I Advance Masked

Sabine took a day off – we spent the afternoon visiting Cologne’s beautiful new ethnological museum, the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum that has moved into a spacious new building and opened a week ago. We liked the museum a lot. Some people still think that a museum about ethnology is a boring collection of dusty artifacts – this is certainly far from true here.

 
I liked the section about rituals and religion most – not so much because I’m fond of rituals or religion but because it features many beautiful sculptures and statues – and I loved the circular room with the world map and the many masks. What a wealth of ideas, colors, and shapes!


 
I liked this place a lot and will certainly come back.

Later, on the way to the Indian restaurant, we met this lady. In a way, she felt more alien to me than all the strange masks did.


 

Un tissu de mensonges

Gray rainy Sundays are good for going to a museum. Sabine and Gisela wanted to go to a Tomi Ungerer exhibition that can currently be seen in the Max Ernst museum in Ernst’s town of birth, Brühl near Cologne. Ungerer’s work is fun but I hadn’t been to the Max Ernst museum before and decided that I was more interested in Ernst’s work.

The Max Ernst collection in Brühl contains most of the sculptures, many of the collage books, the wonderful annual birthday paintings he created for his wife Dorothea Tanning, and much more. What mesmerized me instantly was a huge 1959 painting called “Tissue Of Lies” that belongs to the Centre Pompidou and will soon be given back.


 
Yes, it had nice colors and shapes, and the size (2 x 3 meters) was impressive in the entry hall, but there was something special about that painting that touched my heart. Usually, paintings don’t touch me very much even if I like them a lot, but this one did – there was some kind of joy and awe without having any thoughts while looking at it. I remember having the same heart feeling two or three years ago standing before one particular Jackson Pollock (“Number 4, 1948: Gray and Red”) – the other Pollock paintings were nice too but only this one touched me in this way. I really have no idea why and what happens when I feel this, it is a feeling of its own. Strange.

After buying a Max Ernst book and getting coffee and cake, back to the car through light rain along the magnificent Brühl palace and ponds that had been frozen and were now unfreezing, displaying nice fractal cracks.