Eckhart Nickel’s new novel “Spitzweg” – Kultur

The first scenario takes place in a classroom and is far too graphic to include here. Students in Ms. Hügel’s art class, including Kirsten, the sole talent in the room, are expected to paint themselves. Mrs. Hügel stops at Kirsten’s house on her patrol, leans over her shoulder, and says something that, once said, could not possible have been misinterpreted as a compliment. Ms. Hügel, a teacher, examines the self-portrait of her student Kirsten and exclaims, “Extremely successful, respect: guts to be ugly!”

Kirsten covers her face with her hands, leaving just the echoing click of her shoes in the school’s stone stairs. In the chamber, author Eckhart Nickel continues to create the first image of his art novel “Spitzweg.” It should be a first sketch of the key characters and should already contain the game’s rules, according to which everything will run smoothly in the future.

Carl, Kirsten’s bench neighbor, is as quick-witted as he is a master burglar, and he secures the portrait referenced by Mrs. Hügel. In “Spitzweg,” Eckhart Nickel defines this as the first art robbery, and it is also effective because it is initially unclear for what purpose Carl secured the corpus delicti: to protect his classmate? Or as a kompromat for their future, now-intentional torture?

One may sympathize with the youngsters when their parents’ roofs are damaged. But help is on the way.

The unnamed narrator appears as a third party to an unwritten agreement. He watches Carl do it because he is the only one from the class. It’s the start of the narrator’s unwitting collaboration with the character. It’s also another brilliant artistic stroke by the author, who adapts a Carl Spitzweg quote to his second novel, which Nickel himself put in his book: “Every word with reason, everything thought out, the boring interesting.”

Art and artificiality on all levels, from events to language to acting persons, even in supporting parts, inherently limit the possibilities of a story. “Spitzweg” is not a coming-of-age novel in the sense of wild hearts and exhilarating nocturnal skinny dipping in the lake, even if Kirsten, Carl, and the narrator are about to graduate from high school. And, despite the fact that the novel looks to be set in the present, there is no explicit mention to it. “Spitzweg” is a fantasy in which no cellphones flash and no electric automobiles round the bend. Despite the fact that “Spitzweg” works so well, respect: bravery to be artificial!

What gives? It is first and mostly attributable to personnel and action construction. Mrs. Hügel’s initial gaffe sets in action the retribution quest and brings our three protagonists together. They form intriguing gradients as they approach each other. The narrator adores Kirsten because she is talented and because she resembles the stunning head-turner on one of the band’s album covers, Vampire Weekend, which Musikversteher Nickel refers to as “Vampire Weekend” and therefore remains the most legible cipher of the real present.

In turn, the narrator states of Carl that he was “truly someone who had fallen out of time in the most favorable way,” which underpins their friendship in the sense that Carl “certainly detested this presence as much as I did.” Finally, Kirsten is grateful for every connection because her parents’ house has none, not for power or heat, and everything is off the grid due to her mother’s strange aversion to everything artificial.

When parents have such severe roof damage, their children can only feel sad for them. In a passage that encapsulates much of what makes this book by travel journalist and former pop writer Eckhart Nickel so fascinating, Kirsten is saved by Carl and the narrator.

The Chopin record is transformed into a discus disc at the lookout post.

The narrator has gone to his “art hideout,” a secret room halfway up the stairs of his at least middle-class home, with Carl. This hiding place is reminiscent of Spitzweg’s poor poet’s chamber, but it is more of a stage for Carl’s life principle, to celebrate his stubbornness and art without any polite restraint in an almost classicist way in everything offensively, from the choice of his bon mots to the spontaneous lecture about the key of A flat major in general and specifically in Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” perhaps the most beautiful music ever written.

The narrator is an art lover, but he isn’t quite as blind to the world as Carl is. The narrator grabs the record player and throws Chopin as a discus in the direction of the mob when he spots the fugitive Kirsten from the vantage point of the art hiding place, who is being threatened by a throng of roughnecks. In this way, art has a life-changing influence, and it does so as directly as possible.

In a larger sense, that’s what “Spitzweg” is all about. “Spitzweg” begins with the narrator’s statement: “I never cared much about art.” This follows Eckart Nickel’s late debut “Hysteria,” which began with a similarly suggestive sentence (“Something was wrong with the raspberries.”). “Spitzweg” is then a novel on the possibilities of teaching yourself rather than having someone else do it for you.

Anyone who has ever realized that there is ultimately no way out of the loneliness that underpins everything human would be foolish not to use art as a life support, antidote, and discourse partner as they grow up. Of course, his Hagestolz can be seen on the cover of “Spitzweg,” which, as a mere word in the resubmission, is an event, just as his Nickel is teeming with “Treulieb” and “Drangsal” and mold spots.

In any event, Hagestolz depicts a late bachelor who is sometimes labeled as peculiar by those who see life as a series of orders to satisfy all of society’s rules rather than vetting them individually for suitability. In this respect, Carl appears to be a precocious Hagestolz in the making, although it is unclear whether the Biedermeier could not yet strike in a very ordinary way, particularly in the sense of ordinaryness, with Kirsten, like the narrator.

In “Spitzweg,” you can read about how much art can be an instructive mirror in the search for the self, and what wonders it holds in store for each of us, as well as the not insignificant risk of withering away in social dimensions if one believes, like Carl, that one has found a home in art and artificiality, in comparison to which no interpersonal relationship can ever endure.

Eckhart Nickel has written an excellent book that addresses all of these issues. It is dangerous to think openly about individuals in his care.

By Editor

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