Norwich exhibition takes visitors on a trip through a re-imagined Europe

Stephen Brandes and his installation 'The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch' in Norwich's Cathedral Close for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill Smith Stephen Brandes and his installation 'The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch' in Norwich's Cathedral Close for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill Smith

Thursday, May 8, 2014
7:28 PM

Visitors to Norwich’s Cathedral Close will find themselves taken on a surreal journey by a fictitious traveller over the next couple of weeks.

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Stephen Brandes and his installation 'The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch' in Norwich's Cathedral Close for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill SmithStephen Brandes and his installation 'The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch' in Norwich's Cathedral Close for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill Smith

The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch is an open air art exhibition by artist Stephen Brandes that will run throughout the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Twelve giant billboard postcards by Albert chart his travels through a re-imagined Europe and see him go to places that visitors will find both familiar and unfamiliar.

Albert’s memoirs consist of collages, drawings, photos and words. In one of the postcards Norwich’s City Hall features in a photo, but instead of the market being in front of the civic building there is paving from Berlin, cacti from France, and a piano hovering above which Mr Brandes found on the internet.

Mr Brandes, who lives and works in Cork in Ireland, explained: “I think we are at a stage nowadays where we are familiar with nearly everywhere in the world through glossy photos in supplements, travel programmes and TripAdvisor, but these images look to a time where travel is just for the privileged few.

Stephen Brandes and his installation 'The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch' in Norwich's Cathedral Close for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill SmithStephen Brandes and his installation 'The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch' in Norwich's Cathedral Close for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Bill Smith

“In capturing and changing recognised places all of a sudden it becomes uncanny, that mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar.”

About the traveller he created to go on the journey, he said: “Albert Sitzfleisch, you do not know what he does, but he spends his life travelling out of business, pleasure and necessity, and not necessarily in that order.

“In a sense you do not know whether his travels have been real or dreamed.”

And about his work’s rather unconventional gallery space by Norwich Cathedral, Mr Brandes said: “It works because the area is a centre point for tourists coming to Norwich so they are inhabiting that world of travel. They are taking photos of the cathedral and putting them on TripAdvisor and Facebook, whereas this [The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch] is harking back to proper postcard writing.”

He added that the postcards had lots of references and deeper meanings for visitors to draw out from them.

He said: “I like to make things that look fairly simple on one level and are very, very complex at another level.”

The exhibition has been commissioned by Norfolk and Norwich Festival and is presented in partnership with Norwich Cathedral.

• The Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch by Stephen Brandes is in Upper Cathedral Close in Norwich until Sunday, May 25. The exhibition is free.

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