When I was in Milano I used to sneak into the elegant yards of old houses – do not doing it would mean to miss an entire secret world. Here too, in Berlin backyards and inneryards, Hinterhof and Innenhof, are a parallel word, in a much wider and complete sense than the silent bubbles of Milano. They are just the beginning and the envelope of offices, shops, workshops and theatres, go on and walk until the next yard, and on, and on, and on.
This is the case of the Fachwerkhof as well, in the Bergmann Kiez. I followed the wooden statues, I found myself in the white and bright underground workshop of Alla Hopp Puppen. As soon as I entered I got distracted by a wall of shoe-boxes, and into the shoe-boxes puppets sitting, thinking and sleeping. I barely greeted the man on the other room, I did not want to disturb.
These dolls are made of fabric and sand, which makes it possible for you to decide how they shall sit, on your shelf, on a book, in a shoebox. These dolls have clothes made of fantasy, haute couture and beautiful fabrics. The kind of fabric you buy and do not use, that you hide in a box under the bed and rediscover some months later. The kind of fabric that you know already and for sure, when you are buying it, you will not use and you will hide in a box, but nonetheless are attracted to.
The owner of this peaceful gallery and creator of these dolls sits at the work table and has just received real flowers with real colors. It is not so easy to make a living out of this experience of life, but let’s face it, I cannot think of a better way of spending your own time than to use your work-time to make something that makes a sense to you, and here is the word “make” to be read in its pure and simple meaning, produce, create, make something yours.
A quick note about the faces? The faces of these dolls are different, some are neutral, some are Oscar Wilde, some are David Bowie, all are white and light as chalk, they are not made of fabric, they are not made of sand. They are not made of clay, either – they would be too heavy for such tiny bodies. Clay is though not always the final product, but also a useful tool. Clay can be modelled, worked differently on different stages, reused, thrown against the wall if the result makes you angry, it is only earth after all. And clay is exactly the tool that he uses to make the model of these Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka, silicon is the material of the mould to be created, Alla Hopp Puppen the result.
Alla Hopp Puppen