Rebecca Raue

leaving and arriving, 2014

Installation | Boats out of lacquered MDF board | 76 x 180 x 96 cm

Boats often travel through my paintings. I am fascinated by them, because they create a space; a me-space. A boat on the sea. A person on a boat. Maybe alone. Water all around. The boat is a mean of transportation, a shelter, maybe a home. One can steer a boat, set the sails. Nonetheless the boat is exposed to the sea and the wind. One can also make paper boats. To play with. To dream of vastness.

In 2014 the boat has gained for all of us a new – non-playful – reality. People have boarded boats to flee from their reality to another, to a supposedly better world. Many many have died and even just now, while I am writing these lines, many are in need. The dramas, which take place during the escape from war and fear, are – despite all the media coverage – hardly imaginable. Many images are so hard and overwhelming, the natural and comprehensible reflex is to shut down, to become cold-hearted.

Only when the exterior reflects itself in the interior it touches in the here and now. Without being strange thus overwhelming.
The boats in the installation »leaving and arriving« were built with MDF- plates by Africans, who have travelled with similar simply built boats across the Mediterranean Sea to Lampedusa and finally arriving in Berlin. Many others have drowned during the passage. The sea has swallowed them.

The structure of the boats resembles the classic paper boat. They associate with lightness but are still heavy. They associate with water but still have wheels to move around the room and to be played with. They are built in a way so people can sit inside them. They can be moved by others by pulling or pushing, therefore inviting to interaction. The sails of the boats are sewn in a Spartan way together from used men shirts. They also have a history. And they refer to a human destiny. The boats welcome the observer. They are not threatening. And still, they carry stories of escape and fear within them. Suffering and joy are universal. In order to act in a sustainable way we have to find a personal reference to the events that take place around us. The political has to become private for us to establish a personal relation despite the harshness of reality and consequently get really involved.

My spaces shall encourage people to deal with their internal spaces. I ask for more touchability. I believe in the quality of being-able-to-reveal. For that we need protected and quiet public spaces. We have to take care of each other, listen to each other, see each other. People are ready for the ones that are com- ing to us now, and they are ready to get in the boat. They offer to share the pain, to carry it together. They engage on a shared journey that will change us all. To allow to get touched on the inside and feel the joy of commitment at the same time is a moving a experience. There lies a big change in experiencing this.

Because if more people feel the longing of deep usefulness in their acting, thinking and being, old hierarchies will break away. We will then act together, supporting. And we will be aware, that ultimately we are all connected together.


These boats have been made in collaboration with Cucula.
Projcetwebsite CUCULA | Refugees Company


Rebecca Raue (*1976) lives and works in Berlin.