Roland Stratmann


Ancient Greek word Pneuma (soul, wind, breath, air in motion) designates a human force, but at the same time points out a cosmological principle. According to its definition, pneuma means air in motion based on the body conceived in the physical sense. In his work titled PNEUMA, Stratmann refers to this meaning as form and content. He places plain white plastic bags in the courtyard and on the windows of the old Reformatory for Children. Because of the air circulation, they seem like they are dancing to the wind and breathing.

The walls and cells of the old Reformatory for Children still shadow out the fates of the children and adolescents once detained. What remains when the body is imprisoned and deprived of the freedom of movement, which it used to have? Can the thoughts remain free even when one is detained? Can an isolated person, who is completely deprived of conversations on thoughts with others and social exchange, continue to evolve? Are soul and body independent from one another? The artist pursues these questions through the dual installation that he produced for Sinopale.

In the courtyard of the prison there is a seemingly poetic installation, which consists of normal plastic bags. On each one of the bags the word TO THINK is written in 60 languages. This sea of white flags waving in the wind displays the variety and the unsteady richness of probable ways of thinking by the sole virtue of many translations of the word TO THINK.

The second installation is produced on the barred windows in the second floor of the Reformatory. In the preliminary phase for Sinopale, the artist asked questions to those who came to spend their holidays in Sinop and the citizens about their thoughts and asked them to write their answers on shopping bags. These writings are now hung there and represent the many thoughts that have never been revealed, faded away without being heard in this lugubrious place and forgotten forever.

A bundle of plastic bags, on which nothing had been written yet, completed the installation at the old Reformatory for Children. These bags had been used by many visitors of the exhibition and were decorated with their spontaneous reactions and emotional comments on the installation and the place.

The questions, asked to the participants that were to be answered by writing on the plastic bags at the space reserved for Roland Stratmann, were as follows:

What do you think right now?

What have you been thinking a lot about recently?

What was the most important thing that you have been thinking about within the last 24 hours?

What would you rather think about right now?

What would you like to think about most of the time?

What would you rather not think about at all?

What was the last thought that you shared with someone?