Heldenplatz (Heros’ Square) Vienna

"Heldenplatz." What can you say about this place? Thomas Bernhard who was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet probably illustrated it best with his play "Heldenplatz (Heroes' Square). This play was commissioned by the then director of the Vienna Burgtheater Claus Peymann for the 100th anniversary of the theater and it sparked a huge scandal when it was performed. Certainly it started a very uncomfortable internal debate in Austria on the 50th anniversary of Hitler's triumphal arrival in Vienna. It was here in Heldenplatz where Hitler ranted before 250,000 wildly cheering Viennese. (Paul Evan Green)

“Heldenplatz.” What can you say about this place?

Thomas Bernhard who was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet probably illustrated it best with his play “Heldenplatz (Heros’ Square). This play was commissioned by the then director of the Vienna Burgtheater, Claus Peymann for the 100th anniversary of the theater and it sparked a huge scandal when it was performed.

Certainly it started a very uncomfortable internal debate in Austria on the 50th anniversary of Hitler’s triumphal arrival in Vienna.

 (Paul Evan Green)

Many important actions and events took place here, most notably Adolf Hitler’s ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany on 15 March 1938 to the rapturous applause of  250,000 wildly cheering Viennese.

Photos entered in Head on Photo Festival by Paul Green. These are a selection of images entered to the Landscape and Portrait Prizes between 2012 and 2015. It's a serious investment to have your work appraised (or more often not appraised) by the esteemed judges. This year I was accepted as a finalist in the Portrait Prize for the first time with a photo I took almost 20 years ago of my friend Madame Lash. It makes me wonder WTF I've been doing photographing religiously every day for the last 30 years. To continue or not to continue? (Paul Evan Green)

Heldenplatz,Thomas Bernhard Heldenplatz,hitler,nazism,austria,©paulegreen, historical themes, jewish themes, paulgreenphotovideoart.com, signage, street collage series, street photography, travel photography, ©paulegreen (Paul Evan Green)

 

Leonard Cohen in Poland May 2014

I'm your Man the Life of Leonard Cohen
I’m your Man the Life of Leonard Cohen

I’ve just returned from a trip to Poland where I was working on a documentary film about a young couple getting married. He is a Fijian Indian Hindu and she a Polish Catholic.

It was a relief for me to be working in Poland about a theme unrelated to the decimated Polish Jewish community and its culture that had been my focus on previous trips.

In Sydney over the summer, I had bumped into my friend Rita who worked in Martin Smith’s bookshop in Bondi years ago. Rita is also from a Polish, Jewish background and had recently visited her hometown. She was working in Oscar and Friends bookshop in Double Bay when I went in to pick up the book I had ordered.

I had ordered Murray Bails’ book “The Voyage”. Bail’s is a book about an Australian who goes to Vienna to sell his revolutionary new concert grand piano. The story is loosely based on the Stuart Concert Grand Piano from Australia. It was a good read and I empathised a lot with the central character who like me didn’t speak German and had problems being taken seriously in the old establishment of Vienna, a major centre of music, art and culture.

During our long conversation, interrupted many times by people buying books I kept going back to the shelves and picked out a biography of Leonard Cohen, by Sylvie Simmons.  I wasn’t sure about the choice but Rita said she’d heard it was a good one and I took her word.

Last year in the late summer I had been in Poland and had wanted to see Leonard Cohen perform in Lodz but it never materialized.

Lodz is the town of my paternal grandmother’s family and once had a very large Jewish community.

I had seen his Sydney concert a few years ago and I knew his music and a bit of trivia about him but I took this biography with me on the long train journey from Vienna to Katowice and then to Lubliniec and was making very good progress and enjoying finding out more about the life and career of this great artist and poet.

The sister in law of the bride turned out to be a big Leonard Cohen fan and had been to the concert I hadn’t been to but it surprised me that Leonard Cohen could be so popular in Poland.

It turns out that there is a Polish comedian, writer and radio personality called Maciej Zembaty who had translated and performed over 60 Leonard Cohen songs since the 1970’s.  Zembaty had been imprisoned by the regime in 1981 for organising a festival of songs on the regime’s banned list.

