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DAS FERNWEH (2020)

Updated: Sep 1, 2023




I would like to start by saying thank you for visiting my website and viewing my new series of paintings DAS FERNWEH.


If you don't mind, I'd like to give you a little background to the original thoughts behind this series. Frenweh is a German word that I have been fascinated with for a long time. A German friend always tells me that this is too hard to translate. A quick search online and you find it’s basically the exact opposite of “homesickness”. It refers to a feeling of desperately wanting to be away from where you are.

Away-sickness? Wanderlust? This is what my dictionary suggests, but feels too weak for this feeling- it’s more than that; it’s kind of a desperate, painful desire to travel far away.


I was very aware of this word and the thoughts that it evoked during the first lockdown in March. Like everyone else in the country, we were housebound, within our 2km radius, me, my partner, who was 7 months pregnant with our daughter, our 4 year old and my partner's father. We just happened to be in lockdown under the flight path of Dublin Airport.


As we sat on the couch, holding hands, waiting for another address to the nation from the Taoiseach, wondering if I would be allowed in for the birth of our daughter, there was a constant glimpse of an airplane in the sky overhead, through our living room window. They never stopped, the numbers dwindled, but they never stopped. You couldn't help but think who was on then? Where were they coming from? Were they infected? Why were they being let in, if they were? Maybe it was much needed PPE gear? Maybe it was people on holidays? Were people still going on holidays? Why weren't we going on holidays? These were a few of the questions that I asked myself every time I saw a plane overhead.


It was then that I started taking photographs of planes in the sky, with our 4 year old from the window and then from the garden outside the studio.


They became the basis for this series of paintings, which I have thoroughly enjoyed making. I read somewhere once ( but have not been able to find the source, so it's quite possible that I made this up?) that, after the war, Picasso was asked why he painted food and he replied ' Because the people were hungry'. I don't know if there is any truth in that, but I've always liked it and in a way that's what I was trying to do with this series.


The making of this work was also how I experienced my own version of fernweh, my own escape from the real world, into the world of imagination and a free mind.


I hope you enjoy the work and, please, contact me here, should you have any queries,

Warm regards to you and your family,

Al



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