During the lockdown, I set up an easel in my kitchen and painted small paintings of the view from my window. My window faces a modern Plattenbau of apartments, and looks east down the wide avenue of Karl Marx Allee. Before the lockdown, every morning, I’d watch people heading west, biking to work, bringing their children to school, or descending into the U-Bahn station, and then the whole movement repeating itself in the evening only in the other direction. From one week to the next, this human flow stopped, and I had the strange feeling that the outside world began to look like some of my paintings of empty street scenes. The traffic light, bus stop, and U-Bahn station became the only protagonists in this empty stage set. By day the sun shone in an almost cloudless blue sky and by night, stars twinkled brightly in a new, smog-free world. When I later returned to the studio to work on this large painting of a Berlin construction site, I found it going in a different direction, more surreal and imaginary than my usual body of work. Everything is material and living through the pandemic has added another layer of meaning to the work. The title refers to the strategy stage actors use to avoid being distracted by the audience. They imagine a fourth wall there, and thus  become completely surrounded by this constructed world.

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