Zembaty’s Polish version of Cohen’s Partisan Song had become the unofficial anthem of the Solidarity movement.

I’ve included some links to Leonard Cohen documentaries online.

 

 

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A Week, Tuesday to Tuesday in Lubliniec Poland.

It’s springtime. I’m in a rural area of Silesia about 60km from Katowice. This is one place where English doesn’t work but people do try to speak to me in German once they realise I can’t speak Polish. You can see more of my work at www.paulgreenphotovideoart.com

©paulegreen_lubliniec5296

I’m here making a documentary about a young couple who met and now live together in Sydney. Karina and Sachin are getting married on Saturday in Karina’s nearby home town called Kalety. The doco is about the joining of a Fijian, Indian, Hindu family and a Polish Catholic family.

The project was dreamed up and is being produced and directed by my friend Chris Cole who has an architecture practice in Fiji and who knows Sachin’s family.

Chris worked as a cameraman back in the pre digital days of film. It has been a great experience working with him and learning a different approach from someone who has ducked the digital revolution and hasn’t worked in the industry for many years.

This week has been very important for Polish people. Their beloved Pope, Karol Józef Wojtyła, or Pope John Paul II was canonized by the Vatican as a saint by Pope Francis.

©paulegreen_lubliniec5388

Pope John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Anglican community and the  Eastern Orthodox Church.

Another Polish saint who is celebrated in Lubliniec and who was canonized by Pope John Paul II is Edyta Stein. Also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edyta Stein was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to the Roman Catholic Church and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church and one of the six patron saints of Europe.

In 1938 she and her sister Rosa, were sent to a Carmelite monastery in the Netherlands for their safety. They were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to Auschwitz where they were gassed on 9 August 1942.

Although Edyta was born in Breslau (now Wroclaw) in 1891 she spent much of her childhood in Lubliniec as it was the hometown of her grandparents.

I visited the Lubliniec Jewish cemetery yesterday. Originally the cemetery was divided into three plots: for men, women, and children. In all, 1,117 people were buried there.

©paulegreen_lubliniec5357

The Nazis devastated the cemetery during World War II and used the gravestones to pave the road from Lubliniec to Żuków. In 1958 the Polish national authorities took over the cemetery and  opened a driver training centre on the site. Fragments of gravestones were piled up in a few heaps.

Among those buried in the cemetery are the grandparents of Edyta Stein: Adelajda Courant and Salomon Courant  as well as Edyta’s elder brothers: Emst and Richard.

©paulegreen_lubliniec5336

The Bondi Gate Keeper, Michael Sweet

Portrait Photo of Michael Sweet Bondi 1/14 (Paul Evan Green +61412189771)

Michael Sweet is the Gate Keeper of Bondi. Year in and year out, day or night, Summer or Winter, he is stationed at one of two places along O’Brien Street. He is the first person we all see as we drive into Bondi from Old South Head Road.

His father was Polish and his mother Hungarian. Dad was an academic and mum a music teacher. His parents emmigrated to Australia after the Second World War.

He is a friendly and happy soul who enjoys company and conversation.

When I asked him why he sat in those two places he answered that they were the places he felt most safe.

Portrait Photo of Michael Sweet Bondi 1/14 (Paul Evan Green +61412189771    pgphoto@bigpond.net.au)

Selected  photos can be viewed or purchased from my website at

www.paulgreenphotovideoart.com

Artist in 2 of her 3 personae. Meet Gretel Pinniger and her Alter Ego Madam Lash.

I’ve known Gretel Pinniger for many years. These are 2 portraits I took of her one night at Florida House, Palm Beach in 1996.

