A city in a frenzy of colour

Half an hour before the “16th Long Night of Open Doors” officially starts on Friday evening, Frank Donath opens the series of exhibitions in the Kleine Altstadtgalerie with “Nackt II”. As the title already suggests, it is the second nude exhibition by the Dachau artist Thomas von Kummanth, who is best known on the international stage as an award-winning comic artist. Counted Lego bricks are handed out at the entrance to the gallery so that not too many onlookers crowd into the small rooms, but now, at 6.30 p.m., the circle of visitors is mainly limited to friends, family and acquaintances of the artist.

Gallery boss Frank Donath praises the exhibition in his house as the best that can be seen in the 28 galleries and museums on this long evening, but does not fail to encourage people to see all the other exhibitions as well . When do you ever have the opportunity to see 28 exhibitions in one evening and all of them for free?

When it officially starts, the streets slowly fill up, but in the cold, damp weather, the action is concentrated in the old town, where one exhibition venue follows the next. In the Lochner Gallery, where you can already see the colorful prints by the Dutch Cobra artist Corneille shining through the windows, gallery owner Josef Lochner is surrounded by a dozen curious visitors. It’s only been an hour and a half since he’s already counted around 100 visitors. “You can tell that there are no corona requirements,” says Lochner. “Now people can fully enjoy art again.” Hardly anyone wears masks that evening except for him and his wife Ursula. The two prefer to remain cautious with so much hustle and bustle; not only enthusiasm for art can be contagious.

There are always new rounds of talks crowded together

The hot spot of this evening is the KVD gallery, where the four new members of the artists’ association, Michael Braun, Margarita Platis, Marian Wiesner, Christian Engelmann and Kristina Seeholzer, present their works. Anyone who manages to get into the room sees almost nothing of the art at first. The gallery is as full as a Oktoberfest beer tent and the air is a warm, low-oxygen haze. There are always new rounds of talks crowded together, although many prefer to continue their chance encounters outside in the fresh air, be it out of caution in terms of Corona, be it because Christian Engelmann’s artistic “weapon collection” with a gold-plated machine gun and one with with its gigantic gun barrel, “Super Long Distance Rifle”, makes it abundantly clear what uncomfortable times we are living in right now.

And then the mail goes off. A few KVD artists rock the gallery with an impromptu sound experiment. Just two hours before the opening of the exhibition, they have gathered everything that could serve as an instrument and let it rip.

“The first day of the exhibition is always the decisive one.”

You haven’t experienced such a party atmosphere at an art event in Dachau for a long time. In the ranks of the artists’ association, there had already been concerns as to whether, after all the lockdowns, a creeping cultural change might not have taken place among the people of Dachau, away from the galleries and towards the telly. After the lockdowns, not as many people came to the vernissages as they used to. A dangerous development for artists. “The first day of the exhibition is always the decisive one,” says Ralf Hanrieder. “People buy there, after that not much happens.”

The artist is leaning against a drinks counter that the Volksbank had set up in its counter hall, surrounded by Hanrieder’s large-format pictures, composed according to the principles of the magic square. Next to many, very many pictures, a red dot is emblazoned on the wall. Sold, sold and sold again. The artist can be satisfied. On the one hand. On the other hand, Hanrieder also struggles a bit with the fact that he’s stuck here all evening while visitors keep coming in and going out with beaming faces. A resident of Dachau, who is present at almost every Long Night, raves euphorically: “That’s a single sequence of fireworks this year!”

The island of Capri has done it to the association

The freshly opened exhibition in the Neue Galerie can definitely be counted among the big hits: Anyone who watched “The Contempt” by the recently deceased director Jean Luc Godard on television in the past week will experience an exhilarating déja vu experience here. As part of the exhibition “Saluti da Capri!” photos by Klaus Frahm can be seen in the Neue Galerie. They also show the Villa Malaparte on Capri, where a large part of the cult film was filmed: a steep staircase leads to the villa of the famous writer Curzio Malaparte, which is daringly balanced on a rock. The interior is rather puristic, the view is sensational. You hear a lot of “Oh!” and “Ah!” from the audience.

The Dachau Galleries and Museums Association has taken a liking to the island of Capri: from Thursday, September 29, the picture gallery will be showing “Enchanting Capri. A Paradise for Artists”. The fact that the island is currently in the spotlight has nothing to do with a possible fondness for limoncello, says a cheerful mayor, Florian Hartmann, at the opening. Rather, the contacts came about through Euroart, the European association of artists’ colonies. It is quite possible that this double exhibition will bring further crowds of visitors to the real Capri.

Arttextil on Martin-Huber-Strasse is quieter. An exhibition by the German-Afghan Initiative is currently stopping there. The non-profit association sells the works of around 200 Afghan women, who practice the ancient art of hand embroidery, and the proceeds go to educational projects. The women have embroidered cows in all possible colors; Germans and Swiss have in turn incorporated these into their own handicrafts. Cows were chosen as a motif because they are the cornerstone of securing the livelihood of smallholder families. One of the most touching works shows three purple and white spotted cows on an idyllic meadow, with a motley cow standing to one side. The title “Alone Abroad” is no longer needed.

16. Long Night of Open Doors: This is where the music plays. At the vernissage in the KVD gallery, a small ensemble will provide the background music.

Here is playing the music. At the vernissage in the KVD gallery, a small ensemble will provide the background music.

(Photo: Niels P. Jørgensen)

16. Long Night of Open Doors: Giancluca Federico, an artist from Capri, takes his inspiration from nature in his work.

Giancluca Federico, an artist from Capri, draws inspiration from nature in his work.

(Photo: Niels P. Jørgensen)

16th Long Night of Open Doors: A friendly welcome in front of Claudia Flach's studio in Kleine Moosschwaige: Rhinoceros ceramics on the garden table.

A friendly greeting in front of Claudia Flach’s studio in Kleine Moosschwaige: Rhinoceros ceramics on the garden table.

(Photo: Niels P. Jørgensen)

16th Long Night of Open Doors: In the Dachau Forum, the Dachau photographer Wolfgang Feik explains details of the pictures in his exhibition "On Stage".

In the Dachau Forum, the Dachau photographer Wolfgang Feik explains details about the pictures in his exhibition “On Stage”.

(Photo: Niels P. Jørgensen)

16. Long night of open doors: Gottfried Moeckl presents his colorful "Codex Scarab" in the "Freiraum".

Gottfried Moeckl presents his colorful “Codex Scarab” in the “Freiraum”.

(Photo: Niels P. Jørgensen)

What is striking on this evening is that the event organized by the Wasserturm association attracts more young people this year than in previous years: many students, but also families with young people interested in art are out and about, and not only in the self-governing youth club “Freiraum”, where you can “Miscellaneous from Dachau and such”, a colorful mix of exhibitions by independent artists.

With the throng of children chanting “We demand justice!” late at night. passes the water tower, one does not really know whether they are among the visitors of the Long Night – or just would like to be, in order to walk in amazement like all the others from one artistically performed floor to the next.

Lore Galitz and Verena Friedrich show their works inspired by Mother Nature in the city’s highest exhibition space, but like that night you could never see them during the day. The rooms are illuminated with black light and let the art appear in a new light in the truest sense of the word. The paper objects by Verena Friedrich shine bluish from the inside like exotic mushrooms with bioluminescence. Almost in awe, visitors move through this wonder garden on four floors. And the two foreign artists? They shine in competition with their objects. “Great,” they say. “Great!” They can’t get more out of their lips.

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