The starting point. The idea for the project.

Nebraska's state sign
"I have created the mail-art project "Fernweh..the good life" on the occasion of an 6-week artist-residency in Nebraska City,NE/USA at the KHN Center for the Arts

Nebraska City is a small town in the Midwest where the horizon is pretty wide and the sky is big. Nebraska City, the so-called "gateway to the West", the  "Wild West", the Great Plains, the native country of the Plains Indians and many bison. Along with the homestead act and the construction of the railroad across the plains a lot of European farmers rushed in to settle the land in the hopes of finding a new and better life, a good life...  

With this in mind I invited a selected group of international visual artists and writers to send a postcard to me in Nebraska with their very own interpretation of "Fernweh..the good life" Text,drawing, collage,print,photograph,painting - everything is possible. Every artist/writer was asked to add some lines about their personal definition of "the good life" on the postcard's back side. In return, every participant will receive a similar, one-of-a-kind postcard made by me from Nebraska City. 

Right after my arrival in Nebraska City I deicded to extend the project and launched an open call to participate for the people from Nebraska. This Blog is a documentation of all postcards I received during my stay Nebraska City." Anke Becker

Johannes Buchholz

A belated poscard from JOHANNES BUCHHOLZ. "Rüttenscheid Gute Zeit" (Rüttenscheid is part of the town Essen in the Ruhr region of Germany. "Gute Zeit" means "good times")

Johannes is a visual artist and draughtsman from Berlin / Germany - He teaches at "Institut für Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft, Universität Duisburg-Essen" for 3 days a week, therefore he often travels by train from Berlin to Essen and vice versa.

Susanne Schirdewahn

A Fernweh-card from SUSANNE SCHIRDEWAHN, sent from Berlin to my Berlin adress, along with a corresponding homesickness - postcard. I got to know Susanne he first time some month after my stay in Nebraska City and invited her to take part at the project nevetheless. We met during an interview she with me about the Anonymous Drawings Project last summer.

Susanne is an extremly mulitfacated artist: She writes, draws and paints. Her newspaper columns for Berliner Zeitung are always fun to read - they show a lot of her fine sense of humor matched by a great sensibility for the people she talks with.

Ilse Ermen

Another postcard from ILSE ERMEN. Life is good! Ilse took the motive of an original postcard from Ann Arbour, Michigan / 1995

Christiane Küchler Williams

A Fernweh-letter from Christiane Küchler Williams - a late arrival, after I left Nebraska. Christiane and I went to school together, she found me after 25 years through this project and sent these thoughtful lines.

Missy H. Dunaway

A postcard from Missy H. Dunaway, a visual artist, currently living in New York. Missy and I met at the Vermont Studio Center in 2011 - she had her studii right next to mine.  When we met at VSC Missy worked on huge watercolours with feathers.
In 2013 Missy was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant for Painting in Turkey where she studied Anatolian textiles and learned how to weave traditional kilims and knotted pile carpets. In 2014 she was awarded a John Anson Kittredge Educational Grant to extend her research abroad. She made a book with ink drawings about her traveling experiences "Standing in Asia, Looking at Europe, Thinking of New York"


Anne Hölck & Gian Manuel Rau

"stamps for postcards I never sent to people I know"
"stamps from postcards sent by people I do not know"

ANNE HÖLCK and GIAN MANUEL RAU sent me two postcards in 1 envelope. Concept art with stamps. Anne and Gian Manuel frequently work together on various theater-productions in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France. Anne is a stage- and costume designer and a curator for (often) animal-related art and text. She initiated the art project we,animals. Gian Manuel is a director, performance artist and photographer. Both of them live around the corner and we run into each other quite often, luckily. Anne and I know each other for ages, since our early days in Berlin - and I am very happy about this fact.

"In a world without melancholy the nightingales would start belching"
 (quotation of the romanian philosopher Emil Cioran)


Janine Sack

A postcard from JANINE SACK, sent from Berlin, Germany. Janine is a graphic designer, artist and teacher and has worked in Germany, Sweden and the Uk. Between 2008 and 2013 she was art Director for the weekly newspaper „der Freitag“. She creates newspapers, magazines, websites and books. Janine received numerous awards for the design for „der Freitag“ and scholarships for her work as an artist. Since 2014 she is part of the publishing house The Green Box. "The Green Box strives to translate works of art into the medium of the book, so that the distinction between the works and their documentation becomes blurred." Janine and I  regularily meet within the context of damensalon berlin. Same as me Janine is one of the members of damensalon. We prepare monthly dinners inviting changing guests to join us for meandering conversations over abundant meals and drinks.

