OUR VIRGIN SELF
In the age between 6 and 10, I remember, was a time when the distinction between girls and boys held little significance. Picture a neighborhood in a small town, adjacent to vast woods, fields, creeks and meadows and old ruins of castles to get lost in. I didn’t think about it, except when there were fights with my older brother, about what to watch on TV (back then, there were only 3 channels and only 1 TV). Other than that, I roamed the woods, the streets with my bike, my hockey stick or roller skates. I got dirty, played in the mud, lost part of my front teeth and knocked a deep hole into my chin. I only wore dresses on Sundays and holidays.
The woods and creeks were a playground of enchantment, their depths an invitation to mysterious worlds. We were alone, independent, free, unburdened by thoughts of forthcoming adolescence. Santa and the Easter bunny were passé, but we were still easily intrigued by creating spaces full of imagination, that were not too childish, and still not to grown up, and always tinged with a hint of danger. And Yes!” we could already read, having our imagination sparked by literature, poetry, science and history.
“The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.”
~ William Golding, Lord of the flies
Christopher Winter's art transports me back to those exhilarating days of incredible freedom. I am deeply grateful for experiencing childhood during a time, when this freedom was granted. This not because parents lacked time to supervise – most moms were homemakers, and even the daily structure of my father, an entrepreneur and business owner, allowed for time with his children. Life seemed to move at a more measured pace, and maybe that’s why we were allowed to run free all day long. And maybe mothers and fathers worried less, because they had survived a horrible war. Sadly, the distance from home that kids are allowed to roam and play has shrunk significantly over the last 50 years, due to parents’ concerns over safety, especially in cities.
But it was exactly this age, like 7, 8, 9, 10, shortly before the first signs of an upcoming sexual identity hushed into our consciousness, that we truly existed in a state of innocence. It was a time of unspoiled exploration.
“This is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grownups come to fetch us we’ll have fun.”
~ William Golding, Lord of the Flies
When Christopher Winter told me and Rebeccah Blum, my former Partner at Satellite Berlin his idea about an edible gingerbread house, we knew we had to make mischief! Drawing upon the innate curiosity of children, the fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel, originally intended as a cautionary tale to deter them from wandering astray in the woods, provided a thought-provoking inspiration for the artist.
This drawing of the gingerbread house is based on a piece Christopher created in 2009, titled Wicked Witch’s House. Inspired by Edward Hopper’s 1925 House by the Railroad, which Hitchcock famously employed as inspiration for the eerie dwelling in Psycho.
So, for those yearning to reconnect with their pre-adolescent, imaginative, virgin self, here are two magical prints available. Maybe they simply delight you, or maybe they ignite the feeling when you wanted to conquer the world, unburdened by responsibilities or insecurities, or a genuine connection to the core of who you once were, playful and pure.
about Christopher Winter
(b. 1968, Kent, UK), lives and works in Hastings, UK and Berlin
In addition to painting and drawing, both abstract and figurative, Winter also makes video and sculpture. His work interprets contemporary reality and reactions to modern life. Winter’s paintings are influenced by literature, film and politics, and have been called “speculative realism”. His work includes fictitious characters as well as those inspired by his personal life. He is also active as a curator and was the director of the exhibition program launched in 2014 at Berlin’s Kino International “KIK”. In 2021, Kerber Publishing issued the production and publication of a large monograph to accompany the exhibition “Archipelago of the Mind”.
Winter’s work can be found in various international collections: Berlinische Galerie Museum, Museum for Modern Art, Photography and Architecture, Berlin, Germany; Vassar College, The Frances Lehmen Loeb Art Center, New York; Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany and Julio Serrano Segovia Collection, and Fundación Amparo y Manuel (AMMA), Mexico City.
Winter exhibited in Four Calling Birds curated by Mark Gisbourne at Satellite Gallery, Berlin in 2015.
Summer recipe for naughty children
Wild Blueberry Pancake
In Germany, we distinguish between the cultivated blueberry (huckleberry, bilberry, highbush blueberry) and the wild forest blueberry. Both grow on bushes and produce dark blue berries, with wild blueberries much smaller in size and tart instead of sweet. Forest blueberries will dye your gums and teeth, truly earning their name. My mother used to make us (wild/forest) blueberry pancakes. It was a competition of whose tongue will turn more blue. German pancakes are thick and large, either sprinkled with regular or powdered sugar.
for 1 pancake
* for vegan version: replace egg with 1 ripe squashed banana and milk with oat, rice or almond mile
* for gluten-free version: use buckwheat flour
1. combine egg (or mushed banana) and sugar and slowly add flour, milk and water
2. whisk until you have a smooth runny batter
3. heat oil in pan (choose pan size depending on whether you want to make one large or several small pancakes)
4. add batter and fry golden brown on each side, place on plate and sprinkle with sugar
1. make batter as instructed above
2. prepare the fruit you’re using (wash and drain berries, apples or pears: peel, quarter, remove core and cut into thin slices), set aside
3. heat a large pan with oil
4. add pancake batter, keeping 1/3 aside
5. add the sliced apples or pears, blueberries or other fruit
6. pour the rest of batter over fruit
7. let bake for appr. 4 to 6 min. on medium heat
8. flip by sliding the pancake onto a large lid, then quickly slide it back into the pan with the uncooked side down
9. bake this side for another 2 to 4 min.
10. sprinkle with sugar