Named after the winds and elements from Alessandro Baricco's novel "Ocean Sea", the hotel rooms feature art paintings dedicated to the winds. In our new story, read all about the German artist Carsten Weck, how his works of art came to life and how he captured the winds on them.
Carsten Weck, a renowned German painter from Solingen in Germany, an artist with a specific expression and technique, and our long-term friend, has been given the opportunity to exhibit his works in Croatia for the first time at the Almayer hotel.
Carsten Weck in his atelier in Solingen, Germany
We have known Carsten’s rich artistic oeuvre, but one comment made in front of his painting during an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum in Solingen made an unbreakable bond. His ability to enter the complex spheres of historic and mythological symbols using skilfully combined painting techniques left us with the everlasting impression of his art. Therefore, the decision to start telling his story about the winds in his atelier at the Merscheider Busch street in Solingen, a place about three hundred kilometres from the nearby North Sea, was no wonder.
Carsten’s task was not easy by any means, as he was put to bridle all the distant stories of wind on his canvas in the stillness of his atelier, just like admiral Langlais in Alessandro Baricco’s novel ‘’Ocean Sea’’. By mixing and applying paint and plaster to surfaces, which he then arranges like puzzles inside the wooden frame panels (technique germ. zwischenvliestechnik), Carsten patiently restrains the energies of different winds: Mistral, Tramontana, Bora, Scirocco - south wind …. Each of Carsten Weck’s paintings carries a story about wind, its strength and energy, its symbolism, and the geographical side of the Earth it represents.
‘’Tramontana’’ is the first one he represents. Comprehension, prudence, orientation, but also the transitional wind, which blows from the north. Deep shades of blue, sharp crests of the waves, and turbulent seabed of the defeated coastline, reminds us of the northern Provencal wind which, persevering roar, drives the main character of Victor Hugo’s poem Gastibelza to the point of madness.
Tramontana: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
As for orientation, she is the guiding star, she is the North Star. As for the prudence she can be lost, just like Georges Brassens loses his beautiful Margot in his chanson ‘’Je Suis Un Voyou’’, or as Molière describes in his comedy ballet, ‘’Le Bourgeois gentilhomme’’. As for the cognition, it can be revealed, just like Pomet does in the Marin Držić's comedy “Dundo Maroje”.
‘’Bora’’ which follows and comes from the Northeast, either the ‘’Bora Scura’’ or the “Bora Chiara’’ with its cloudy white hat that crowns the Velebit mountain, once again, rushes down in the gusts of paint from Carstens work.
Bora: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
With unmistakable accuracy, although he never experienced it, Carsten Weck released with his painting the liberating energy of that Dante's ’’the Slavic wind’’ (venti schiavi), the most Croatian wind of them all, tucket now in the quiet hotel interior.
With green tones of fertility and vegetation, the author leads the observer to ‘’Levante’’, a wind that comes from the East. Blowing from the direction of sunrise (lat. Levare – arise), this wind represents spiritual change and transformation.
Levante: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
By the visual indication of the famous Rock of Gibraltar (Arabic: Jabal Ṭāriq- Tarik’s hill) and characteristic clouds which the wind Levante creates, the author embodied the wind that brought Maori people across Gibraltar. The same one led Santiago to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, change his life and faith and settle on his journey to achieve his Personal Legend in Paulo Coelho’s novel ‘’Alchemist’’.
Opposing the energies of warm and cool shades in his painting ‘’Siròco’’, the author leads the viewer to the journey through the wastelands of the Sahara Desert, where this hot and dry Arabic wind Shurhuq (eng. East) starts its path across the Mediterranean Sea. Carrying the particles of sand, dirt, and seed from its ancient origin, as well as collecting the humidity of the Mediterranean Sea, siròco passes that ancient road and connects different coasts and disappears in the sea of new names.
Siròco : Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
When Federico Garcia Lorca mentions the term ‘’el Duende’’ – mythical, spiritual stadium, and the true matter of art, marking it as a friend of the winds, which are heavy as they are filled with the desert sand, he is indirectly calling out the strength of Shurhuq and Scirocco. It is all about the special energy, the fire of flamenco, and the mysterious power that everybody can feel, and no philosophy can explain.
Notos, auster, ostro. According to legends that are still narrated in the harbour taverns along the Mediterranean Sea, he comes from Ethiopia - the heart of Africa, either as an ancient deity alone, a bearded old man or martyr, or as a southern wind ‘’Ostro’’, or even both.
