There are moments in life that are etched in the brain: like the first kiss or the first work of art you have acquired. I first came into contact with contemporary art in the mid-1980s, after moving to Cologne, having finished my studies in art history. It was certainly the best time to be living in Cologne, in the midst of an art boom. Luckily, I happened to live in an area where some good galleries had popped up (and where many artists lived as well). I didn‘t have any money, but looking doesn‘t cost anything. I saw the first Weltempfänger (World Receiver) by Isa Genzken and was completely electrified by it, but I was living hand to mouth.

© Illustration Florentin Aisslinger

A while later, I received my first modest paycheck and went to an exhibition of drawings by Raymond Pettibon. I‘d never heard of him but I was immediately excited by his work. Without giving it a second thought, I bought two ink drawings. I still live with them today, as well as with the Helmut Lang outfit I bought back then (though I am more like Marie Kondo and sort out almost everything), if only because I sensed a great intellectual behind the cut and minimalism. In the years following, I was lucky enough to meet the artists Pettibon, Genzken, and Helmut Lang in person. But it was their geist, their creative spirit, that I sensed in their work and recognized immediately without knowing a thing about them. That‘s the magic of art