Tough guys and their way to a delicate art

Till Lindemann and Matthias Matthies – long- time, roughneck Punks in the GDR, up until the time of the revolution. If only to rebel against their intellectual parents. And then they became famous: one as the front-man of Rammstein, the other as a photographer. Three decades later, a new path is enfolding for both of them. The Fresh Eggs Gallery is hosting an exhibition until the 22nd of March, displaying the lyrical and illustrational works of the two childhood friends. And as it seems, the two men are following in the footsteps of their parents. To reflect on this, I meet up with Till Lindemann, Matthias Matthies, and their mutual friend, gallery owner Stephan Schrör.


“The poems were created over a long period of time. This might explain why so many different subjects are addressed.” Till Lindemann tries to explain the diverse contents of his poetry. He points at the more than 25 frames with handwritten texts hanging on the walls. “It’s the same with the illustrations,” the 50-year-old adds. The drawings in black ink by Matthies are extremely delicate, giving each poem a face, bestowing it a second dimension.

“In Silent Nights“ is the name of the exhibit on 86 Auguststraße. The mix of poems and drawings is an excerpt from the poetry book by the same name, published in 2013. And it’s so completely different from what we are used to seeing and hearing from Matthies and Lindemann. While Matthies photographed celebrities, landscapes and worked for fashion houses, Lindemann made himself and his band Rammstein known worldwide, with provoking lyrics and sometimes brutal stage shows. Here in the gallery, that becomes perceptible only at a second glance, obscured within the sheer, illustrated poetry, reminiscent of silhouette art.

“Both of them were brought up in the shadows of the intellectuals,“ the gallery owner Schrör informs, who has been friends with the artists for over 30 years. “Their parents were, and are, renowned authors, painters and journalists.” To him, it was just a matter of time. “For a long time, we wouldn’t have anything to do with what our parents did,” Matthies concedes as well. “It annoyed me – those intellectual ramblings all day long,” Lindemann adds with a grin.


The exhibits:

Close to 400 people came on the opening day. In the end, it proved not to be a small exhibition for the Rammstein singer Till Lindemann and the photographer Matthias Matthies. Over 50 pieces of lyrical texts and illustrations have been on display since the 8th of February in the Gallery Fresh Eggs on 86 Auguststraße, located in Berlin Mitte. The exhibition halls are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 AM to 18 PM.

Further information on the Internet:


“In Silent Nights“, as the double exhibit is called, closes on the 22nd of March, at which point the original works will be seen for the last time. To salute a successful closing of the well visited exhibition, gallery owner Stephan Schrör invites all to a finissage on the 22nd of March, at 15:00.

The three, now voluntary, Berliners spent part of their childhood and youth together in a village in Mecklenburg. Later, they were rebelling against the Mainstream with their Punk-attitude, and kept afloat doing occasional odd jobs. “One whole season we delivered newspapers. It kept us warm that winter,“ Matthies says. “Yes, since we burned the newspapers,“ Lindemann laughs. “At the time, my father asked me if I shouldn’t learn something responsible. I answered him that I could always become an author.“

It took a long time before Lindemann and Matthies could openly associate themselves with the artistic roots of their parents. That they had what it takes, they’ve known for a long time. “Matthies was in the slammer for a short time as a young lad,” Lindemann reveals. “To ease the boredom, he began to draw. We understood then, that it was in his genes.” For Lindemann, the discovery of his passion for poetry came considerably later. It was in Venezuela. He had just turned 30, plagued by an age crisis. “It was at that time that I began to write intentionally,” says the Leipzig-born.

The texts from Lindemann are sometimes tender, sometimes brutal, only to once again become frivolous or force the reader to throw a worried glance over the shoulder. A lot of the poems cannot, nor attempt to, deny their influences. Many remind one of Rigelnatz or Kästner, others of Rilke and Appollonaire. Taboos are not a problem for either Lindemann or Matthies, even if they are hidden within blithe rhymes and bittersweet drawings. Hence the criticism in so many mediums. “It’s one of the purposes of art, to walk on the edge. It doesn’t always have to be beautiful. That’s what the design magazines are for,” Schrör explains. “The optimal is when the two come together,” according to Lindemann, “when it’s repulsive and yet beautiful.” He and Matthies alike are thankful that they found Kiepenheuer & Witsch, a publisher willing to give their art a platform.

Have Lindemann und Matthies reconciled with the creations of their parents? “A youth revolts automatically. Art for them, is still just something beautiful,” Lindemann explains. “For the two of us, it was somehow about time to bring what dwelled within us onto paper.” The 44-year old Matthies nods. He remembers a notion from his father, an author and playwright himself. “You don’t want to write. You have to.” „Precisely,“ says Lindemann. „You have to, since it’s such a profound need.”

By Anne Langert
Image: Alex Freundorfer
Illustrations: Matthias Matthies
Translation by Murray
Original Source: Berliner Abendblatt

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