This week marks the beginning of the loosening of lockdown restrictions in Germany.
After several weeks working exclusively from the apartment, the chance to go outside and potentially a bit further afield is extremely tempting. Restaurants and cafes are still closed, but bookstores will be re-opening. I binge-read the first two books (volume one in the German print edition) of 1Q84 a few days ago and thus would be quite pleased to find the second volume of Murakami's behemoth in-store somewhere. I had tried to read this novel on three separate occasions both in English and German, but had not been able to get further than about 200 pages due to other work/time commitments. But in quarantine, there was not only the time for it, but also something especially enticing about reading this utterly surreal story. The premise of a warped reality feels especially pertinent at present, and I am looking for the second greenish moon to pop up in the 2020 night sky.
Not really, but in case any of you read it, you know what I mean.
Turning to the title though, the surreal part of easing out of quarantine is rather the newfound excitement caused by the ability to almost do things that used to be perfectly usual. For example, go to the bookstore. While in the past this would not have been exceptional or even possibly planned out in advance (perhaps rather just an impulsive choice while already out and about), it now requires scheduling a day and time, finding a bike path (as opposed to U-Bahn), preparing suitable protective gear (cloth face mask), and double- or triple-checking opening hours. And despite all those circumstances, I am ecstatic that I might be able to do something as mundane as go to a bookstore that I've routinely been to for several years as if it were something completely new and unfathomable. It's new, but old; it's just the new normal.
Switching channels: in art news, I'm very much not motivated to ink the pages of Die Pest in Sachsen that I already have. It's very frustrating, but at least I am getting some work done on other projects.
And so, without further ado, may I present the first page for the Schlangenkönig, a Sorbian folk tale about the snake king. I have illustrated a slightly modified version of the tale in five images, and this is the first "introductory" image. It didn't turn out at all how I expected and there is still some work to be done to it, but for know I am relatively satisfied. (Given that I typically am little more that disappointed by most of my work...)
I have no idea when I'll finish the rest, but hopefully by the end of this year. Ideally, this would be part of a larger collection of about 5-8 Sorbian folk tales, but at the speed I do things it would be better not to think in series...