Im back on the treadmill after a short break in Berlin where I participated in a Collective Show with five of my paintings.
Today whilst I was painting and listening to music on spotify a song came on by a Spanish group from the 80s OLE OLE and the song Lili Marlene. This song is actually a song about a song! A bell rang in my head Marlene I must write my Blog entry and dedicate it to one of my paintings showed in the collective show in Berlin “DIVERSITY”.
The original song Lili Marlene was a popular German song during the Second Word War and sung by Marlene Dietrich. While touring the world in live one-woman cabaret shows from 1953 to 1975, the song was part of Dietrich's usual line-up, usually following "Falling in Love Again". She always introduced the song with some variation of this quote, from a 1960s concert, somewhere in Europe:
“Now, here is a song that is very close to my heart. I sang it during the war. I sang it for three long years, all through Africa, Sicily, Italy, to Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, to England, through France, through Belgium ... [long pause] ... to Germany, and to Czechoslovakia. The soldiers loved it, 'Lili Marlene”.
It was later translated into English and made popular by the Welsh singer Vera Lynn who amazingly is still alive and this year will be 100 years old.
This painting is titled Blue Angel a portrait of Marlene Dietrich. Im strong believer in that we are all connected and there is no such thing as a coincidence there is a cause and effect and a reason for everything. Sometime we cannot image the outcome that our actions can have or the decisions we make where will they take us. What im trying to say is that I could never have imaged from the day of its creation where this painting would end.
I painted it in 2014 whilst living in Madrid. It was an exercise to paint a portrait using one tone ( a mix of cobalt deep blue and burnt umber ), one paint brush and if possible to finish it in one day. Mission accomplished Blue Angel in honor of the film Marlene Dietrich performed in was finished. I then showed her in my exhibition “Statuesque” in Madrid.
Two years later the gallery with whom I work with in Berlin offered me to participate in their next collective show “Diversity” and of course Blue Angel had to be in the selection.
The gallery is located in the district Schoneberg on the street called Kalckreuthstrabe on the same street where once was the Cafe El Dorado. This was one of the most popular cafe & cabaret in the early 1900s and one which Marlene Dietrich frequently visited up until the 1930s before the Nazis closed it down. It is no longer a Cafe but a supermarket and charmingly its name remains and even inside by the counter is a photograph of Marlene Dietrich in her remembrance. Nearly 90 years after Marlene had walked this street my portrait of her was to be hung in her honor. Now lets see who will be the lucky one to give her a home.
More importantly though I cannot help getting choked when posting the three photos of El Dorado, one during its glory days in the 1900´s, the second closed because of the Nazis and then re-opened today still with the same name. How lucky we are to live in a free world and how fragile this freedom is.