Sat, Apr 20, 2019


B7 Baltic Islands Network

held by Frank Otto Sperlich, artist and representative of Culture Foundation Rügen


Dear ladies, dear gentlemen, dear art lovers,

"Get out of the comfort zone". The invitation card even states "Well, come on out of the comfort zone" – that is like an order. Thinking of the term COMFORT ZONE, I realized how differently this concept can be interpreted. Our artists were asked to shape their view of the subject. I’d like to give you some examples of the term COMFORT ZONE as I see it. So what can COMFORT ZONE be:
Let's start right at the beginning. The birth. When we leave the maternal body we leave the COMFORT ZONE for the first time. Perhaps the most dramatic step in our live - and this right at the beginning.

 "The birth?" Nothing but a sacking. The first but rarely the last.
Erhard Blanck - a German alternative practitioner, painter and writer has laconically mentioned this and yes, that's actually the first sacking.
The sacking! Another example of leaving the COMFORT ZONE. These, too, don’t happen voluntarily: Termination of work contract or lease agreement, separation or divorce from the partner, and and and ... But whether we want it or not, it is almost always a new beginning and often a turn for the better.

So when we know all this, why we don’t voluntarily leave the COMFORT ZONE more often? Actually, we do it every day. We leave our bed in the morning. Our daily birth. And already something new begins. Let's face it! Well, getting up is more or less compulsory. From now on it is up to us whether we stay in the COMFORT ZONE or not.

But why do we find it so difficult?
There are the fears -
the fears of failure ...
We all know: tests we would rather avoid, rethinking the career: "Will I make it?",
even a date or what should follow can cause fear of failure.
The fear of effort ...
To voluntarily impose effort on yourself it mostly means overcoming: "Shall I take the bike or rather the car?" "Should I write a letter to her/him or is it also fine with an email?"

The classic: stairs or elevator? I know what I'm talking about.

We have set up well. So why leave the safe terrain?
The fear of rejection - we are all experts, everyone in his field. One is a chef, the other a tax consultant, the next a joiner and another – let’s say a recognized dentist. But leaving his protection zone, he will be in danger. Maybe he enters the territory of others, others who can do better than him, or believe it at least. So it can happen that you meet resistance, refusal, malice, hostility - just rejection. The truth is, however, that the "interloper" is a big step ahead of the other. He has captured a new field or tried it at least. It is perfectly understandable that we are too happy to avoid such difficulties.
But are we really clear in our minds about what will we be missing by settling in the own COMFORT ZONE?

Meeting new people, experience places – by travelling. Yes, traveling is also a form of leaving the COMFORT ZONE, in order to discover new abilities in us and thus exert radiance on others.

There is a fashionable phrase: to reinvent oneself. I like this saying because it means exactly what it says: Overcoming your own limits, jumping into cold water, overcoming obstacles, climbing mountains to look into new valleys ... It's worth it! To try the old Hesse again: "... magic resides in every new beginning"

One thing is for sure: If we don’t do it, we’ll miss it. No more and no less than life. So it is in personal life. Of course, all of this is also transferable to our society and by that I mean the entire human community. Here, however, leaving the COMFORT ZONE of any kind is essential - vital.

"It's 5 minutes to 12!" ... is another phrase. I don’t like it that much. In the Middle Ages, at 5 to 12 the tower builders used to call their workers to leave the rickety scaffolding so that they would not be harmed by the sound waves of the bells. We all know this term. For 40 years now it has been used to alert us to the dangers of
environmental pollution or war. For 40 years it is 5 to 12?!

So we arranged ourselves. Also a COMFORT ZONE. And in the expansion of this COMFORT ZONE, we have really developed maximum creativity: climate summits are held, as well as conferences of donors and beneficiaries or talk shows that shall make us think that now action will be taken. Unfortunately, often only fig leaves.

We know about the dangers, but nothing happens. We don’t do anything. "5 to 12", we still have time. No, we are not on the edge of the abyss, we are already one step further. But to really counteract means exposing yourself to dangers.

We remember: the fears: fear of failure, fear of rejection and fear of exertion. They reach out to the little personal as well as to the big society life. One has to take the first step. This is unpopular, it can lead to the loss of voters. It requires courage and effort. We know all this but do not leave the analysis mode. What would be essential. Approaching each other also means leaving the COMFORT ZONE. Actually, it's not difficult. On the contrary, we create new COMFORT ZONES through mutual affection. However, this requires the willingness to develop - above all, to develop the nobleness of heart.

Artists seek answers to all these questions. After writing this text, I went through the showrooms and watched our artists creating their works. I admit: not everything has opened up for me immediately ... how should it be otherwise.