"The good life is utopian -  always related to a projection,
whether for the afar or for home, which possibly never was
what it seemed to be from the distance."


Ralf Krause

There are still postcards arriving - weeks after my departure from Nebraska, thank you Pat for scanning all these stragglers! Here is a postcard from RALF KRAUSE, my neighbour since the day I moved to my apartment house in Berlin, 1992. Ralf was born 1948 in Storkow (Brandenburg). He is a musician and a composer with a strong passion for flamenco-guitar. Actually, Ralf "Don" Krause is one of the best and most famous flamenco-guitarists of the former GDR. Yes, in the socialist times of East Germany existed a very active Flamenco scene - and Ralf was a fundamental part of it. After the fall of the Berlin wall, Ralf started to work in several film and theater projects, as a composer, musician and performer. He had a intense, long-time collaboration with the theater-director Jo Fabian.

"Dear Anke, thank you for the reminder to depart once again."
Ralf lives  with his partner Traudl Kupfer and their dog Django. I can see their kitchen window as I am watching out of my kitchen window. Having cool long-time neighbors like Ralf, Traudl and Django is definitely a great thing. It makes me feel at home. Some music samples and more info about Ralf can be found here: http://www.ralf-don-krause.de/tonproben.html


Traudl Kupfer

A postcard from TRAUDL KUPFER, sent from Berlin, Germany.  Since 2001 Traudl is working freelance as project manager, editor, lector, interpreter as well as website conceptioner. Traudl lives in the same apartment house as me - I am in the side wing and she lives together with her partner Ralf in the rear building. Traudl & Ralf have a cute, fluffy dog called Django. You see him and his mistress on the postcard, meditating about Fernweh and the good life.



Lutz Bielefeld

Another two, belated postcards from LUTZ BIELEFELDT. These cards have been sent from Vienna, Austria. The Austrian postal service seems to be less efficient than the one in Egypt. (Lutz mailed his first postcard from Cairo, and it arrived way before I left Nebraska City)

"Dear Anke, Bananas,  pure oil, and a beautiful car. What else could you want!"

"One Ferneweh-milestone, or - to be more precise- a couple of them!"


Carlos Silva

A postcard from CARLOS SILVA, a Berlin based artist. This postcard arrived in Nebraska City 1 week after my departure. A late, colorful surprise for the nice people at the art center. Carlos was born adn raised in Cali, Colombia. He studied architecture and fine arts in Bogota. 1999 Carlos moved to Berlin, where he lives and works ever since. Carlos is visual artist and a furniture designer. His art can be seen here and the furniture design here. If one day it will rain money for me, I would buy his white "Bücherregal S01" right away, along with one of his colorful mazy motion-paintings…

Carlos and I  know each other because we live in the same neighborhood and we have a couple of mutual friends and interests. Carlos' studio ins located a the Ateliergemeinschaft Milchhof, same as Inken Reinert, Heike Gallmeier, Marc Haselbach and Elisabeth Sonneck, who sent postcards to Nebraska as well. Carlos also contributed several times work of his for my Anonymous Drawings Project. Besides his art, architecture & furniture design Carlos loves soccer: not only watching the games on TV, but  he is also as an enthusiastic soccer-coach for kids. http://carlossilva.org


The day I left Nebraska City to head home to Berlin again - February 27-  I received this lovely note written by Elizabeth Stehling, the director of KHN Center for the arts. I opened it while sitting in the plane from Omaha to Chicago with the view on the wide Great Plains from a the bird's eye view.

Thanks to Elizabeth and her assistant Pat and all the nice people of Nebraska City I really felt at home in this place far away from my home in Berlin. Time slipped by so quickly and when I had to leave I barely could imagine that six weeks were already over. I loved my time at the KHN Center for the arts in Nebraska City! The participation in the Fernweh*goodlife project and the support of the local community was an unique and overwhelming experience to me. I only can say: THANK YOU & DANKE, dear Elisabeth & Pat, thank you Kimmel Foundation for making this project and this residency possible, and thanks to ALL OF YOU who sent me your postcards. They made every single day of my residency. My special thanks go to the Nebraska City post-office and the mailman Bill Witte. I already miss you all! The community of Nebraska City and the great people of the KHN Center for the arts have a special and beloved place in my heart.