Gretel Pinniger is a Sydney eccentric Artist. She grew up as a shy child who had been educated by nuns and almost became one herself. She is also know as Madame Lash, a stage name she invented while working as a stripper at the Paradise Club in Sydney's Kings Cross while studying fashion design during the 1970's. She became interested in S&M and worked as a dominatrix in the basement of her home in Forbes St Darlinghurst. Later she had the first shop in Sydney to supply and design high fashion leather bondage gear. She  has a love for Opera and in particular the music of Richard Wagner. she now paints 4 dimensional holograms in oil paint. (Paul Evan Green)

The first is Gretel as Gretel and the second is her alter ego Madam Lash.

Gretel Pinniger is a Sydney eccentric Artist. She grew up as a shy child who had been educated by nuns and almost became one herself. She is also know as Madame Lash, a stage name she invented while working as a stripper at the Paradise Club in Sydney's Kings Cross while studying fashion design during the 1970's. She became interested in S&M and worked as a dominatrix in the basement of her home in Forbes St Darlinghurst. Later she had the first shop in Sydney to supply and design high fashion leather bondage gear. She  has a love for Opera and in particular the music of Richard Wagner. she now paints 4 dimensional holograms in oil paint. (Paul Evan Green)

Gretel’s manifesto on Art will give you more of an idea about who she is:

Manifesto on Art

I believe that True Art comes only from the highest impulse within ourselves, which we must seek and find by a process involving Faith, Focus, Discipline and constant Practise. For me this is so exhilarating, blissful and such Fun, my dedicated wish is to share my views with as many people as possible.

I look to the example of the Greatest Masters of Art and Music to find what I seek to bring to the practise of Art. In company with them, I am concerned with only the most exalted subjects – Religious and Spiritual themes and Portraits of only the most highly vibrational individuals, usually themselves Musicians and Artists of all kinds and other people I admire as being well advanced on the path to human enlightenment. I celebrate their art and personal qualities with my own abilities, in the belief that I will leave behind me each time, a work which will give pleasure to many generations through contemplating what I do. I hope that they may know this person or this state as I do, through my art. Therefore for me ‘art’ concerned with misery, squalor and inhumanity, or portraits of unenlightened people or losers, suicides or murderers are not for me.

Although I have been painting for over 25 years, with new focus in the last 3 years, I have so far, never sold and hardly ever parted with any of my paintings. They are painted from the pure delight of doing so, and my belief that, that painting should exist.

I intend my works to be placed only in major public places where they may live after me, eg. Opera Houses and Galleries. The others stay with me and are to be incorporated into my larger ‘Works in Progress’, ‘The Kirk’ Cleveland St, Surry Hills and ‘Florida House’ Florida Rd, Palm Beach, both of these being large old stone buildings, now being transformed into live in Art Works where I seek to attract under my roof the energies of any and all like minded Art and Fun-Lovers on the basis of “The better you look, the better I look, the better we’ll all look”.

Gretel Pinniger,
a.k.a. Malame Lash and now
The Immaculate Lash

These photos were taken with a Rolleicord Twin Lens  camera which had a 75mm Carl Zeiss f3.5 Tessar Lens. This camera was manufactured from 1933 till 1976.

rolleicord1

The Tessar is a famous photographic lens design conceived by physicist Paul Rudolph in 1902 while he worked at the Zeiss optical company and patented by Zeiss; the lens type is usually known as the Zeiss Tessar.

A Tessar comprises four elements in three groups, one positive crown glass element at the front, one negative flint glass element at the center and a negative plano-concave flint glass element cemented with a positive convex crown glass element at the rear. He named the result “Tessar”, from the Greek word τέσσερα (téssera, four) to indicate a four-element design.

I bought this camera from Grace’s Camera Bargains in Victoria St Potts Point in Sydney in around 1993. I adapted it with a Prism Finder from a Mamiya c330 which was fun. I don’t know where the camera is now.

I used this camera for a number of other photos at that time including my “Bondi Rock” photowhere I painted the surface of the rock with light over a one hour exposure at night.

Bondi Rock,Sandstone,Photography of Bondi landscape by Paul Green,image Used as Ad for Kodak Tri-x film, Rolleicord camera (Paul Evan Green)

Selected  photos can be viewed or purchased from my website at

www.paulgreenphotovideoart.com