I remember very well the first days of Renes poster collection when I was a child: he returned from Poland, his car filled to the top with rolls of posters. All family carried them to our living room, where he started to tell us the stories about how he found the posters. He also pointed out what he liked about the posters, and how to recognize a Starowjevski or other artists. The stories were also much about the people he met on his trips - many of them became good friends over the years.
At Christmas, he always created a small poster exhibition on the wall of our living room, like this we became part of his passion.
When I was older, we started to travel for posters together - this was a perfect combination of my passion for Eastern Europe and his for posters. My father was a very interesting travel companion - he approached people very openly, tried to communicate with his hands and his feet (and of course also with drawings into his black little notebook that he showed to people when words did not help no more). And he was successful, usually - if not I tried to complement with my Russian language knowledge. We never really planned our days, floated from one meeting to the next one. We were very tired in the evenings, full of impressions and stories, and often with heavy rolls of posters under the arms.
One trip went to Moscow, at a time when Lenin posters were still sold in book stores. Rene loved the clear language of old style sovjet posters. We had long lists of artists that we wanted to meet. The posters were a door-opener for a discussion not only about art, but also about their lives, their families, their thoughts about life.
Once we met an artist in Kharkov that had stopped to draw and paint, feeling desperate and hopeless. By visiting him and talking to him, he started to live again and to see the purpose of his art again. Out of thankfulness, he painted a portrait of myself and of Rene and gave them to us as a present.
We have also got the opportunity to talk to a poster designer in the Ukraine, who had lived through the Tchernobyl catastrophe. He had shown us his pictures from the reactor - they were taken so closely that the edges were burned from the radioactivity.
It was all thanks to Renes kind and open way to approach people that they involved us into their stories and made us feel part of them.
Many years later, when the posters already stacked up in our old childrens rooms, and when Rene also had rooms for the posters outside our house, he focused more on taking photographs from posters instead of owning the paper version itself. Sometimes I found myself going through these series of photos taken on his walks through foreign cities - they were like a personal diary of my dad, telling me about what he liked, what he had been impressed by and what he found worth to document.
I had been thinking of joining Rene on a trip to China - this will not happen any more now and I will have to stick with the memories I had the opportunity to collect over the years, there will not be any more poster trips with Rene.
Sad to have lost my dad so suddenly
Jianping, Fukuda, Alejandro, Anett, Rene
In the middle of the night, I suddenly woke up in my hotel room.
Opening my eyes, I caught a glimpse of the dawn light, even though the town was still fully illuminated.
An email from Verena suddenly shook me to my core.....: Rene has passed away...
All at once, deep mourning engulfed me. I had a physical collapse, as endless tears streamed down my face....
Sorrow arose from the bottom of my body to the top, from my legs, trembling and stiff.
Sorrow, this ruthless corrosive liquid, intensified my agony even more.
Rene, so many memories! Where should I even start?
Yesterday, your name was still in my emails, guest lists, caller IDs ..
Suddenly everything has changed. Your name will never again show up in my emails, guest lists, caller IDs..
Everything rushed back to me. Unable to react: I didn't know how to reply to Verena. What to wear on your funeral, what to say and how to deal with this sad new situation.
Rene, I still remember vividly how we met the first time, in the summer of 1999. I was lucky enough to get to know you, even though the Internet was not so prevalent.
Recalling the first time you came to China with me, we visited a bookstore and you were engrossed in a Chinese design book. Only later did I realize that you awkwardly held the book upside down.
Another time, we drove from Rheinfelden to Chaumont to attend an opening ceremony.
On the way, we had so much to talk about we even forgot to drink and eat. After spending 6 hours in total, we finally got there.
Warsaw is another place full of memories for both of us.
Once we joined a bunch of young designers in a night club, where it used to be a cotton mill. We drank a lot, and had such a good time there.
You held a camera asking people again and again: "Are you a designer?"
We've got so many shared memories to treasure. However, you have left all these to me, and I will no longer see you again.
12th July, midnight
Als ich die Nachricht von Renés Tod erhielt, da war es wie im Film: "Ich habe doch erst vor ein paar Tagen eine Mail von ihm bekommen." Aber das war nur ein Moment, denn unsere Bekanntschaft rührte noch weit aus der Vorwendezeit. Irgendwann Mitte der 1980er Jahre tauchte da ein Schweizer im Ostberliner Museum für Deutsche Geschichte auf und wollte sich über Plakate unterhalten. Seit dem haben wir uns über Plakate unterhalten, mal persönlich, mal aus der Ferne, mal seltener, mal intensiver. Während ich versuchte immer Tiefer in die "Plakatologie" einzusteigen, praktizierte er seine eigene Idee davon. Basis seiner Ideen und Gedanken war zunächst das Sammeln von Plakat-Daten und -Informationen dann das von Bildern und schließlich von Plakaten selbst. Seine Kriterien blieben mir oft unklar, eines aber war sicher, er war glücklich damit - und wer kann das schon von sich behaupten. Wir haben uns in großen Abständen gesehen, das letzte Mal zu einer Ausstellungseröffnung im vergangenen Jahr. Er hatte die Kamera im Anschlag und war immer fragend unterwegs. Er schien losgelöst von der Idee irgendetwas darstellen zu müssen, oder nicht nach bestimmten Umständen fragen zu können - eine Freiheit, die er sich erarbeitet hatte zu nutzen wußte.
Die posterpage habe ich nahezu täglich aufgesucht, irgendetwas fand sich immer. Dabei waren seine Fotoberichte und Kommentare immer besonders, Offen auf der einen, voller Eigensinn auf der anderen Seite.
Unsere kurzen und intensiven Treffen habe ich immer genossen, irgendetwas blieb auch hier immer hängen, eine Idee, eine Sichtweise - hin und wieder auch ein Verriss der eigenen Ideen.
Wir haben uns so lange gekannt, er hat meine Kinder wachsen sehen, meine Familie gekannt, meinen Weg verfolgt und an Allem Anteil genommen. Distanz und Nähe waren in unserer Beziehung kein Gegensatz sondern so einfach und normal.
Es wird mir schwer fallen zu glauben, dass mein ferner naher Freund nicht mehr da ist, weder nah noch fern. Ich trauere für mich und bin mit der Familie. Ziehen Sie bitte Kraft aus dem Netzwerk jener, die René für sich entdeckt haben und ihn zu einem Teil von sich werden ließen und dies jetzt bekunden.
Von Herzen traurig
|Eugeniusz Skorwider, Poland||Marlena Buczek Smith||Sonia&gabriel, Spain|
|Juan Madrid, Venezuela||Scopje 2012||Uwe Loesch, Germany|
|Mehdi Saeedi, USA||Mehdi Saeedi, USA||Scopje 2012|
|Javad Mirhosseini||Javad Mirhosseini||Javad Mirhosseini|
|Scopje 2012||Elzbieta Chojna, Poland||With Sergej Serov 2016|
|Poznan 2011||Scopje 2012|
|Hector Gonzalez||Benito Cabanas||Orhan Ardahanli|
|Ryszard Kajzer||Scopje 2012|
|Tomoko Miyagawa||Amirhossein Rastegari, Iran|
|Niklaus Troxler met Rene last May in Chaumont|