol, Matisse, Mondrian, Magritte, Klee and Chagall, I guess I'm going to have to go back in a months time for those! What a swizz!

Other bug bears include:
- self service cafe where you have to make your own coffee, made it feel like an institution
- officious staff who made us check our bags because they were 'too big'...too big for what exactly? It's not like we could nick any of the art work (would need a much bigger bag for that) and the museum was not so crowded that said bag would be in anyone's way
- also had to either check the coat or wear it, not allowed to carry it
- and there was a photographer poncing about with a model and an assistant and a museum flunky in tow getting in the way in the modern art/rug section.

On the plus side we met up with Jenny for a good chat and spent way less than we usually would on a Tuesday in town!

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