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Wilhelm Opatz
People

1998 – Frankfurt am Main, Rundgang in the Städelschule. A tall, boyish man stands in front of my T-shirt stall at the art college. Thoughtfully he asks a question, looking at a T-shirt from my own edition and reads the text. Silence. Affectionately he smiles towards me, and expresses his goodwill, softly, subtly, pays and leaves.
Years later my first gallery exhibition in this city. We meet again, speak a lot, honestly, directly, Wilhelm tells about his family, his wife Natalie with whom he runs an enterprise, his son Julius, whose birthday is on the same day as mine. And Wilhelm is and will be my first collector. He buys a large painting of a contour of Kate Moss.
His incredible affection, closeness, his questions about art, move me. I move to Berlin without saying goodbye, hit an artistic crisis – my first. I’m part of the system, but I hate it. He understands. Returning from the therapist completely shattered, cried out, I find a letter of which I can be certain, wherever I am, here with his postcards.
His words accompany me in my constant travel, my life in transit. No matter where I am, I return to Berlin, my place of residence in the sometimes – each line from him testifies to genuine interest, the love of art.
Reading older messages so much springs to mind. I see him sitting next to me in the Fichtekränzi, an apfelwein tavern in Frankfurt. He tells me about Natalie and how Julius is growing bigger, stronger and it seems as if we see each other all the time. Wilhelm – a wonderful man.
A book in my mailbox. I unwrap it. He had told me about it, and in contrast to the Berlin Republic, on the Main they don´t just do things, Wilhelm lives his true passion. Churches built after 1945 in Germany. How is life – and are we – treating them?
I have been travelling again for a long time and am reluctant to return to the city of my record collection, but here in my Charlottenburg apartment as well as these wonderful lines there is a bowl and the fixed idea, the belief that such unshakeable persons exist who live for art, the genuine and their confidence therein. Thank you, William.

(Photo: Hazki; Translation: Veronica Özbakir)

People
Wilhelm Opatz
by Carsten Fock