Sonja Junkers

Sonja Junkers


Sonja Junkers is a curator living and working in Berlin. In the past she has been building a collection of contemporary art and a little cultural institution in Jordan. At the moment she is part of Team 2038, and oversees the production of the exhibition for the German Pavilion at the 2020 Architecture Biennial in Venice. 

The red Tenda of Bologna

John Berger
The red Tenda of Bologna uncovers and distills the essence of Bologna. Including a lot of essential food contemplation.

The red Tenda of Bologna is John Berger's fragmented memoir about the food, art, people and beauty of Bologna as well as an intimate tribute to a beloved uncle, Edgar, about whom he writes: "I should begin with how I loved him, in what manner, to what degree, with what kind of incomprehension.” Bologna was a place dear to Edgar, and after his death Berger decides to visit the city, describing it in dreamy little vignettes: "In the Piazza Maggiore some steps lead up to the east face of the Basilica of St. Petronius, which, like many of Bologna's historic buildings is constructed in brick. For centuries people have sat on these steps to watch what's happening in the square and to notice the minute differences between yesterday and today. I'm sitting on these steps." The title of the book refers to red linen ubiquitous throughout the city: "I want to buy a length of this red tende linen. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Maybe I only need it to make this portrait. Anyway I'll be able to feel it, scramble it up, smooth it out, hold it against the sunlight, hang it, fold it, dream of what's on the other side." "And in the evenings Pleasure and Desolation take their evening stroll along the arcades and walk hand in hand."

Sonja Junkers

The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway
The novel is a roman à clef: the characters are based on real people in Hemingway's circle, and the action is based on real events. Hemingway first visited the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona in 1923, where he was following his recent passion for bullfighting.

Based on Hemingway’s motley circle of friends and real events, The Sun also Rises describes the Lost Generation, decadent, disillusioned, angsty and damaged by the horrors of the Great War. In 1924, a hard drinking, fast living group of British and American friends travels from Paris to Pamplona. The little town lies in the fiercely independent Basque region, apart from the rest of Europe and thus the Great War, and maybe therefor is attractive to the friends, who are constantly and aimlessly transiting from one place to the next. The Sun also Rises is a war-, as well as a love-story. Jake Barnes, an American journalist, who was badly injured and rendered impotent during WWI, is deeply in love with Brett, an aristocratic, beautiful femme fatale. Due to his impotence she refuses to have a relationship with him and he is forced to witness and accept her sexual promiscuity. In Pamplona they watch the corrida, the running of the bulls and the bullfights during the Fiesta de San Fermin and wander from bar to bar in a state of constant exhilaration and drunkenness. The loosely knit, highly dysfunctional family of Jake, Brett and their friends are incapable of expressing their feelings and emotions, except in a destructive or cynical manner or when they are insanely drunk (which they often enough are). They embark on fleeting romantic affairs, that leave them isolated, emotionally drained, heart broken and violently fighting each other. The novel finishes with Lady Brett saying: "Oh Jake… we could have had such a damn good time together", to which Jake replies: "Isn’t it pretty to think so?".

Sonja Junkers

I Love Dick

Chris Kraus
I Love Dick has an allure, like whispers about a dance club that only opened under the full moon, or an underground bar you needed a password to get into. Her indispensable novel reserves Chris Kraus a spot in the pantheon of feminist writers and, sideways, is a lovely tribute to the Marfa mind-set.

"Who gets to speak, and why, is the only question" asks Chris Kraus in her seminal novel I love Dick. Kraus, a 39 year old experimental filmmaker, and her husband Sylvère Lothringer, a 56 year old college professor from New York, meet Dick ___, an English cultural critic and a friendly acquaintance of Sylvère’s, for dinner. After a boozy night, where they "were all laughing a bit too loud", Chris falls in love with Dick, and decides to enter into a conceptual romance with him. On Sylvère's suggestion, he and Chris write Dick a series of letters, billets-doux, which go unanswered. Still, Chris continues to obsessively write to Dick, in the process creating a feminist manifest. "Why is the female vulnerability still only accepted when it’s neuroticized and personal; when it feeds back on itself? Why do people still not get it when we handle vulnerability like philosophy, at some remove?" Desire, vulnerability and rage form a passionate and witty melange of fiction, memoir, and philosophical / cultural critique. Chris Kraus herself called her genre-defying style Lonely Girl Phenomenology. In 2017 I love Dick was turned into a brilliant Amazon TV Series located in Marfa, rather than the novel's New York and LA, which I took as an opportunity to (re-)locate this little text for the purpose of this website...

Sonja Junkers

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