Spilled Guts from Erni Bär, Germany--Art, Literature, and a Dental Hygiene Device

When a package shows up with Erni waving, the cover of Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac's book, and a tooth brush taped to one side,  you know that package is going to contain some old school rock star stuff.

From the chunks of the busted up novel to the 3-dimensional collage, Erni's work pops. I especially liked finding the copper coins and golden paper inside the matchbox. Even though the word desolation is all over the place, Erni has added bits of happiness (the angel aspect) in the form of glitter, a smiling star, his smiling self, and colorful paper. Opening up the collaged folder (like a book or a menu) I found:

Erni chose to include the contents of the book and the first page of part four in which we find Jack heading back to America from Europe feeling "shamefaced, dull-hearted, scowling, ragged and nuts." And yet Jack, like Erni, seems determined to find the angel in everything. Take a look at these angel-filled décollages Erni slipped in the green folder:

On the back of the green folder, Erni glued the back cover of Kerouac's book"

"Live, travel, adventure, bless and don't be sorry." A fine way to end a very hip mail art ensemble. Quintessential Erni, I'd say. Danke sehr.




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Comment by Jen Staggs on January 28, 2011 at 1:17am
This is amazing- the ancient Etruscans used to leave coins and small strips of gold as offerings to the Oracle.  They were often buried in specific arrangements that add meaning to the oracular deposits.  What a trove left for the Wise Bifidus!
Comment by Karen Champlin on January 27, 2011 at 9:33pm
Great work, Erni.  Excellent blog Bifidus!  Just a nice package all around.
Comment by Bifidus Jones on January 27, 2011 at 9:32pm

Katerina and I were talking the other day how spot-on C.P. Cavafy's poem, ITHACA is about how to live life. It's full of references about Homer's story THE ODYSSEY, about Odysseus returning home from the Trojan war. I think Kerouac and Erni might agree:



As you set out for Ithaca
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.
Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on January 27, 2011 at 8:52pm
Wow! What a great balance Erni does with the fine design of tape and red pieces, sparkle, etc..and then pow, the rip/torn images. Thesis/antithesis! Love it! Also love Kerouac, "Live, travel, adventure, bless and don't be sorry"...and when you start on your journey to Ithaca, then pray that the road is looooong ;-) Thanks for sharing, Bifidus, great blog, too!
Comment by De Villo Sloan on January 27, 2011 at 8:48pm
Great blog Bifidus, and a great package from Erni. "Desolation Angels" holds it all together somehow, but I'm not sure how exactly, as it has been so long since I read it. If Erni reads this, is this the novel that use Gary Snyder as a character?



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