There were the Ibugs, when the duck became a common gag in the brownfield. Loomed on all kinds of walls with sayings in its beak. We met this duck again and again. This time, she is not there. But there are other forms. They stay close to the ground, about the size of a child, some with masks, others with helmets. Like visitors from faraway worlds …

There were the Ibugs, when the duck became a common gag in the brownfield. Loomed on all kinds of walls with sayings in its beak. We met this duck again and again. This time, she is not there. But there are other forms. They stay close to the ground, about the size of a child, some with masks, others with helmets. Like visitors from far away worlds instead of the duck pond next door. But the red dots and circles also catch you over and over again on walls and floors. “This time, more artists dared to enter the whole building with their work instead of staying in a corner,” explains Rahel Pötschke of the Ibug association. He now invites you to the largely abandoned former colored paper factory in Flöha: the 16th edition of the Ibug will open its doors to visitors from this Friday.

Ibug means brownfield redesign and is an urban art festival. To this end, the Ibug association uses a fallow land in Saxony as a temporary exhibition space once a year. Guest artists paint and spray paintings and graffiti on the walls in the weeks leading up to the start of the exhibition, and build installations or multimedia works in the rooms. This time there are 60 artists, many from Germany, but also, for example, from Austria, France, Belgium, Poland, Finland and the United States.

The red dots and circles are by Philip Wallisfurth. He lives in Berlin and previously worked under the name Senor Schnu. This Flöha factory – which has existed here since 1878 – went through so many different eras that he wanted to take it over, he says. And since he’s currently doing abstract work, he took his spray cans and handed out his dots and circles. For him, they represent time, circles are also a symbol of life. And so goes by, time rolls around in this house, “and at some time, when a new time dawns here, these dots will also disappear again.”

Other artists have also referred to the factory, including Glauchau’s Freizeitgruppe Gestaltung in several works. The crumpled, pink-gray colored paper is adorned with graffiti on the wall – although it could also be a pink dwarf, a colored paper with a life of its own – and continues to get lost in real pieces of paper on the floor. In general: this factory, say the artists. It differs a lot from other branches! No broken windows, and there are still piles of colored papers lying around, along with machines and paper rolls. They must have swept a little, nothing else, say the people of Ibug. They found the rooms as if they were still working on a large scale, as they did 30 years ago. They left a lot of it there, Pötschke says. As historical witnesses. Or as an art formed only by time. You have also conducted interviews with former workers which will be shown in the form of films on the Ibug. The serious problems are showing, the lost work, the upheaval in the labor market.

But overall, the Ibug can expand the heart with its color and playfulness. The fabric hanging from the ceiling sparkles and sparkles in yellow-green-blue tones, from which fishing lines are actually made. They built a skate track based on the width and color of the paper rolls, among other things. And Leipzig artist Bond Truluv painted two huge hands on a wall – with his own fingers instead of a brush or a can, Pötschke explains. He used special gloves with paint nozzles on his fingers. Bond often talks about innovation, Pötschke says, in a sense he’s a toy. Like many other artists here.

Perhaps this is why you rarely come across political art – and this in these times! But there is. In one installation, for example, Chiara Dahlem from Luxembourg deals with torture and surveillance. And on one of the exterior facades, artist Vesuv from Berlin painted a very still image with a sun, sea, and orange life jacket letters floating inside. “While waiting” is written in the sun, the English word translates to “while waiting” and you can read it in such a way that while we are grappling with Corona and the climate crisis, people are still on the run and at risk of drown in the sea.

A walk on the Ibug is a bit like real life. It often seems colorful and cheerful to us, but also always brings up dark sides. And so time flies with us – like the dots in the colored paper mill.

The Ibug at Buntpapierfabrik Flöha, Augustusburger Straße 118, is open from August 27 to 29, September 3 to 5 and 10 to 12 – Fridays from 3.30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Saxon Crown Protection Ordinance applies, tickets are available for slots. They are available online in advance, the remaining tickets are available on site. www.ibug-art.de

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