Between Face and Lips, ink, mineral pigment, pencil, acrylic, 400 x 33cm, 2011

This scroll is about Taunusstrasse and Kaisserstrasse in the area around the central railway station in Frankfurt. The city has Germany’s second biggest red light district, which is also the site of many drug transactions and a casino. This character is very at odds with the rest of Hamburg, which is rich, elegant and sleepy. One glance reveals the brutality of the gambling and prostitution – and the great wealth which it creates. This takes us right back into the financial district and the handsome young German men who expend their energies nearby, thus completing the cycle.
This is an airport city. Everything is chaos, lies, struggle, vulgarity and fleeting. Walking around the red light district, lonely and aroused, there is an urgent desire to prove our sense of dignity. In this temporary sphere, there is no difference between bankers, policemen and drug dealers.
The composition is divided into five sections; which include scenes from photographs and abstract color fields. The figurative sections feature an element of perspective, while the abstract parts offer no hints at meaning, thus weakening the narrative character of works by failing to provide connections between images.
From the right to the left, the first section is a sign for a Turkish Pizzeria on Taunusstrasse. There is a fiery red heart-shaped lightbox above. This type of lightbox reminds us of the large Euro-shaped light box installation of the European central bank not far away. Beside this scene I’ve written a saying in German by Lu Xun: “something1 rotten may be as magnificent as peaches and plums.”
The second section is the construction site of the DB-Deutsche Bahn building, which is between Taunusstrasse and Kaiserstrasse. Here, piles of high-grade construction materials are covered by plastic sheeting which dances with each gust of wind. DB is the abbreviation of both Deutsche Bahn (the German railroad and logistics company) and the Deutsche Bank (Deutsche Bank).
The advertising slogan on the building reads “DB. Zukunft Bewegen” (German trains move towards the future). I’ve placed it so that it faces the red light district, this juxtaposition creating a subtle joke.
The last section which includes a Japanese decorative pattern of images references the greenhouse flowers from South Africa in Perlman Garden. Visitors have to look at these small flowers through glass – everything needs to be seen through glass. The public seldom gets the chance to enter into the top floors of the bank building or the upper echelons of the brothels. Even they have to have a look at the naked women through glass. At the end of the scroll is Li Bai’s “Pusa Man.”
“The mansion in creeping; dusk is clad,
Someone up there is sad.” 2

1. This is from Lu Xun’s “Collection of Random Thoughts No. 39” 随感录三十九 where he attempts to say how ugly things can be beautiful, for instance a face red and swollen from an injury might create the impression of health conveyed by rosy red cheeks.
2. Li Bai’s Poem “Pusa Man” A flat-top forest stretches far in embroidered mist; A cluster of mountains, cool, is tinged with heartbreak blue. The mansion in creeping dusk is clad, Someone up there is sad. On marble steps I stand forlorn Birds fly hurriedly by back to roost. Where, pray, is the way home? Along a string of wayside pavilions I roam.

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