In January 2011, we accompanied the chairman of the WTA Roger Annable and his wife on a trip to Borken, Germany. Borken is situated in the north west part of Germany and close to the border with the Netherlands. We began our road trip in Whitstable, Kent and the journey involved driving through France, Belgium and Holland.
The Borken Twinning Association held its first meeting of the new year on the evening of our arrival. Borken's local TV station Borio TV was also there to document the event. They were interested in our project and why we had decided to travel to Borken. Here is a link to the interview: Borio TV
Town Hall, Borken
Josef Ehling, the former Mayor of Borken, signed the first twinning agreement with Whitstable in 1986. He featured on our celebratory cake at the Whitstable Biennale Tea Party launch back in July 2010.
This is the office of the current Mayor Rolf Luhrmann who we met at the Whitstable Twinning Conference in November 2010. We also met Markus Lask in Molndal at the Cultural Festival in September 2010.
This is a monument to commemorate the location of where the Synagogue of Borken once stood.
Old Town Hall, Borken
We visited Open Art Gallery in Borken Galerieopenart.de and met the director Gerda Siebelt and her partner in the midst of installing a new exhibition of contemporary art from African including the artist Romuald Hazoume. The exhibition was opened the following evening which coincided with a book launch.
Gerder Siebelt organised a major public art festival in Borken in 2001. Artline 5, Nature and Architecture, featured artists such as Anya Gallaccio, Jan de Cock www.jandecock.net Mariele Neudecker www.marieleneudecker.co.uk and was curated by Jan Hoet - the founder of SMAK (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst) in Ghent, Belgium. In 1992, Jan Hoet curated Documenta IX in Kassel.
We went inside the Old Town Hall which houses the local museum and an archive in the bell tower. We were shown artifacts and photographs belonging to the town which have survived WWII bombing raids.
We were invited to tea at Josef and Maria Ehling's house. Josef trained as an architect and built his own house at age 60. He was the Mayor of Borken for 15 years and now that he is retired he spends most of his time in his workshop creating wooden sculptures.
While we were having tea we would hear a cuckoo clock at various intervals and when we asked about the clock Josef told us the story of how the clock is never on time. The clock belonged to Josef's grandfather and was the only object to survive three Allied bombing raids on their home during WWII. Josef explained that this was the reason behind the clock never being on time!
We stayed with Marie-Luise and her husband Eberhard. Marie-Luise is an artist and paints in her studio at the top of her house. She had been to Documenta and showed us original publications from the time when Josef Beuys had planted his 7000 Oaks - between 1982 and 1987 - for Documenta 7 in Kassel. Kassel is situated 250km east of Borken.
Marie-Luise and Eberhard's house in Raesfeld - just outside of Borken.