Nanne Meyer

A postcard from NANNE MEYER, sent from Japan, where she currently travels. Nanne is a Berlin based artist, born 1953 in Hamburg. She studied at the HfbK Hamburg. After here studies she was awarded a DAAD Stipend in London, where she studied animation at the Saint Martins School of Art. In 1986–87 she was awarded with a one-year stipend at the Deutsche Akademie Villa Massimo in Rome, after which she lived in Frankfurt/Main for several years. In 1993 she moved to Berlin, where since 1994 she teaches as Professor at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee. In 2013 she received the women artists' prize NRW for drawing and in 2014 the Hannah-Höch Preis in Berlin. Nanne is one of the first women artists of the postwar generation who works primarily in drawing. La Grand Dame of German drawing!

"Fernweh Good Life From Japan! I hope my Japanese with the Fuji rock will reach you at far away Nebraska. You don't necessarily have to move mountains. If you dress as a rock (German: rock=skirt) the mountains  move along with you. This way heaviness becomes ease - if that is not the good life!" Nanne's and my paths cross quite often - always when it comes to drawing-related exhibitons and tand events. Nanne has also been invited to damensalon, where we spent a nice and long evening with Stefka Ammon, Veronike Hinsberg, Inken Reinert, Eva-Christina Meier, Nina Torwart and Kertin Gottschalk. A night of meadering talking about meandering drawing and other things, over a delicious dinner and some drinks. http://nannemeyer.de

Ben Watkins

A Fernweh drawing from BEN WATKINS, sent from Peru, Nebraska. Ben is a student at the Peru State College. Right, this Peru is not located in the Andes. It is just 20 min away from Nebraska City. No skyscrapers there, but the Missouri River and a lot of open land around it!

Ryan Christiansen

A Nebraska-Fernweh drawing from RYAN CHRISTENSEN sent from Peru, Nebraska. RYAN is a student at the Peru State College and he calls the city of Omaha his home.

Inken Reinert

Das schöne Leben = the good life: Available in 40 brilliant colors! A postcard from INKEN REINERT, sent from Berlin Germany. Inken alread sent another postcard a the beginning of my stay in Nebraska. More about her and her work, can bee seen here. Next Sunday, March 15, Inken and her art will be guest at Sonntag Berlin. Sonntag is a social sculpture that takes place the third Sunday afternoon of every month in Berlin, Germany. For each event an artist is invited to show his/her work in a private apartment. The artist's favorite cake is made by April Gertler and Adrian Schiesser and is served with coffee and tea. Inken's favorite cake is a Sachertorte (sacher cake). I loveSachertorte, too and  I will definitely be there, next Sunday!

".. and sometimes the good life tucked around the back of Fernweh, but you always can retrieve it, every moment!"

Halsey Volkmer

A postcard from Halsey Volkmer, sent from Nebraska City, NE

Thank you, Halsey!

Alex Klenz

A postcard from ALEX KLENZ, a Berlin based visual artist. He was born 1974 in Bützow, Mecklenburg, Germany. We studied at the same art school, Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee. Alex has quite an affinity to drawing and collaborative projects, which is were we often meet -  literally and as like-minded artists. Alex is the co-founder of the artist group Tennis Elephant and the co-operative gallery Andreas Wendt. In December 2014 a book titled AEOU with a collection of Alex' drawings has been published. Besides art and drawing Alex likes hiking and other sporty activities.

"Dear Anke, the good life exixts. - good luck!"

Kyle Berglund

A postcard-collage from KYLE BERGLUND, sent from Peru, Nebraska. Kyle is a student at the Peru State College. He compiled some Nebraska essentials: Cornfields, a Huskers game, an event with the Kool Aid Man involved, a big sky and and a wide landscape. There are some decent mountains in Nebraska, too!


Katharina Hinsberg

A postcard from KATHARINA HINSBERG, sent from Neuss, Germany. Katharina is a visual artist with a focus on drawing and installations "posing fundamental questions about time, space, and the subjectivity of drawing."  Her work has been widely exhibited in Germany and abroad. Since 2011 Katharina is a professor for conceptual painting at the HBK Saar. She and her work is represented by the gallery Werner Klein in Cologne. 

