Artist in Residence, David Edward Allen and his Topping Totem

The Kranich Museum’s Artist in Residence program was newly established with the opening of the museum in September 2011 and runs throughout the year. The residency and museum aims to support the development of artists of diverse ages, backgrounds, and disciplines. The program provides an opportunity for artists from around the world to work in a striking, natural environment. The projects developed during the residency are considered for exhibition in the museum.

David Edward Allen, one of the first artists to take part in these scheme told Tom Heaven about what he has been up to in Hessenburg and sent a few snaps from his stay. (For more information about the Artist in Residence scheme, click here.)

The Kranich Museum

The Kranich Museum

How did you come to be involved in the Artist in Residence program at the Kranich Museum? How long were you in Hessenburg for?

I was first approached to do the residency by Khadija and Alex. I spent two weeks at Hessenburg. Dr Bettina Klein was a wonderful host, supplying me with all I needed including fresh salad and vegetables from the garden and eggs from her chickens.

What were your impressions of Hessenburg?

The landscape reminded me of where I spent my childhood in Suffolk. A familiar salt scented wind carried over ploughed fields and underneath great open skies. Whilst there I became very interested in the layers of Hessenburg’s history. Its beginnings as a Ritterhof in the 13th Century. Its development into a Gutshof and small village under the Family Von Hesse. Their changing its original name from Schlichtmühl to Hessenburg in 1840. The Gutshaus’s use during the DDR. And especially all of these things in relationship to the Cranes who migrate in and out of the landscape each year.

Quarry Lake

The lake is one of the old quarries along the road to Saal. It was used formerly to excavate clay for making bricks. There are four of them. Apparently, according to the local people I talked with, it got closed down after the unification because the subsidies were stopped and it wasn´t making money. Now its a great place to do a little fly-fishing... home to some very large, but elusive, perch and pike!

Can you tell us something about the work that you will be making for the museum?

The work I’ll be making for the museum is a sculpture. A Totem. It’s actually one in a series of Totems that I started working on during a residency in Argentina at the beginning of the year. I see the Totems as both something universal and at the same time specific to a certain place. They tell a particular story of a place. A fictional story. Surreality superimposed upon histories of a place, its people, animals and landscape.

Tower and the Crane

Tower and the Crane

What else have you got on the go at the moment?

I currently have a work in a group show called SOLOS II at OZEAN in the Artelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin. I am also running a project space in Berlin, together with the Dutch artist Raaf Van der Sman, called the Nationalmuseum:

My website is:

Cranes in Flight

Cranes in Flight

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