The “Frankfurter Treppe”

Today I visited my mosaic colleague Thomas Denker. I met Thomas at the joint meeting of the German and British Association of mosaic artists in York last October. Thomas is famous for his mosaics designs in which he uses the construction of pixels known in the photographic world.
We are currently working together on a project where he uses his self written software to produce a mosaicified version of a design of me.

Speaking over these and that in the world of mosaics Thomas mentioned the mosaic mural “ Frankfurter Treppe” inspired by Stephan Huber at the Foyer of the Maintower, at the Neue Mainzer Straße in the middle of the City of Frankfurt.

This afternoon I took the tram no 5 to go and visit this mosaic.

Walking along Neue Mainzer Straße connects Opernplatz with Willi – Brandt – Platz. It’s a typical city street which is darkend from the high rises. Already through the glass front the intense blue of the sides of the mural is visible. Going inside the visitor stands immediately in front of the gigantic mosaic.

Frankfurter Treppe Mosaik with reception desk

It depicts persons of importance in the history of the city meeting ordinary citizens on a wide stair symbolizing the public. The known people are not only of constructive importance for the city like the philosopher Theodor Adorno but also of conflicting importance like Magda Spiegel who was killed by the Nationalsozialisten.

The mosaic is made of Smalti- Italian mosaic glass in 20 shades of grey and blue. Thomas told me that they counted 270 hours of work per square meter. The mosaic workshop of Mayer of Munich created the mosaic after a computerized design of e photo montage by Stephan Huber. An amazing work from the year 1999.

Mosaic Tour in HongKong

Last weekend I visited Hongkong. In preparation for my trip I researched “Mosaic artists in Hongkong” – and Karen Pow appeared on my screen. After being disappointed that she wouldn’t be in Hongkong when I was there, I was over the moon when she provided me with the detailed locations of her public mosaics all over town – my plan took shape to go on a mosaic tour through Hongkong. I was even more excited when Karin Moorhouse an Australian travel- and food writer who lives in Hongkong for most of her adult life, agreed to join me and even better suggested, as an insider, to work out the route. So we met on a fine morning of January 13, 2020 at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry terminal to go on this adventure. In the evening of that day over a beer she drew me a line on the map where we went – to my surprise we had circled both main islands Hongkong and Kowloon – seeing great mosaic murals – and touched a lot of Hongkong life and history away from the normal tourist spots. Here is my picture story:

First we went to Mei Foo Sun Chuen station where we found after a bit of asking the Evangel Seminary with Karen Pows latest commissions, beautifying the courtyard of the seminary.

Address: G/F 38-46 Nassau St., Mei Foo Sun Chuen.

The premisses of the seminary are in the lower ground of a multi story building in a a residential neighborhood.

We moved on using the MTR Hongkongs Metro to Tsuen Wan MTR station

The community mosaic at the outside wall of Tuen Wan MTR station was made in 2010 in a collaboration between Karen Pow and Gareth Dunster, with the participation of schools and youth clubs of the area.

The dynamic shapes depicting geometrical patterns from impressions of the city are mounted on the wall along a footbridge along side the station. In downtown Hongkong you can walk a lot on these footbridges over the roaring traffic below the towering high-rise but protected from rain and sun by roofs.

Then we drove to another metro station that was the place of heavy fights between police and demonstrators in the ongoing conflict in Hongkong. During the days of my visit the city was quiet and only the traces of papers stuck over the mosaics in this metro station are some marks of heated disputes.

Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, Kowloon Island

For Lunch Karin took me to this beautiful new garden&Temple development. We could rest our eyes on the green after looking intensively at walls and our energy was fueled with a delicious vegetarian meal at the restaurant in the park carefully chosen by my food connoisseur companion.

The last stop was one of the remaining villages of Hongkong. The dwelling on a steep slope reminded me of the location of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Outside the village is a map with points of interest, a pagoda, a silo, a diary workers club.

Pokfulham Village, Pukfulham Road, Hongkong Island

For the community arts biennale 2013 Karen Pows studio in collaboration with students made the plaques for places of interest in the village using mosaic . Unfortunately we could only find the plaque for the Silo although we walked around a lot in the narrow streets of this dwelling.

Did you know that Hongkong had its own cattle farm and diary production? It turned out that Karin Moorhouse had worked at the diary factory as a manager. Now hard to imagine given the developments of high rise over the past 40 years. The village stayed as a witness of the past of many ordinary people in Hongkong. Hopefully it will not give way to a high rise development.

This is the route we took that day and I am in awe what I saw and learned about Hongkongs living quarters, architecture, history, public transport systems. Thank you Karen Pow for producing all these mosaics that lead me and Karin through your city and thank you Karin for being such a wonderful host and guide. Without you I wouldn’t have learned about the diary farm, the clashes right under the mosaics of Ngau Tao Kok station and the new Nan Lion Garden.

Our mosaic route on January 13, 2020

All in Stone

At the end of November I was in Chongqing for the annual meeting and exhibition of the View Stone Association of China. A view stone or appreciation stone is a stone in which one sees an image or design. At the annual meeting a couple of hundred people from all over China got together to appreciate their stones. I was absolutely fascinated by the different images that people see in these stones.

Landscapes …

Animals…

Numbers and letters ..

Food ….

People ….

The rule is to just find these stones – no alterations by human hand except cleaning.

During the conference I was invited to talk about natural stone mosaics. Paloma Sanchez – Gemologist and jewellery designer in Beijing, who invited me to this conference and exhibition spoke about using natural stone in modern jewellery design. We both enjoyed the trip very much. It brought us in contact with deep China.

During the opening ceremony of the exhibition

For me it was fascination with the contemplative art of appreciation of nature and an inspiration to pick up stones now and then and have a look if I can discover something in them.