Katharina and her family live close to Düsseldorf, at the Raketenstation Hombroich which is part of the Museum Insel Hombroich, which was founded by the art collector Karl-Heinrich Müller in 1987."In creating this unique ensemble of art, architecture and landscape, he was true to the tenet of the Impressionist Paul Cézanne – ‘art in parallel to nature’. Museum Insel Hombroich is a special place, away from the bustle of daily routine and fashionable trends. It is an invitation to enter into the adventure of a direct encounter with art and nature. The Museum dispenses with signposts altogether – visitors are free to find their own way in the extensive parkland and make their own discoveries of art and nature alike. This freedom of the spirit is at the heart of the Museum’s particular charm. A day at Museum Insel Hombroich wakens the senses." Last spring Katharina invited Inken Reinert, her sister Veronike Hinsberg an me to stay in her Hombroich-studio in for one week last spring while she was in Italy. Thanks to Katharina's hospitality we were able to create a collaborative drawing, surrounded by the beautiful landscape, the parks of the Hombroich island, the impressive architecture by and the eclectic collection of art.


Ralf Käselau

A postcard from RALF KÄSELAU, sent from Berlin Germany. Ralf is a scenographer and costume designer. He studied stage design at the HdK Berlin with Prof. Achim Freyer. Afterwards he assisted at Schaubühne Berlin. He worked for several theaters in Germany and in Switzerland, such as Schauspiel Frankfurt, Nationaltheater Weimar, Staatsoper Berlin, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Theater Basel and many more.  One of Ralf's the latest productions was Claude Debussy's "Pelléas et Mélilsade" at Theater Heidelberg, a collaboration with the director Lorenzi Fioroni.

Ralf and I met through our friend Moritz Nitsche during the time at art school in the 90s. Ever since we are close friends and we share many mutual memories and experiences. Above all we pretty much agree about our taste in music.

Steve Snell

A postcard from STEVE SNELL sent from Hastings, Nebraska/USA. Steve is a visual artist and a performance artist: "I like to call my art practice adventure art.  I use the term to describe a performance-based action of adventure, in which I (or someone else) use creativity and imagination to have an exciting and remarkable experience.  These adventures are then transformed through various artistic and popular media in order to build a mythology and share the story with others. Adventure art is an attempt to live life as though it were a movie or at least present the image that it is one."

Steve's adventure art is currently on display at the KHN Center for the Arts in Nebraska City: "Welcome to Adventure Art" He created an immersive art installation for the KHN gallery: Video documentations of his adventures, paintings, watercolors, and various artifacts -  all installed on wood-covered exhibition walls. Steve worked on this complex and detailed installation for quite a while. I saw it growing during my time as a resident artist at KHN.  For the opening reception of this show Steve brought a some of his students of the Hastings College where he teaches painting, digital media, art history, and adventure-art.  Among his students are Jasmine Radetski, Pat Nelsen, Katherine Arias, Lauren Maystrick, Jessica Gonzalez, Lauren Shomaker, Ryann Swanson and Luke Ervin.  http://www.steve-snell.com/

Ryann Swanson

A postcard from RYANN SWANSON sent from Hastings, Nebraska/USA.
 Ryann is an Art Student at the Hastings College and lives in Grand Island, NE.

Luke Ervin

A postcard from LUKE ERVIN sent from Hastings, Nebraska/USA.

Luke is an Art Student at the Hastings College, NE.

Charlie Kearns aka Beijing Charlie

A postcard from CHARLIE KEARNS a.k.a. Beijing Charlie, sent from Zanesville, Ohio. Charlie was born in Zanesville. He graduated from USC 1998. Lived in Los Angeles from 1976 to 1988 and In 1994 appeared in The Shawshank Redemption. Back to LA again from 1996 to 2002. In 2008 created the world's largest single letter art installation and also became "Beijing Charlie" after a residency in China, 2012.

Charlie is a humorist, actor and video-performance artist. I met him 2011 at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson,VT. At that time there were construction works on main street. It was a big deal and there were a lot of orange cones scattered in the small town. On this occasion Charlie and Alec MacLeod created the collaborative "Orange Cone Project", in which MacLeod -as critic Andrew White - critiques Beijing Charlie's large scale installation piece. The short video, "Chaos and Order in Johnson Vermont," satirizes contemporary art criticism. On the related cone-blog you can submit your images of orange cones. I did this, twice. Sometimes these cones are placed in the strangest spots, for unknown reasons.