The “Reiterhaus” in Neusalza-Spremberg

Haus1 002

Another pencil sketch by Svend Keller, from August 9th, 1948. The caption reads “Neusalza Spremberg Reiterhaus”. Neusalza Spremberg is a village just at the border between Saxony and Czechia. This is where the father of Rolf Keller’s mother Gabriele Hünlich, Friedrich Wilhelm Hünlich, came from. Her mother, Rosa Plocek, was from Czechia.

So while the year before, Svend Keller had visited Heidmühlen where the ancestors of his mother came from, one year later he visited Neusalza Spremberg on the trail of his father’s ancestors, although the family was not from this particular house.

The Reiterhaus that is shown on the sketch, is today a local museum (see It was built in 1670. The name refers to the depiction of a horse rider fixed to one side. This is hardly visible on the sketch but if you know where it is, by comparing it with the pictures from the museum’s web site, you can see that it is at least hinted at on the sketch. This house was built in the style of “Umgebindehaus”. In such houses, the upper part of the house rests on the pillars at the side, while the rooms downstairs are not directly connected to it. Typically there are arches at the windows in order to carry the weight of the upper part of the house. One theory why these houses are built like this is that the noise of the looms that where typically operated in these houses would not be propagated upstairs so strongly, so people could weave while other members of the family were sleeping. Another advantage seems to be that this way of building leads to a relatively stable room climate which is also thought to be advantageous for weaving. However that might be, all of the known male ancestors of Friedrich Wilhelm Hünlich (from the Hünlich and Hempel families) had actually been weavers, although he himself was a clerk at a district court.

Six Generations later, my sister Christine returned to the profession of our Saxon ancestors and became a weaver (and textile designer and textile artist) again.




The Asifoscope


I like hand-made things and I like textile art. Besides my interest in abstract art, one reason for this is probably that my sister Christine Keller, now living and working in New Zealand, is a textile designer and weaver.

Since I like abstract art with partially irregular forms, the textiles that especially appeal to my taste are the things she creates using a combination of weaving and felting. A relatively early example of this is her “Golden Scarf“:


The woolen weft is felted after the weaving in a special washing process she developed, resulting in partially irregular patterns. Some of the materials she designed for “Handweberei im Rosenwinkel”, also employ this technique (, most prominently the award-winning “Breeze” material shown in the picture at the top of the article.

The patterns resulting from the felting process have random elements, although they can be controlled to some extend…

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Wearable Abstract Art

For those of you who haven’t seen this yet…

The Asifoscope

Special products are the result of special ideas and emerge from long experience and a deep understanding of the properties of the underlying materials and processes.

In my recent article Randomness and Control – using the example of Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings – I have described the aesthetic effects resulting from a combination of those aspects of a work of art that are under the direct control of an artist, and those aspects that are random. It is possible for an artist, by combining order generating processes with processes allowing for a certain amount of randomness, to achieve that mix of order and disorder – a “controlled chaos” – that results in an experience of beauty (see also On Beauty).

Another artist using such a combination of order generating and disorder generating processes to create objects of outstanding beauty happens to be my sister, textile designer and textile artist Christine Keller. Christine…

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Christine Keller: Light Content

Some photographs of my sister Christine’s “Light Content”, a series of stunning textile art. This is something that is difficult to show on photographs, but one can get an idea. I hope she will exhibit these works somewhere again so more people can see this. I am reblogging these pictures from

These textiles contain some light reflecting fibers. From certain angles and without extra lighting, you hardly see these.

But if you shine light on the fabric and look at it from the right angle, the light shines back and the hidden picture becomes visible.

The weaving was done on a computer controlled loom and the reflecting fibers are woven into pictures derived from photographs. The rest of the fabric is is dyed in natural colors.

The pictures are normally invisible or hardly visible, but shine brightly if you shine light against the piece, so it is reactive or interactive in a way. In the exhibition shown here, visitors could take lamps and iluminate the pieces from different angels. The effect is really fascinating.

The same piece, viewed from the side, with and without ilumination:

Christine with some of her works:

The pictures used in these pieces show technical buildings like electrical towers or bridges. I am interpreting this as illustrating the tension between the natural and the artificial.

In her Artist’s Statement ( Christine refers to this work in particular. I have cited this section in one comment below.

(Pictures: Christine Keller,