Ernst Altien

The 70ies

The 70ies is a little known period of the life of Ernst. He didnīt paint very much and travelled a lot. For some years he sailed on South America. He was very absorbed by the occult, which he only mentioned very shortly later. One day he told me about black magic: You might not believe in it, but after my stay at Haiti I am not so sure. But one thing I know for certain: Donīt mess with it, it is dangerous whether you believe in it or not.

I only know one painting from that period, which was brought to my knowledge recently by a man living in Husum, who had seen one of my advertisments searching art by Ernst Altien. It can be seen below, and I think there are some traces of the occult in it - and a terrible loss of control over the waste landscape. The painting has no title.






One day not so long ago I asked him: Did you really feel the story embedded in the painting?

He looked at me with some kind of understanding and said. 

Yes of course I did. I will bring you antother paiting fromt same period of my life. But donīt complain afterwards, I made the painting not the pictures in your mind. They belong to yourself. Donīt blame me for yourself. 

He might have said karma as a phrase from the old days, but he just went to his old red car and picked up a painting. I figured out he had planned to give it to me anyway. 

Here it is, he said, I call it The letter written by the Birds.  The title says it all. And then he cited an odd sentence: "If those who seek to lead  you say to you: 'See, the Kingdom is in heaven!' then the birds of heaven will be there before you. If they say to you: 'It is in the sea!' then the fish will be there before you. But the kingdom is within you and it is outside of you

Later I learned it was from the Gospel of Thomas, (logion 3)

I am not sure, I really got the meaning of his words. But I liked them. 



Letter written by the Birds.