Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Angel Falls to Earth: Bruno Ganz Dies

by Gregg Chadwick

Bruno Ganz as the angel Damiel in Wim Wender's Classic Film Wings of Desire

Bruno Ganz  has died at 77 leaving us with a rich legacy. The Swiss film actor played numerous iconic roles over the years from an angel longing for human love in Wings of Desire to Hitler facing imminent defeat in DownfallThe New York Times reports that Bruno died at his home in Zurich.

 Bruno Ganz  left his mark on Berlin in Wender's Wings of DesirePainters, writers, and filmmakers from Max Beckmann to Christopher Isherwood to Wim Wenders have created visions of Berlin that still guide us across the city's potent memoryscape. 

Gregg Chadwick
The Angel of History
29"x73" oil and sumi on Japanese screen

In honor of Bruno, I am posting my oil and ink on screen painting The Angel of History  inspired by the writings of Walter Benjamin. 

Benjamin wrote: "This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward."
- Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History," IX 

Solveig Dommartin and Bruno Ganz in Wim Wender's Classic Film Wings of Desire

Peter Falk in Wim Wender's Classic Film Wings of Desire

Look Closely: Are There Angels Hiding in the Ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church?
photo by Gregg Chadwick (Berlin 2010)

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