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A Postcard from Paris

Traveling around Europe in the midst of all this, conducting dissertation research on the Czech interwar avant-garde and its relationship to other major artistic centers of that period, I could not but think about renewed border controls in the EU territory within the context of, and in comparison to, travel in the period between the two World Wars. At that time, Europeans (as well as travelers from further afield) enjoyed a newly open, post-war terrain. The physical movement of bodies, facilitated also by new and faster modes of travel, helped to open up an unprecedented level of exchange between artists and intellectuals of diverse backgrounds and languages. In that brief window of freedom of movement between the two World Wars, Paris was a hub of such traffic, and many visitors came from Prague.

Lucia in the Spring of Her Discontent

But Lucia was everywhere in Dessau for me. I have spent time with her posthumously, reading her diaries and letters kept at the Bauhaus archive, and looking through her photographs, which include a series of nude self-portraits she took in 1930 after she was “liberated” from Dessau, the Bauhaus, and László. I have been the voyeur she never intended to be leafing through her life with white gloved hands. I don’t take this privilege (for which I never asked her permission) lightly. Her story is now folded into me as we walk through the streets of Dessau, where she is a ghost, haunting the place in which she longed for the city.