Complexity is to be expected on such a topic. Some works are simple and don’t want to be more than what the exhibition motto seems to be at first glance. OK then!
Other artists chose a more complex approach to the topic. Good as well. Some emit messages that call for rethinking and, above all, for questioning one's own actions – holding a mirror up to us. Art should be allowed to do so at times. But there are also works in which the actors go on a journey into their inner self.
With poetic means they try to reach the recipient.

Lene Degett and Lars Holmsted put over 100 pairs of white shoes next to each other. Waiting people? Demanding entry?
Do they want to leave a COMFORT ZONE? Or go into it?
Chalk the shoes - with the finest chalk from Europe. Hurry up - time closes borders! The installation is the true story of millions of people walking away, trying to get somewhere to make a life for themselves and their families, searching for a new country. They escape, appear, embrace each other, come into sight, become reality, and they are here among you.

Once again, artists master virtuously the space of our orangery. On the left hand side Günter Jagnow with his 7 panel paintings. With color and materials such as lead, he is one who sends messages. In a vivid, original and aesthetically demanding way, in my opinion. What does COMFORT mean? Does it mean that our behaviour destroys the living environment of the earth? Does it mean to indulge our pseudo-lifestyle at the expense of others? Does it mean to make wars to maintain our comfort? We have to get out of this comfort that causes war, flight, expulsion and foreclosure. The horror future is horror present!

Here Berit Angmann Svedjemo ........................ from Gotland, Sweden. With her fine-grained charcoal drawings she sensitively deals with the space. ‘Let it be’ is the title of her work. A comfort zone is a fragile place. We often find ourselves at the border to a comfort zone. Sometimes outside, too. We have a desire and a longing for homecoming. But the comfort zone is not our home, so we keep going. Sometimes we stop for a while ...

In the niches of the rotundas we find 2 small works. The one, mine, is named: Get out of the comfort zone - daily birth.
The other work did deeply touch me for different reasons. STEFANO created it. We see a fragile human being made of metal. Stefano has suffered from a long desease. A disease that - and this is completely contrary to his nature - forced him into a COMFORT ZONE. For a long time he had to fight for his life shielded from the outside world. With his work "Banished to the COMFORT ZONE on terra absurdica", he checked back in. Welcome Stefan!

The multi-artists Rainer Görß and Anja Rudolph show a spatially modest, but content-wise great installation: Inter - National - Conflict - Situation. In their own way they document among others an action they carried out in front of the Berlin SPD headquarters during the hot campaign phase. On a signboard they wrote: LAST WARNING! Before Nationalism becomes social. Sometimes getting out of the COMFORT ZONE means to resort to subversive means. If no one else does, then artists have to act. Exciting! Important! I recommend reading their statements.

A completely different work in the next room: Marlene Melzow’s Field Ghosts. She gives human form to plants and herbs conjuring them up as ghosts. Good ghosts? Evil ghosts? Rapeseed raps yellow over the fields of the island ... scythes whirr on the edges. Wild plants are looking for new places. Ghosts also need root and blossom. We see wonderful drawings there.

Günter Haußmann exhibits his sculptures of hooded men - who look threatening. With their hoodies they have entrenched themselves in their comfort zone. Or have they been out of the COMFORT ZONE for a long time? Hoodie - the garment of robbers, thieves, hooligans, neo-Nazis, counterfeiters, juvenile delinquents, dealers, stalkers, graffiti sprayers? That falls short. Hoodie - the expressive gesture and the confession of the post-industrial hunter and collector ... who dumbly shouts his defiant NO. A garment as a confession. Blaming the establishment for everything that goes wrong in this world. You don’t get our vote! They are the 68ers who will soon start families, replace the old and form the world according to their ideals.

In the center of the tower room, a bright orange bowl with cubes placed around it invites to linger. EllenNA asks the visitor to describe HIS way out of the COMFORT ZONE and entrust it to the bowl – e.g. to change from the externally determined human being to a human being with a new inner attitude. "Free or Captured" is the name of her installation.

A mysterious object can be found under the stairs to the park room. Perhaps the most enigmatic work in the exhibition. At the beginning I spoke of actors who undertake a journey to their inner self. This one is about the very personal universe of the two Estonian artists Valev and Kalli Sein, who deal with the magic of dark matter. Be impressed by this installation.

Reflection - we find a sculptural installation by Minna Öberg and Edward Johansson from the Åland islands outside the Orangerie. The sculpture made of europallets reveals its secret only at a certain position. Find this point and you are an active part of this interesting work of art.

Anna Norberg from Gotland, Sweden, praises the voluntary work of the sea rescue forces. With little orange pins she marks positions of rescue operations in the North Sea and Baltic Sea on nautical charts, upstairs in the middle part of the house, blessing all the selfless people who leave the COMFORT ZONE for others again and again. Look forward to an exhibition that is not always easy to grasp but definitely meaningful.

Thank you!

© B7 Baltic Islands, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.