Journey to Nowhere Lands

Djonam Saltani – Journey to Nowhere Lands as a Response to the Impassable Horizons in Hollow Skulls, 23. Januar – 13. März 2015


 or an essay to relate my experience during my solo show at the Tiefgarage, beginning of 2015.

Show where I lived for two months and a half in the Gallery and attempt to make a work in progress, and conveyed the public to 4 main events, but left the door open to anyone wishing to visit me during that time.The reason why I intend to describe all of it, is because of the singularity of this artistic experience in. It felt like a proper Journey of the mind and therefore if i wouldn’t deliver its narration, it would be as if Daniel Defoe never took the step to tell the story of Alexander Selkirk

                                                                                                               December the 7th 2014


I was offered  to do a Solo Show as the first artist invited in the “Tiefgarage“, a new gallery project in the middle of Cologne,Germany.

The person who initiated the “Tiefgarage” project, is a curator that had in mind to run a Gallery against the tide of what we often cross in the art scene.

Quoting its Curator Maria Wildeis : “My purpose is to open an underground  platform for radical, expansive and large imaginary art forms. We will say Goodbye to modesty and reduction and say hello to the formal and intellectual diversity. As all  exhibitions taking place, will meet with performances and concerts. The Ebertplatz underground  will examine the discourse – conversation- dialogue  generated by such  conjunction all along its event program.”

Since i arrived in Cologne in July 2010, not having an Atelier was an issue concerning my practice as an artist. For About three years, i developed  an Urban semi-nomadic drawing activity.I accumulated a lot of drawings, and have been invited to realize series of sculptures in cardboard for various events.

It was a time in my life where i was not expecting any professional possibility to show my work in a decent frame. The invitation came a little bit like a shock, it was exciting and scary.

                                                                                                              December the 15th 2014


I was given the keys of the Gallery some weeks before New Years Eve, and was still wondering how should i use these 3 months of exhibition; having so much time and complete “carte blanche” to do what I desire, was also tempting in order to present some of my work and make some business, selling a few drawings, ceramics or cardboard artifacts.

Was I to present the body of work I developed since my arrival in Germany ? or Was I to use this Time Frame and Space in order to create something New ?

An acquaintance of mine Roland Schmitz told me to use this opportunity in order to experiment with my work, because reducing this opportunity to bring objects and pictures, rehashing an accrochage and attending my own vernissage, expecting some fame and gold was really inappropriate.

Damn,Right !!!! My Choice was made, I would invest this new space and create the most crazy Installation, i ever did……..

Sorry to disappoint you, potential reader but the story doesn’t stop here, and i will not start to post videos and photos of the Show, right now.

I need some more time to explain what followed.

Having deciding what would be the outcome of my solo-show, the point was now to find what golden thread would i follow to create the most challenging installation……

But It is not an Easy task, being free to decide what to do, revealed itself much complex than i thought.

When you participate to collective shows, working with others always implies following a thematic, sharing the space, and other restrictions that makes the work very interesting.

but when you are the only captain on board, where start and stop your journey.

in my head, I sketched a few possible cardboard installation ideas.

Why not A Zoo ?


Better, A car Crash !

against all odds, eventually The T.N.M.T Sewer Lair:

Or a Version of Kurt Schwitter’s MerzBau with Chimeras Spawning out  Dark Fantasy Creatures :



                                                                                                                        January  1st 2015


Ebertplatz is quite an uncommon place in Köln, it’s a location attracting very different kind of energies and people depending of the time. A Brut Kaleidoscope of Beton and Bushes, offering acces to the subway, the Bus, A Park,  4 art galleries, 2 African Bars, Open Space to wander, A meeting Point for GanjAmateurs, a MonuMetal Fountain Out of Use, 4 Escalators out of Order, a copy-shop, and public toilets.

it was the first of January 2015 that i really invested with my “presence” the gallery. The gallery is composed of two rooms, one hidden and one exposed to the passerby with its two large glass walls, the typical showcase display for galleries or boutiques.

Finding myself there, and having made my mind up to live in the gallery during the time of the exhibition; I started reconsidering my working approach.

I directly had the desire to put myself at risk, and to use the space in order to really interact with the people, or at least to constantly give the people something to witness,  since i was exposed to their eyes.

But Performing a visual dialogue, between the Artist, Boxed in a Showcase, and the Street as a boiling life force is not something you can improvise so easily. You might have the Wild Heart but do you have the Balls ?

Like this Guy….


Or this Guy….

