Language of Stones

Naomi Takaki

One day, while hiking in the Alps I began to notice the stones beneath my feet. 

The contrast between the shimmery black granite and the white limestone, their irregular shapes, the simplicity of its’ beauty and the complexity of their origin fascinated me. Each stone a small part of the enormous mountain range spread out into the distance. I found these remnants of such natural grandeur awe-inspiring and I was filled with new reverence and inspiration.


They are the memories, the thoughts, tiny recollections of the mountains’ history; the plates violently colliding beneath, the reckoning of an ice age, the powerful gracefulness of its formation, fully alive.

Yet it is just a stone…

But a stone that gives me a vision to express its’ spirit, its’ fragmented memories and the impressions I received when I was hiking on that mountain.

Naomi Takaki

Portrait of a Paintress from Paris to Berlin: Feryel Atek

Feryel Atek

Can you describe the main components of the aesthetics you have been constructing through your painting? What kinds of artistic, cultural, and social inputs have fed your style so far?

I  like to create an organic body of colors and shapes animated through dynamical, impulsive movements and more graphical, fine gestures. This body of textures, forms, and lines always end up evolving on its own, so that I become the tool of an energy that drives me. I think rhythm and vibration are a big component of my aesthetic, but also symbolic representation plays more a role in my work. From a young age, I wanted to create an aesthetic of my own, I had the conviction that it would bring me paradoxically closer to a certain form of universality. I really enjoy giving a form to an emotion, creating an archetype that is called by my unconscious. I like using the human figure as a recurrent pattern, muster because I think it has an endless source of expressivity. 

When I recall the origin of my style, I think first of my familial background, both of my parents are figurative painters. I spent my childhood visiting ateliers and squats in the late 90s, in Paris they were passionate about all forms of figurative representation from the Christ on the cross, to Enki Bilal’s comics, Japanese mangas, Asian and African masks and marionettes. I was really touched by this and already as a child started to build my own style, mostly graphical.

 I also have Amazigh roots, also called Berber by Europeans, an ancient indigenous folk present on all the North African territory that had an influence on my visual vocabulary.

Philosophy, anthropology, and more recently art therapy also have a strong influence on my style, the human condition and the plurality of her interpretation fascinates me as much as all kinds of spiritual and mythological representations that have been existing. 

How would you describe the aesthetic relationship between Berlin, painting, and yourself?

I came to Berlin over 7 years ago. The energy and the aesthetic of the city were so different and refreshing from my hometown Paris, where the architectural heritage of the last centuries wasn’t destroyed by the war like in Berlin. Berlin with its newborn urban landscapes gave me a lot of inner freedom and stimulation to create. The open spaces, the charm of the industrial raw architecture meeting the plentifulness of green areas and the light of the East.

 Berlin also gave me the physical space to paint on a larger scale. And of course, the Berlin scene with her variety of eccentric personalities chasing freedom of being and expression inspired me to fully embrace my individuality. Berlin is also the city where I gave birth and transformed as a woman, becoming a mother empowered my work and desire to go deeper in my painting practice.

Which painters do you think played important roles in the formation of your artist identity? Which art movements have had a significant impact on your art?

It all started with the old masters, I met in museums of all over Europe in my childhood observing Caravaggio, Da Vinci, Artemisia Gentileschi but also Schiele, Kokoschka, Goya, Hokusai, Bacon, Kahlo, Ousmane Sow, Bilal, the Surrealist all of those that invocated the human soul and condition with an innovative form transcending time and space. Also, art from other cultures and places had a big influence on my artistic construction.

Fuck the Shame Away!

Fuck The Shame Away

Menstrual blood on paper

The name speaks for itself and should be taken literally. This is an invitation!
Is there anything in the picture making you flush? Anything in the picture related to shame for you? No? Great! It took me a while to get there – if I’m already there at all!

