Traum in meiner raum

28 Jun 2024 - 11 Dec 2024
RUB Gallery
Oskar Spielmann, Portrait of Pavel Spielmann
“That’s me, the Cumin Turk. I don’t feel particularly comfortable in this skin, because I’m not on any good terms with the native Mohammedans. But with Fatima, Zora, Sultana and Aisha…” this is how the Brno painter Oskar Spielmann, who sailed to Algiers in the summer of 1931 in search of the hot sun and exoticism, put it.

Oskar Spielmann (1901–1974)

Paul Spielmann (1900–1978)

The story of Oskar Spielmann lies between the imaginary worlds of East and West. A German-speaking Briton with Jewish roots, he was influenced by the fatal events of the Second World War and eventually settled in Algeria for the next two decades, but left there in 1965 after the War of Independence as a pied-noir to the south of France. He thus became an indirect actor in two major exoduses in 20th-century European history: the expulsion of the Czech Germans and the departure of those of French descent from Algeria.

From the time of his studies in Vienna in the early 1920s, Oskar Spielmann maintained written contact with his brother Paul, an architect and furniture designer. He went to Brno, Dresden, Ústí nad Labem, and again to Brno, to where Paul fled after the rise of Nazism. Oskar wrote in German, occasionally in French. Paul also used the Czech form of his first name, Pavel, and sent several letters in Czech. Their letters flowed for forty years between Czechoslovakia, North Africa, and France. They reflect everyday life, but they are also a ticket beyond the horizon of everyday life. They portray the brothersʼ inner world, imbued with music, literature, and an unfulfilled longing for further encounters, but also the certainty of a connection with someone who quietly understands and listens in the distance.

Oskar Spielmann did not return to Czechoslovakia after his performances in Brno, Prague, and Bratislava in 1936 and 1937. His works, which he left in a carefree manner with his parents in Brno, survived thanks to the dedicated efforts of his brother Paul’s family. The unique atmosphere of Brno’s period interiors, combining Spielmann’s vision of the Maghreb in interaction with Paul Spielmann’s art deco furniture, will now come to life again in the Rub Gallery Olomouc installation. In it, the Prague-based visual artist Mark Ther evokes the spirit of the “Brno colonial salon” in a space where First Republic nostalgia and Oriental féerie, the hot southern sun and domestic comfort, and longing and dreaming meet.

Traum in meiner raum

  • Conception of the exhibition: Ivo Habán, David Voda, Mark Ther
  • Curator: Ivo Habán
  • Architecture: Mark Ther
  • Exhibits: Oskar Spielmann, Paul Spielmann
  • Loans: Courtesy of Petr Spielmann Archiv, z. s.
  • Graphics: Jan Herynek
  • In cooperation with the Olomouc Museum of Art and the Arbor vitae publishing house
  • Rub Gallery Olomouc, Komenského 10, 77900 Olomouc