My mother was in the kitchen as I had expected. I was a bit weary of talking to her but not much surprised that she was preparing pancakes again, pouring the dough out of the ladle just as I entered the kitchen as if she had been waiting for me to start her act. Again she poured the dough very carefully, so that each cake had exactly the same size. I wondered briefly whether yesterday’s pancakes were still in the fridge. “Hi, honey,” my mother greeted me with a surprisingly warm, unstudied voice. They were getting better at it, I thought, but why always pancakes? Most mothers try for some nutritional diversity let alone my mother who was not all that happy about our enthusiasm for waffles and pancakes which she called “empty carbs”. She normally tried to entice us to start the day with her own frog-slime-green home-made wheat grass juices instead or some unidentified grain and would only occasionally yield to our pleading for sweets for breakfast. I returned her greeting cautiously. “Morning, mom (I had to overcome a bit of reluctance to call the impostor “mom”). Pancakes again?” “But you love pancakes,” the mother impostor answered, very much like she had the day before. Again she also offered me a bowl of fruit salad that I accepted after some hesitation. I did not want to eat anything that had been prepared by a stand-in for my mother but I was ravenously hungry by now. I did not have much money left for my trip to the city and would not last the day without food. Spring grass green, orchid red and a lovely glowing pale orange mixed to an enticing advertisement of a fruit salad but the fruit tasted stale at best. Actually, I reconsidered, it tasted like nothing, not stale, not fresh, not like apple, not like orange, not like grapes. A dreamless nothing of a fruit salad. I finished it off none-the-less, staying hungry and craving more food. The stand-in-mother served the pancakes next, perfect, buttery light brown pancakes with a small lake of amber syrup on the side. I finished those off too, almost curious as to whether they would satisfy my hunger. They did not. The pancakes despite their delicious perfection dipped in dripping syrup were melting in my mouth without leaving the acid sugary taste I was craving. I also noticed that they had no temperature, they were not warm, they were not cold either. At best, they did not exist. After eating three pancakes I had been served I got up from the table just as hungry as before. This time however I walked over to the fruit bowl and took an apple. My mother looked at me dreamingly as if she didn’t know what to do next. The spatula in her right hand was raised as if she wanted to make a point and it remained like that. She was waiting. The program had a glitch. I waited a bit longer just to see how long it would last, it seemed that she was stuck, spatula extended. Finally I took pity on us both. It was almost fun to experiment with this creepy otherworld, but only almost. I had to find some humor in it or else I would have been lost with fright. “Bye now’” I addressed her finally, “got to rush.” “Bye, sweetheart,” she responded automatically, the spatula still raised. I turned away. I hoped she’d be released out of that pose or she’d be sure to have sore muscles later and she needed her arm for painting. I realized how ridiculous that thought was. I needed to stop thinking of her as a faulty program. But it was hard to. At least I felt pity rather than fear. Fear is paralyzing. I walked off towards school then changed direction to the train station.
A parking lot and two blocks worth of retail place ankered around a Barnes and Nobles book store had replaced the industrial clutter of deserted flat brick buildings and weeds she had known like an internal landscape of suburban dread for all of high school. The place now had the mark of a new era of tidy franchised architecture, the clocks had been reset to zero and were running fast. Fifteen years count-down to decay, or to the day the last book would be printed, whichever came first. There was no emotional reaction to the replacement of her childhood environment with these exchangeable elements of retail culture. The fact that it was nearly impossible to tell whether she was in New Jersey or California actually felt kind of welcome, delaying the realization that she had indeed come back. She pulled into the parking lot next to a brand new looking silver Ford SUV with enough space to accommodate a mini baseball league team but most likely outfitted with only two child safety seats and DVD headrest monitors. It was still raining.
The muted green and white neon lights of the book franchise and a coffee store melted in the dark reflection of shallow puddles over new tar with the circus red lights of a franchise family restaurant branch. For a moment she could hear the animals restlessly pacing in their cages, but the impression faded quickly and made space for the mundane evening traffic of the mall. Families kept arriving to spend a Friday evening searching for a way to wile away some hours for the prize of coffee and a magazine. She held a door to a young mother pushing a stroller with a sleeping toddler. More families passed through the parallel doors, and for a moment the circus was back, forever lurking in her mind, waiting for just about any reason to manifest itself. People in anticipation of a spectacle streaming into the big top tent. She let go of the handle and followed a family with two young kids passing through the small foyer and the second set of doors that echoed the first. The father of the family dropped the door on her, she caught it with her shoulder without a moment of surprise. The whole family then stopped right in front of her to perform the incoming routine, willfully ignorant of whoever should be behind them. Kids immediately shedding their coats into their parents’ expecting hands and taking off towards the kids’ book section. Battery powered books, stuffed character animals and a wooden train table all well within kids’ reach had nationwide proven to be wildly popular with the preschool through elementary school set. The mother feebly called out some warnings and then both parents, strangers to each other now that the kids were gone, walked towards the café to satisfy their craving for caffeine and sugar to get them through the evening and were immediately lost in the crowd of customers stopping at sales tables long enough to scan the back of a book cover or to flip through a brightly illustrated volume of some sort.