Ostro: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
The author’s warm palette of colours leads us along the path of the hot plateaus of Ethiopia, where his ancient habitat and well were settled. Coming from the southern cradle of humanity, along the everlasting way of migrations, Ostro occasionally brings the heat, sometimes rain, ever so often a burst of laughter, and at times - even tears.
‘’Angry Garbin makes the seabed muddy’’, says and old Dalmatian proverb. The forcefulness and fragmentation of graphical pastel that surfaces of the “Garbin” painting, unmistakably associate us with the overthrown sea steered by Garbin - the most forceful, sudden and probably the most dangerous wind that destroys the coast with its hefty waves, the wind that dims the sea, drown the sailors, and leaves ships with broken ribs behind.
Garbin: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
The representation of the barefoot Libs, a Greek deity of southwestern wind at the Tower of the Winds in Athens, is then no surprise. He holds stylized stern of the galley, representing both a helper, who returns sailors and ships to safe harbours, and as a destroyer, smashing the entire Persian fleet against the rocks at the Battle of Salamis, thus saving the western civilization.
With the colour palette, which is a clear allusion to the sunset, the author leads towards the west and ‘’Ponente’’. Blowing from the direction of sunset, this cold, dry wind moves along the way of social changes. It is therefore no wonder that the famous English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley sees Ponente as the force of change in his poem “Ode to the West Wind’’.
Ponente: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
Pointing out the destructive intensity of the western wind possessing the force to destroy the evil existing order, but, at the same time, protecting the good sides, Shelley addresses the wind to bring the inspiration, the much-desired change, inhale the power and give stringency to his poetry of revolution.
While the sun’s wheel slowly rolls along the wide path of the summer sky, comes the time of ‘’Mistral’’, the wind of change, the only wind that was able to bring Odysseus back to his Penelope and Ithaca from his journey across the Adriatic Sea.
Maistral: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
This warm, mild, cosy wind always blows from the direction of the sun, just as Zephyrus gets itself caught into the bellows. It fills the sails, gennakers and spinnakers, untangles hair and summer dresses while strolling down Zadar’s seafront, the tendon of the solstice sky.
La settima stanza
‘’La Settima Stanza’’ (eng. "The Seventh Room"), with alternating nuances of the colour blue, invites us to discover a secret. Not just a secret, but a secret of the sea. Alessandro Baricco in his book Ocean Sea intrigues everyone who skimmed across the sentence ‘’To say the Sea’’. Saying the sea and wind, wind, which stirs the world, is one of the secrets that every artist desires to reveal, if he was ever able to feel them, as a poet, painter, or sculptor. ‘‘What do we say when we say sea? ... Do we say everything in one word, or do we hide everything in one word?...”
La settima stanza: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 110x180 cm
In his series, Carsten shows a poetic relationship of the winds and sea, their arguments, their conversations. The series ends with a calm, almost melancholic painting. “Settima stanza’’, which calms down the whirl winding world shown in previous works, and gives the viewer a horizon that is restless as much as calm and clear. However, although calming, the feeling of lust and hope to discover the endless blue is still present.
‘’Wind rose’’ with its size and its bright colours, tirelessly watches over all paintings of winds. The painting seems extraordinarily energetic, and it shows the power, which carries the author like a wind rose. Measuring, indicating, and representing on which side of the world the winds blow, it acts as a mediator between the winds and the World itself. Professor Bartleboom in Baricco's ‘’Ocean Sea’’ seeks the end and the beginning of the Sea, the sea end of the World, not suspecting that there is no answer to that query.
Wind rose: Fresco-relief plaster on plywood 180x180 cm
‘’So, I stand, a step from the sea, and I fail to understand where it is, the sea. Sea.’’ It would be impossible to measure and encompass the length of the wind, or the length of the sea, all its ends and beginnings. They extend through every pore of the World. By dipping your finger into the sea, you are connected to the entire World. Then, it is no longer an enemy, it ceases to be silent. This Venetian saying is always valid ‘’El mar unisse, ma el monte divide’’ (The Sea connects, while the hill divides). When you touch the sea, ‘’…. you no longer fear. The end.’’
Thanks to characteristic polychromes and three-dimensionality, Carsten did not, like a modern Aeolus, captivate the winds into the barnacles of his two-dimensional works. Creating new space and volume with his works, the winds and the sea are here, spreading through the hotel, stirring the world.
‘’The sea has never stopped stirring the world,
words, faces and thoughts.
Amazing wind. And ocean sea.”
(from the catalogue: Vjekoslav Bobić & Marija Jurun)
In our Online Catalogue, you can read more about the artists and artworks that have been exhibited at Almayer so far. Most of the art pieces are for sale, and you can get an inquiry about the prices and availability at email@example.com.