Artsy Cologne

Las Chicas have a surprisingly art-filled holiday in Köln (Cologne). Most famous for the Cologne Cathedral, we enjoy the artistic side of the city beginning with our hotel, Art’otel.

The hotel features art prints of SEO, a Korean-born artist who now lives in Berlin. The colorful theme of her works is water – flowing and making connections.  In addition to prints of her art posted on the walls, each room has a large glass reproduction of one of SEO’s works that doubles as a wall in the shower.


Beyond the hotel, the Rhine River creates its own natural art.



Other art decorates the city, like HA Shult’s  golden winged car on top of the municipal museum.


Or this more solemn remembrance:


One cannot travel in Germany without regular reminders of the violence of the past, and the strength of those who resisted, endured, survived and died.

We continue our art-filled day with a visit to Museum Ludwig, home to an impressive collection of modern art.

The first collection we view is from another Korean artist who migrated to Berlin,  Haegue Yang, winner of the 2018 Wolfgang Hahn Prize. ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) 1994 – 2018, is an overview or survey collection ranging from textiles to journal entries, room-sized sculptures to small collections in cases.

I am moved by a series of journal entries posted on the wall talking about Yang’s immigration to Germany.  She writes,

” A person can be nervous spending even one night at another person’s house. Imagine so much more so in a foreign country. More over, I couldn’t read anything, so was suddenly illiterate. I didn’t know the language so I became deaf and dumb…” 

I have shared these experiences. Art is meant to evoke feeling, to connect people and experiences. But there is no apparent connection in the diversity of pieces in this collection. Regardless, they are engaging.

The Intermediate – Tilted, Bushy, Lumpy, Bumpy – 2016

IMG_1988Sol LeWitt Upside Down – K123456, Expanded 1078 Times, Doubled and Mirrored



The exhibit also provides opportunities to interact with the art.

But this is only the beginning. We enjoy art from Mark Rothko,

Earth and Green, 1955

Helen Frankenthaler,

Stroke of High Tide I, (Flutschlag I), 1974

and one of my favorites, Paul Klee. Klee and Kandinsky have been on our minds lately as we learn about the Bauhaus movement, celebrating its 100th year in 2019.

Hauptweg and Nebenwege (Highways and Byways), 1929

There is also a brilliant collection of Pop Art.  Original works by Warhol and Lichtenstein.



IMG_2024Claus Oldenburg, Giant Soft Swedish Light Switch (Ghost Version), 1966

IMG_2019 (1)
Tom Wesselmann, Landscape No. 2, 1964

Before leaving, Mary takes the opportunity to create some pop art of her own.


© Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds, 2018




Art in Motion

I’ve intended to go to see the Visions Alive: Monet to Kandinsky for months now, and being solo with a somewhat rainy Saturday seemed the perfect opportunity.

Housed in a large warehouse, a 1,000 sqm space is turned into an immersive visual and musical experience, with large projection screens that cover the entire wall space.


Entering through black curtains I am immediately engulfed in the black. As the images and sound slowly grow, I get my bearings and finally locate a stool. People are seated all around, some in chairs, others on the floor; their heads, hands, and bodies become a part of the art and the experience. There is no empty space except in the middle of the room.


The creators use digital technologies to create a 60-minute show that loops continuously, drawing from the works of twelve masters: Monet, Degas, Gaugin, Rousseau, Toulouse-Lautrec, Klimt, Signac, Mondrian, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Renoir, Gris, Klee, Munch, Kandinsky and Malevich. The art is brought to life through deconstructing, reconstructing and superimposing images. The soundtrack is a wide array of well-known classical music (the credits are listed on their website) and other evocative pieces.


In contrast to many art events these days, there are few cameras or phone screens visible. I am careful to turn off my flash, hence the very dark images, and manage to catch a few shots and glimpses of the movement and passion all around.

I especially love the music set to Modigliani’s work, and I’m captivated by the twinkling dancers superimposed over Degas’ dancers set to Chopin’s Valse Op 64. No 2. Waltz in C sharp minor #7. Quotes from the artists are also displayed. Claude Monet’s quote, “I tried to do the impossible, to paint the light itself,” captures the spirit of this production.


The exhibition’s creators are Artplay Media, an international team who specializes in creating multimedia exhibitions. Their skills include art, sound production, design, technology and marketing. Clearly they have done their homework and create a very engaging hour-long experience.

I am enchanted for the first hour.  When the loop returns to the point at which I entered, I sit for a short time, but find the second viewing less compelling. But the music haunts me for the remainder of the day. Especially, Chopin’s Valse Op 64. No 2. Waltz in c sharp minor #7.

Note: The images of the dancers may appear black for a few seconds in the middle

I reflect on the impact of the music versus the images, but come to no conclusion. Most important is the feeling that travels with me as I make my way back to the train, with street art coming into view.


© Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds, 2018