Between the grapes… – Nanda Raemansky

Luscious grapes

My grapes are ripe and it’s time to make wine. I have alot this year. And it is a lot of work to clean all of them, but my first 30 liter of grape must is doing it’s job 🙂

With the first batch of grape must happy bubbling in the kitchen, yesterday I finally found some time to start a new painting, in the middle of this harvesting and wine making adventure…

A first start…

I took this picture, when I came back from my last visit to my grandmother…

A picture from the bordercrossing during the lockdown at the Scheidingstraat in Eede (NL)

I wasn’t allowed to be on the other side of this gate… At first, I didn’t know there were exceptions for emergency situations, like with my grandmother. But the need to see her one last time was so great, that I tried it anyway and suprisingly they let me in.

Crayon on paper 21 x 30 cm

I thought the best way to capture this sensation of not being allowed in, was by blanking out what’s inside. After trying it out, I thought the result was striking and now I want to make a painting from this. Not exactly the same ofcourse, but a next step in the proces…

Work in progress…

…A funny story happened when I aproached this bordercrossing. There was someone on a scooter handing over or receiving a package thru the gate. When he saw there was a cyclist coming, he started leaving hastily, trying to start his scooter… At a last glance, he saw it was me. He calmed down, smiled and drove away calmly. When I arrived at the gate the other person was gone…

About 500 meters to the left…

This while there was police standing at the other bordercrossing, checking everybody’s papers and reasons to be there. I know the scooter-guy and I know he wasn’t sharing any cookies…

Almost finished..

Of course I had to laugh a bit when I saw this happening. No matter how bad the crisis is and no matter how much they check, somethings you just can’t stop people from doing. Although they try, partying is definetly one of them…

I thought a lot about what would be the best title. Symptoms of COVID19: ‘Separation’ or Symptoms of COVID19: ‘Divide and conquer’. The first one is more about how I personally experienced this gate in the middle of my village and between me and my family.

The second one is prehaps more striking. Since this is the tactic, used to try and control this virus outbreak and also what is happening because of these measures. People are getting devided, not just literally with the social distancing, but also in their minds. As one thinks it is a great idea to fight corona this way and another thinks it’s bullshit or even a hoax, used to set people up against each other and to controlle us in ways they would never be allowed to do, if there had been no virus.

Acrylic on canvas 75 x 115 cm

I think it will be the last one. Symptoms of COVID19: ‘Divide and conquer’ since this symptom is what I still feel the most here today, 4 months later.

Raemansky 2020 ©

  1. Avatar photo
    Crystal Marshall

    Great post. So sorry to hear about the gate in your village. Couldn’t imagine how that must feel at a time like this. Glad to see you found inspiration through a testing situation. Love how the work is turning out. I like the palette it’s very inviting, yet you can feel a sense of entrapment when you see the grid work of the fence imposed on such a lovely scene. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi Crystal,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad to read that you feel so accurately, what I tried to express here. Luckily they removed this fence on June the 9th, after the first wave. But there is still a small gate standing on the grass, next to the road, with a reminder to keep distance and respect the local corona measures. At the same time this gate feels like something of a threat saying: If corona comes back you’ll be locked out again… I hope I am wrong, but I can’t help feeling this threat when I pass it.

  2. Avatar photo
    Anastasia Patsey

    Hi, Nanda! You’re making your own wine, that’s so impressive! Is it something that you’re doing every year or just occasionally?
    Thank you for sharing this story. Well, people always find their way, even despite formal restrictions and actually fences and walls.
    I liked your idea about blanking out areas on the other side of the fence. The white colour also brings so much contrast, light and shining into the painting.
    This compositions with a strong diagonal that you chose (consciously or intuitively) brings in a feeling of unrest and tension in the work. In Russian art historical terms it is called “the diagonal of struggle”.

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi Anastasia,

      This is only the second time that I am making wine. Last year was my first try. I made it with 2 different recipies, but both where no good. Yet when I mixed them together it became an absolutely delicious wine 😀 So I am still experimenting a bit on what might be the best recipe.
      I really like the idea of being (somewhat) selfsufficient. I mean there’s a lot of freedom to be found in being selfsufficient. So I am trying all kinds of things, from making wine to making ogórki (pickles) and even paneer (a kind of Indian cheese). Thus far it has been a pretty tasty and fun experiment 🙂
      The border is a funny area. One country ends and the other one starts. This creates something of a gap in monitoring and services. Maybe even more today here in Shengen with no regular security patrolling on the border, than was before. But even with regular security, trafficing will allways exist. I think what happened there and then proves enough.
      I like what you write about the Russian art term ‘the diagonal struggle’. I believe that when used right, diagonal lines can really bring vibrance and live to your work, so I tend to make a lot of use of them. Also, here I used golden spraypaint to prepare my canvas, that’s how I tried to give this painting something of it’s glow.

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