Art & Stories
Artist Anselm Reyle at work
Interview with internationally renowned artist Anselm Reyle and Mon Muellerschoen, Art Advisor and Art Columnist.
As Germany’s most prized writer and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) once said: “The best education is found in travel.” Travel means making new discoveries, which I love – and here at the Estrel Berlin, I’ve discovered something incredible. Perhaps you’ve seen it, too – a sculpture, roughly six metres in diameter, hanging from the ceiling of the Estrel’s atrium. Entitled “Windspiel” (loosely: wind chime), it turns meditatively on its axis, day and night. The piece is the brainchild of Anselm Reyle, an exceptional German artist whose work can also be found at the Gagosian gallery in New York, owned by the famous art dealer Larry Gagosian. 49-year-old Reyle, who achieved international acclaim with his foil and stripe paintings, was born in the southwestern German town of Tübingen. Now a resident of Berlin, he lives just a stone’s throw from the Estrel, with his wife and two children.
I had the honour of meeting Reyle at his home in Berlin’s Treptow district and was joined by Sigrid Streletzki, one of the two owners of the Estrel Berlin. Dr. Streletzki’s infallible instincts are to thank for the Estrel’s pride and joy: Its stunning collection of modern art. Reyle lives and works on the picturesque riverside, taking his inspiration from nature on a parcel of land that once belonged to the water police. His wife, renowned architect Tanja Linke, created the vision for the 9,000 square metres that house Reyle’s studio, office, and the family living space. Here, we find total tranquillity in nature, accentuated by a garden reminiscent of biblical Eden and designed by Reyle himself. It comes as no surprise to learn that before studying art, Reyle worked as a landscape gardener.
Thanks to Linke’s renovations and additions to the property, their home almost seems to have sprouted directly from the soil: It’s a place where plants flourish and bees buzz, while football and goalposts beckon invitingly. There are even segments of an old factory wall that have been integrated into the landscape. It’s an aesthetic that features prominently in Reyle’s art, which combines older and contemporary found objects and forms.
My anticipation was great, and our visit was everything I’d hoped it would be. Reyle was warm and welcoming from the moment we met. He was engaging, sought eye contact and seemed to be very much at ease in his own skin. The conversation moved as gracefully as the sculpture that adorns the Estrel’s atrium.
A hotel lobby is a place of constant activity, with people always coming and going. Would you say your piece from 2017, the hanging sculpture “Windspiel”, has found a good home in the Estrel atrium?
Yes, I believe so. It’s vital to me that my work is accessible to a wide audience. For example, a child might find “Windspiel” pretty and enjoy watching it turn or the way it reflects the light. I want it to appeal to everyone. It’s not “niche” art. That’s why it’s so nice to have it hanging in the Estrel’s atrium, where it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.
It’s your first mobile, and for me, there’s something very majestic about it.
I feel the same. I’m intrigued by the way mobiles move and how they refuse to be governed by time. They have a sense of infinity to them. “Windspiel” has patterns engraved into its surface. These refract the light and the reflections generate movement on other surfaces. The sculpture’s rough, sanded surface was inspired by American sculptor David Smith (1906-1965) and became very popular in the 80s. At that time, many people turned to DIY and an angle grinder to help the fridges in their flat shares look more distinctive. It’s fascinating to see how even a simple surface can become part of a society’s collective memory, and
thus instantly evoke particular associations and images.
Are you working on anything specific at the moment?
I’ve taken a renewed interest in painting. But I’m also working on metal sculptures that look like the 3D sections of my foil paintings, and I’d like to create free-standing sculptures and creased objects for outdoor spaces. I’m experimenting with ceramics too. So there’s a lot going on!
Thank you, Anselm Reyle, for the interview!
Interview by Mon Muellerschoen, Art Advisor and Art Columnist f.e. ArtNews at the „Bunte” magazin