Merlijne Marell

August 2023

In August I was artist-in-resident at KuBa Kultur Bahnhof in a rural area of northeast Germany. While the farmers worked their land to produce bio gas, Mika and Sharon created fertile ground to fuel the artists that they welcome so generously. I was fed by the amazing vegetables from KuBa’s garden, the fruits in the public domain, the mushrooms from the forest, the incoming energies by the other residents and KuBa’s guests, the cheerful and abundant dinners shared by the KuBa family. The housing, atelier, garden, but equally important the common space felt welcoming and inspiring to feel and act free, playful, and creative. To work focused but relaxed, with a certain determination in wandering, searching and playing.

I was planning to work on my personal project Ondergroei (Undergrowth), in writing and printmaking. And I did so, but with a completely different approach and letting go most of my expectations. Instead I claimed two rooms of the former station main building. Or did the walls claimed me and my time, by seducing me with their gorgeous, layered patina of beautiful colors and scraps of wallpaper? I was surprised to find myself making big drawings in the atelier and creating installations with them in the abandoned station. It was a joy to work large scale, to use my full body in order to draw and paste, to let the drawing interact with the wall and the wall with the paper. It was a great experience to feel open to react on what was in front in me, to work with the unique qualities of the residency space situated between forest and human made landscape, to find abundance within the limited materials provided, to rhyme peeling wallpaper and flaky layers of paint with bark of birch trees and shady woods. To feel that you can suggest a whole world by making only a few interventions. 

By adding another layer on the aged textured walls, I both gave my protagonist a history and the building an additional story. I’m curious how this story will develop, who will meet at the station, and how this experience will affect my storytelling.