My wife and I snuck away to Germany early in July to visit with family and old friends, and during our stay, we took a side trip to the former east to spend a few days in the city of Dresden. It’s a fantastic city, brimming with festive nightlife partying in the streets of the “neustadt” and overwhelming with architectural beauty and the high life of the “oldstadt.”
In the midst of it all, I had an unplanned encounter with Till Lindemann. Till is not only the lead singer of the uber-metal group Rammstein, but also the author of On Quiet Nights, recently released in English translation by Raw Dog Screaming Press — a book for which I wrote the introduction.
Well, I did not meet him literally. But Till seemed to be all over Dresden, with posters still plastered everywhere advertising a recent concert for his Skills in Pills album tour. His forward leaning “shush” posture kept beckoning me like someone inviting me to follow him to a secret place…
And there was one. We learned that there was an “Over 18” (aka NC-17) art gallery, Galerie Holger John, located deep in the neustadt, featuring a small exhibition of Till Lindemann’s sculpture.
As we entered, the current single from Skills and Pills, “Praise Abort” (NSFW video here) looped over the speakers and we were confronted with a taxidermy surprise — Lindemann’s sculpture of a deer kept under guard by two baby mannequins in leather masks with guns and batons. And that was just the start. Smaller sculptures of things like binoculars with phallic protrusions shooting out of the lenses and skull-headed babies under domed glass appeared all around the two floors of the gallery. The exhibition was amazing and audacious — and given the number of genital sculptures in evidence everywhere, it was not exactly a rated-G experience, so I can’t share many photos. But I loved it.
The exhibition predominantly featured the original photographs from the provocative shoot for Lindemann’s Skills in Pills album (see wikipedia), in addition to sculptures by Till, props from the “Praise Abort” video, and a few large displays of the original artwork/poetry from On Quiet Nights (aka In Stillen Nachten) by Matthias Matthies and Lindemann. There were two floors of fantastic photographs by Stefan Heilemann, Paul Harries, Aram Radomski, Bryan Adams, Tomaso Baldessarini, and Matthias Matthies, in addition to all the unforgettably outrageous sculptures by Till Lindemann. We took some photos, but most can’t be shared here. However, intrepid readers can see them on the gallery’s website, if they are old and bold enough to do so.
Dresden has a fantastic art scene and is an amazing city to visit. I’ve mixed a few extras into the gallery below. Highly recommended.
The exhibition lasts till 8/23/15 at Galerie Holger John (Rahnitzgasse 17, Dresden), so if you find yourself near this historical city in Germany in the month to come — and you aren’t carting around kiddies with you — it’s well worth a visit.
If not, the next best thing might be the super deluxe edition of the Skills and Pills album, which includes a great book of artwork and photography. The music — featuring Till’s all-English singing for the first time — is as hilariously twisted as the art in this exhibition.
Fans of the book, On Quiet Nights might be interested in the photo session from the previous Lindemann/Matthies & Rammstein exhibit for IN STILLEN NÄCHTEN at the Galerie Holger John celebrating the book’s release, which are currently archived here. Large prints of Matthias Matthies’ art and Till Lindemann’s poetry from the original collection seem to still be for sale online from the gallery.