As a recent expat here in Berlin, my transition from American to German culture wasn’t the easiest, and to be honest I am still getting used to it. I am repeatedly shocked when everything is closed on Sundays and still accept “high-fives” as an appropriates way to say hello and goodbye. I thought that my conversion to Euro-culture was significant, yet after spending a few hours with Japanese artist Aiko Tezuka, I realized that I had it easy! Amazingly, although the differences in lifestyles between here and Tokyo can be poles apart, Tezuka has fallen in love with the city on the Spree and wishes to stay here long after her residency ends at the renowned Kunstlerhaus Bethanien. Following my interview with her at her studio in Kreuzberg I realized that her back-story is just as exciting as her art!
A Universal Cold
It’s a charming ivory landscape here in Berlin right now: several centimeters of snow have forced citizens to wear several layers of socks both indoors and out. Artist Aiko Tezuka is one of them, and no doubt this isn’t the weather she grew up with. A quick glance at Tokyo’s weekend forecast reveals that they’ll be experiencing the same cold we felt sometime in October – a welcoming alternative to us victimized by the Siberian cold front that attacks northern Germany every winter. Out of everyone here suffering through the cruel wintry season, Tezuka is lucky as her art practice has given her all the tools she needs to stay warm: textiles. Having made her name as an artist who spends more time with fabric than the average tailor, it’s no surprise that in a single work of hers there’s enough material to make a tent!