between the Nakvak and the Korok: an expedition to the Torngat mountains. Hiking through the Valley of the cirques, climbing Mont d'Iberville, fishing in the Nakvak Valley, Canada, Torngat Mountains, northern Québec, trek, Nakvak, Korok, icefield, caribou trail, summit, travelogue, trip, travel, hike


Nuremberg in November

Part 6: Niki

A stone building. A glass door. A metal reception. I stand there, in between the door and the reception, surrounded by white walls, surrounded by a coloured crowd. All those teenagers, what are they doing here? I expected the building to be quiet, to be almost empty. A museum on a Thursday morning. Some men maybe, some women, some guards. But not all those kids. Not this bus station school yard atmosphere. I look around, they are everywhere. Their red and green and black jackets spill over the wardrobe.

Before the crowd can make another move, I step forward to the reception desk.
"Only one person," I say.
"Are you sure that you want to visit today," the woman behind the counter asks, and nods towards the coloured crowd. "The exhibit is filled with school classes. Maybe you want to come back on another day."
"I just have this morning to be here," I tell her. I don't add that I drove all the way from Stuttgart only for this exhibit. And for the drive. But somehow, the drive would lose its point when I walked away now.
Hesitantly, she types in the fee.
I shrug. "It is today or not at all," I explain.
She hands me my ticket, which isn't colored, which is nothing but a small white slice of paper with some numbers on it. No decoration at all, not even the name of the exhibit. No new item for my pinboard. Feeling deceived by the ticket, by the situation, I slip it in my purse. A step later, I hold in, to take it out again, to have it ready for the guard when I enter.

All the time, I don't notice that Niki is already there, hidden behind the gestures of the school kids, there, behind the crowd. At the far wall she has found her spot, looking, looking out of dark eyes, curious for the ones who come here, a woollen pullover and a satin scarf wrapped around her.

I walk past her, towards the guard, the ticket in my hand. But the guard just nods, his eyes on the coloured crows behind me. He probably has seen me buying the ticket. Through a white door, I step into the first exhibit room.

It is empty. Void of persons, void of colors. Baffled, I stand in the middle of the room. Some paintings on the wall, small, in grey and brown colors. A white line on the grey-brownish floor, keeping the distance. No school class. And none of the colors and forms I expected.

I take a step forward, to one of the paintings. It isn't a painting, I see. It is a collage, a part of a series of "Combine painting" as the metal plate next to it explains. The one I stand in front holds a plate that is carrying a plastic figure and a stone. Surrounding it, four pieces of a puzzle. In a black field above it, plastic pearls and matches. A living room, I think. A table. A family portrait.

Another combine contains plastic skulls. Fishing lines. Gear wheels. Needles and pins. The darkness of formless holes. All those things that sting.

There is more, layers and layers of detail, of scattered meaning, covered with colorless paint. Had I expected this, I would feel more comfortable with it. But this is not the Niki I know. Where are the Nanas? Where are the orange ornaments, the mystical mosaics, the fairytale figures? Where are the dragons with green star tails, the woman with silver wings, with flower breasts?

Maybe in the next room, I think, turning from the combined paintings, from the stone and metal pieces, to the door that leads further.

Part 7: Unanswered Questions

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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