Trying to work inside a space that is exposed to anyone, requires a huge amount of confidence. You know, people pass by, they hurry to work and nothing will distract them from their path, unless you drive them to make a detour.

Behind glass walls, you feel as ready to be consumed like any other Sales display, it makes it very hard to compose yourself and start any activity that will therefore attracts the bugged eyes of Normality.

I ,sure, got too Cocky on the spot, thought i could conquer the heart of every passengers and strange people of this town, while just summoning  Candeur et Désinvolture.

Ebertplatz offers also shelter to another community of beings that often seems to disturb the calm and order, certain citizens avoid to accept as part of the Big picture.

Homeless people and Drunkards hang around and gather themselves at the corner of one the Four galleries of Ebertplatz.

The feeling of constantly being observed grew in me and I became unable to withstand this Face to Face.


I could not help  feeling  sham(an)-Ashamed. It was like I had the privilege to be surrounded with tons of cardboard. Locked in a space, spying through the Glass while avoiding exchange of glares and glances with marginals  trying their best to survive as a pack, in the cold winter’s Heart.

I crawled back into retreat.

The Back Room of the Gallery became my Lair, cold nurturing womb allowing me to come to terms with my incapacity to start this adventure and reflect to the complexity of Human interactions.

The Only solution was then to follow the steps: first, to go in hiding  and  secondly, hoping to find the best way of taming the energies and the context of this Uncanny Place.

                                                                                                                 January the 2st 2015


That Night,still hang-over from Sylvester…. I couldn’t point where this loud techno music  was coming from  ….some basement weird club, I never heard of…and it haunted my sleep, as i dreamt of  the nowhere to-be-found creepy staircase leading to this awfully loud place…….. It would have been enough if besides around 10 in the morning, some crazy street musician hadn’t have the wonderful idea to start playing Saxophone for 2 hours.

Awake but stranded by the cold, I pathetically lurked in and out of my sleeping bag, the whole day, …Something small happened, the kind of unexpected spark that lit the rest of the journey and shows you which path to follow.

Shivering from the cold, It could have been enough if besides around 10 in the morning, some crazy street musician hadn’t had the wonderful idea to start playing Saxophone for 2 hours.

Pulled by Hunger from the Tiefgarage, I went hunting at the supermarket, switched the Boiler, Sat in the empty and stared at my thoughts reflecting the world i seemed to be cut of from…..

then Something happen…the kind of unexpected spark that lit the dark depths and unveil the concealed path you are meant to follow.

Leaving all my phantasms on the side, I intend to sketch on a paper the gallery and as an attempt to map the future sculpture/installation meant to fill this space. I started by the front door, then the windows and quickly i was already more trying to play with the perspective than to practically schematize the whole concept.

The Ideas kept on banging and rushing after each others, till Break-Point.

It was clear to me that, all my being and all my experiences, always brought me back to same point, and while it seemed obvious, i always tend to block it up.

I am a spontaneous person, and with all the respect due to Plans and people who can make ones, It seems to be against my nature. Everyone has a role to play, or specific qualities, and you might from time to time regret, that your skills don’t match those of others you admire.

When it comes to this point, you should accept and endorse what your nature is made of, and make the best of what your strong points are, while leaving to others what they are good at.

And that doesn’t make you less worthy, it sound simple, but it’s a pretty hard step to make in one’s life, or work, or choices.

I was already envisioning the really cool painting i could draw, if i seriously let myself imbued by the architecture of this old boutique.

i threw the piece of paper, as well as any other plan involving oversized installations predefined by my will.

I cut a larger piece of cardboard, as if guided by the energies inside the room,

I did this.


Small Step indeed, but against all odds, those are the type of surprising event or action that help pave the way to something bigger.

It might sound like i am building too much confidence, but i deeply wish to anyone, in this life, to experience such moments more than once, whatever the context may be.

Sometimes, things can happen in your life, or in the choices you make, where it simply feels as if, in this particular moment, you were actually having a dialogue with the energies surrounding you. Some call it Intuition, but Intuition is often revered as something coming from inside you, but it is the world sending you signals.

When you bear a gaze to the world, and the world is actually gazing back at you. It is vital to reverse your position, and become the matter of the question instead of the subject trying to solve its enigma. Only then you can realize that it is the Universe that holds the keys, as well as your Self in its immensity.

From a plane to a structure, just as  in nature and in our minds, things are created the same way.

i was then unfolding my Pandora Box, from 2D to 3D, I started building a model of my working space. An Heart-ifact beating at the center of what will follow for the next two months.


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