Personally, I see shame about hair, masturbation, and menstruation. It was the shame towards my menstrual blood that led me to make this painting.

I see the root to it in a thought I had long ago: “I have people licking me while I’m menstruating, but I don’t really have a clue what my menstrual blood actually tastes like, except for a few after-cunnilingus impressions when I got a kiss afterwards. And I remember a feeling of distastefulness coming up. And there it was: SHAME.

Fuck this! These people seem to accept my bodily fluid more than I do? I don’t want that! And then came the question: But how can I change that?

First Idea: By trying it, of course. So next time I got my period, I took out my menstrual cup, looked at it, dipped a finger in, and tasted it. Bloody, and ok actually. First step done.
Later on, I accidentally found a webinar about menstrual blood that turned out to be full of ideas on how to get a better connection with it. One idea that caught me was: painting!

So I bought some droppers at the pharmacy to store the blood of each day separately, and some time later I did the first painting.

Fast forward to the prephase of “Fuck The Shame Away”: I made a couple paintings until I needed to produce more paint, and then an interesting feeling came up: I couldn’t wait to menstruate! And, surprisingly, I felt productive just by lying around and menstruating. I love this!

And while painting, there was a completely bloody mess on the floor that didn’t even bother me much. That is a development I was looking for!

The few things I used to create this painting are: paper, my blood (each day of one menstruation stored in a different container), water, and a brush. The variety in colors is due to the different shades from day to day, and to the amount of water it is mixed with. After painting, the colors changed a bit over time. 

And for those who are wondering, it doesn’t smell – if I get really close and inhale deeply, I can catch a soilish smell.

Maria Landmesser

Magnus Krüger: Revisiting East Berlin Aesthetics through Painting

  • As an artist who grew up in Berlin, how would you describe the aesthetics between the city and your works?

The aesthetic relationship between me and Berlin is clearly visible in my work. I myself grew up on the 11th floor of a WBS 70 prefab building in Marzahn, the eastern part of the city.

In the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was particularly attractive for the inhabitants of East Berlin to move to Marzahn. There you had a private toilet in the apartment, central heating, and no bullet holes in the facade – remnants of the war.

After the reunification, many people emigrated from Marzahn to find their happiness in the other parts of the Federal Republic.

I myself was born in 1990 and still have a GDR birth certificate and would therefore call myself post-east. Why post-east? My upbringing, my schooling, my growing up in the shady courtyards of the grey skyscraper complexes is a melting pot of the memories of my parents and the influences of the West. I don’t live there anymore, but I visit my old neighborhood regularly.

I am socially involved there and continue to follow the development of the district.

That’s why the satellite town, which is a populated area focused on primarily residential and less commercial or industrial, is still a theme in my works.

  • Can you describe the main components of the aesthetics you have been constructing through your paintings? What kinds of artistic, cultural, and social inputs have fed your style so far?

My style is shaped by a whirlpool of thoughts, memories, and flimsy components.

Sometimes it is autobiographical, sometimes I use it as a proxy to construct my own truth. It is a collage of fear of what the future has in store for you, isolation, escapism, joyful failure, the interplay of past and present, the interlinkages of everyday life, and the perfidious joke about one’s own existence. 

am aas ergotzend
  • What were the emotions and feelings that initially encouraged you to practice your art? Why did you choose painting as the medium? How do you feel while painting? How do you reflect this in your art?

Since childhood art has been an outlet for me to break out of a dirty everyday life.

It is therapy, refuge, curse, and blessing.

  • Which art movements and artists played considerable roles in shaping your mentality of art?

Art movements that challenge the aesthetic norm, such as Cubism and Expressionism, were very important to me from an early age. But also this in questions of society, by wit, by exploring new spaces, by the attack on art itself and by radicalism, such as the DADA, Fluxus, and the Viennese Actionism – have had a lasting impact on me. But elements such as reproducibility and repetition per se, as found in Pop Art, have also influenced my work.