Susanne Kessler

08. March 2018 to 31. March 2018
20. May 2017 to 10. June 2017
10. May 2016 to 06. June 2016

Susanne Kessler, born in Wuppertal in 1955, attended the University of the Arts in Berlin from 1975 until 1982 and graduated in 1983 from the Royal College of Art in London. Since 1984 she has been living in Rome, while for more than a decade now also maintaining a studio in Berlin. Residencies have taken her to Ethiopia, Guatemala, Mali, Pakistan, India, and Iran. All these places have visibly influenced and left their mark on her work.


During her stay at the Museum Kunst der Westküste as artist-in-residence the artist came across a “drawing” that has a spectacular story behind it: the odyssey of the full-rigged steel ship “Susanna” on its circumnavigation of Cape Horn. Under the command of Captain Christian Jürgens (1875–1959) of Föhr, the three-masted ship got caught in extended storms around Cape Horn in the winter of 1905 while sailing from Port Talbot, England, to the saltpetre port of Iquique in Chile. On its 190-day voyage it took the crew one hundred days (eighty of which in storms with winds of force 10 or more on the Beaufort scale) to fight its way around the southern tip of the Americas. The “Susanna” still holds two records today: one for the by far longest circumnavigation of Cape Horn and one for the longest voyage from Europe to Northern Chile. The journey is considered the toughest, most brutal, and most courageous voyage in the history of international seafaring. The surviving logbook helps with a precise reconstruction and mapping of the odyssey – the result is a bizarre graphic pattern which allows us to visualise the traumatic, months-long journey, while at the same time being highly fascinating from an artistic point of view.


Since her first stay on Föhr, during which she created numerous watercolours, sketches, and a work book, Susanne Kessler has been working on a large-scale outdoor installation intended for Föhr which will bring back to life, as it were, the story of this “odyssey”. Susanne Kessler – Odissea will go on view in 2018.