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Student exhibition in Gerolstein

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A young elephant needs about a year before it can drink water with its trunk. Parents can harm their little child if they try to teach it to read too early, and all of us know how long it takes for a child to be able to eat and walk... on its own.

These are just a few examples to show how delicate and lengthy learning processes are in general. And the question arises whether humans would be able to learn at all if they did not receive any stimuli from outside. Furthermore, the question arises as to what drives people to concern themselves with spiritual things.

In 1897, Paul Gauguin painted a large-format picture on the island of Tahiti entitled "Where do we come from? What

are we? Where are we going?".

This title embodies a problem that confronts every human being, namely that of the meaning and significance of life. The search for an answer to this fundamental question leads people to deal with questions of politics, religion or art.

We cannot concern ourselves here with whether this is enough to know the truth.

We are here to deal with an art exhibition. To do this, however, let us first be clear about what is meant by the term "art".

"Die-Kunst is in its execution and direction," wrote the Viennese painter Raoul Haussmann in his Dadaist manifesto in 1918, "dependent on the time in which it lives, and the artists are creatures of their epoch.

The highest art will be that which presents in its contents of consciousness the thousandfold problems of the time, which one notices has allowed itself to be thrown by the explosions of the last week, which is always seeking its limbs together under the thrust of the last day." End of quote. It is in this spirit that I have developed my teaching.

It is my intention to show how the medium of painting can be used to create a bridge between the individual and reality.

For example, we use posters, articles from the daily newspaper, 1''otos from magazines, as well as events from the Bible or mythology as sources of inspiration.

An article about a runaway hippo on the motorway is of the same interest to us as "Jonah and the Whale" was to El Greco, or "Archangel Saint Michael and the Dragon" was to Albrecht Altdorfer.

Every painting in this room was created with the same seriousness and preparation as important masterpieces.

The painters of classicism liked to deal with the theme "Diogenes in the Barrel is visited by Alexander the Great". For us, the meeting of people in front of the drum in a laundromat is of particular appeal.

Tasks like this awaken the imagination and the desire to be creative.

It is a concept in which the commitment of the seminar participants is more important than their ability.

The lessons are not only about developing technical skills, but also about creating an artistic awareness.

The pictures you can see here show the qualitative and creative level that can be achieved.

A large part of the exhibited works were created within the last two years in my painting seminars in my Cologne studio, at the Volkshochschule Cologne, or at the Mettingen Summer Academy in Tecklenburger Land. In the future, the next generation of course participants will create paintings in Gerolstein.

Easter, or summer 1990 at the latest, an art centre will be opened under my direction: The Free Academy of Fine Arts Gerolstein. This project is primarily thanks to the Gerolsteiner Sprudel company - which makes the Kyll Mühle available to us - and also to all the people and institutions who participate in this project.

I would like to express my sincere thanks for the exhibition in this house:

to Mayor Geiser

Mr Plum for his hospitality

to Dr. Traumann, Mr. Marschall and Mrs. Lux for their commitment.

To Norle and Gottfried Rauschert and all those who contributed to the success of this exhibition, a very special thank you.

To all participants and friends of my painting seminars I must say: You are super - great!

Thank you.

Peter Valentiner


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