Arnis. Wer derzeit den Sitzungssaal des Arnisser Rathauses betritt, ist zunächst verblüfft, bleibt stehen und schaut dann genauer hin. Von allen Wänden, aus allen Ecken und Engen und sogar vom Fußboden blicken ihm neugierig große Augen von “hoffnungsvollen Monstern und anderen kleinen Narren” entgegen. Gemalt auf Segeltuch, Abdeckplanen und Kartoffelsäcken gehören sie zur jüngsten Ausstellung im Rathaus, präsentiert von Inger-Kristina Wegener aus Büdelsdorf bei Rendsburg.
Die 45-Jährige nennt ihre Acryl- und Ölbilder auf ungewöhnlichem Malgrund “Fidibus”, schwarzer Kobold”, “Monsterdrachen, “Gänsemagd” oder “Heimchen im goldenen Käfig” – allesamt fröhlich und immer wieder überraschend. Und alle haben Gebrauchsspuren als Indiz dafür, dass sie schon auf anderen Ausstellungen zu sehen waren – weltweit. Was den robusten Malgrund betrifft, fühlt sich die Künstlerin der nordischen Tradition verbunden. Ihre Segeltuch-, Abdeckplanen- und Kartoffelsackbilder lassen sich zusammenrollen und so problemlos transportieren.
Erst vor einem Jahr ist Inger-Kristina Wegener mit ihren Töchtern Zoé (13) und Phoebe (10) – beide sind in den USA geboren – nach mehreren Jahren des Lebens und künstlerischen Schaffens aus New York nach Deutschland zurückgekehrt. In Büdelsdorf arbeitet sie als Rechtsanwältin mit dem Spezialgebiet Kunst und Recht, ist für die “NordArt” in der Carlshütte tätig. Die Beweggründe, in Arnis auszustellen, liegen für Wegener auf der Hand. In ihrem Herzen sei sie ein bisschen Arnisserin, gesteht sie. Die gebürtige Kielerin verbrachte ihre Sommerferien stets in Arnis bei “Tante Dorte”. Damit meint sie Dorte Jaich, die sich ihrerseits über die Grenzen der Stadt hinaus als Kunstschaffende einen Namen gemacht hat.
In Berlin studierte Inger-Kristina Wegener Jura und bei dem belgischen Maler Roger Servais Bühnenbildgestaltung und freie Malerei. Ihr juristisches Referendariat absolvierte sie in Schleswig und Kappeln – während dieser zwei Jahre lebte sie in Arnis und verbringt jetzt in der Schleistadt einen Kurzurlaub. Das bedeutet, dass sie bis einschließlich Sonnabend, 9. Juli, zur Stelle ist, wenn das Rathaus seine Türen von 13 bis 15 Uhr für ihre Ausstellung öffnet. Danach sind die “Monstern und Narren” bis zum 28. Juli während der üblichen Rathaus-Öffnungszeiten zu sehen.
Despite the fact that I had been sleeping all day I was exhausted. I felt that if I wanted to have a chance to actually leave the house in the morning, I would be well advised not to sleep in my own room this night. I yawned and turned off Phoebe’s desk light. The room was immediately filled with the grey shadowless otherlight that I had been observing before though that night it failed to make me happy. I could have added to my list: “The light is shimmering, it is the otherlight”. It seemed to me that I was caught in a parallel universe where everything was an exact replica of my regular world – with the exception of myself who was just passing through. Hopefully. For a moment it occurred to me that every world I might experience was just a replica of some unknown original, a restaging, but I hastily left that thought because it caused vertigo. I took off my jeans and slid under Phoebe’s bedcovers, disturbing her neatly arranged stuffed animals. I looked for Ms. Little Bear, pulled her under the covers and took her in my arms. “Don’t you worry, Ms. Little Bear,” I told her, “everything will be OK. I promise.” Curling up around her in a fetal position I went to sleep.