FROM BAUHAUS TO DACHAU
by Allen Levaniel
The soldiers raid the apartment building and round up every tenant; children, too. The building erupts in chaos, with SS men shouting and women and their children crying. The soldiers march upstairs to apartment 1A and burst open the door. Ernst sits at a scuffed table hiding his face in his hands.
“Ok, move it!” says an officer, drawing his gun.
He keeps it aimed at the back of Ernst’s head as he shoves him downstairs. The tenants are forced outside and then pushed into trucks. Ernst wears a hat and a torn checkered jacket over a shirt with a filthy collar. He’s stuffed in a black truck among everyone else, like junk. A woman shivers while holding her child close to keep him warm. Ernst takes off his jacket and places it over the woman’s shoulders.
“Thank you,” she says, coughing into her hands. “Do you know where we’re headed?”
“No,” says Ernst.
“Does it matter at all where they take us?” says another tenant, he lived next door to the woman, playing horrible notes throughout the day. His band members had disappeared three months past to an unknown place. In any event, he claims to know the name of this mysterious place. “All of us are dead.”
“No, don’t say that. I don’t believe that to be true.” The woman holds her child tighter.
The truck passes the Bauhaus. Ernst remembers the inside of the building vividly. It’s where he studied as a painter over a decade before.
“It can’t be true,” he murmurs, closing his eyes.
In 1923, young Ernst, then twenty-four years old, sat in the back of Professor Freundlich’s class, daydreaming. He stared out the window as Professor Freundlich continued his lecture on impressionism, in particular the subject matter of Claude Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise.
Professor Freundlich made his way up the stairs toward Ernst. “And your hopes, where do they lie?” he asked, gazing down at Ernst. “Is it learning how to become an artist or wishful thinking?”
“Of course, to become an artist, professor.”
“Of course, but what?”
“But that style is outdated. Surely the impressionist painters were great in their day. However, those days are long gone. Art need to be relevant and modern, and even obscured,” argued Ernst. “Why not paint the world underneath its external image? Instead of the skin, paint the bones.”
The other students murmured in agreement.
“Interesting thought,” said Professor Freundlich. “That gives me an idea. Class, your exit exam is not only to produce a piece of art, but also to invent a unique style.”
Suddenly, gunshots rang out outside the academy. The students ran toward the window and looked down at the mayhem. War had ignited on the streets between members of the Natiional Socialist German Workers Party and the police.
“What’s with the violence?” asked a student.
“Haven’t you been reading the papers?” said another student. “The Nazis have been attempting to seize power.”
“Yeah, but what’s new?” said a student at the end of the row, looking down at the chaos. “There’s always a new government. Every day there’s a new government.”
“Okay, class, back on task, please,” said Professor Freundlich.
The students moved from the window. Karl, an extraordinarily talented artist, looked over at Ernst. He was at times obnoxious and unapproachable. However, he seemed to admire Ernst a great deal.
“Is that modern enough for you?” Karl said as he returned to his seat.
Hans, a fellow student, approached Ernst after class. Although he was an affluent young Jewish man from Vienna, he wasn’t very sophisticated. As he had told Ernst one night in the pub weeks before, he only attended the academy because his parents—namely his father—made him. He wasn’t the best choice for an associate, but they shared interests, nevertheless. They both drink heavily, attended shows at the Deutsches Theater, and slept with prostitutes.
“Tonight, I have tickets to see Josephine Baker. You want to come?” asked Hans.
“I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it, Hans.”
“Pity. Lenora will be there.”
“Lenora?” Ernst murmured.
“Yes, I invited her last night. She’s been asking about you lately. She wants to see you again.”
Lenora was a prostitute who, above all, attracted high-status politicians. Although Ernst wasn’t a politician, he aspired to be part of the upper class and usually acted bourgeois. This had attracted Lenora to him.
Hans had reserved a table in front in order to see the performers up close. He and Ernst ordered two large dishes of sautéed German sausages with bacon apple sauerkraut and a bottle of Egon Muller wine, and then waited patiently for the show to begin. Ernst had been longing to see Lenora again since the first time he had met her. She was one of very few prostitutes he’d met whom he hadn’t slept with.
“When she’s coming?” said Ernst, lighting a cigar pipe.
“You worry too much. She’ll be here,” said Hans. “And she’s bringing a friend.”
At that moment, both women sauntered towardthe table wearing sparkling red dresses that glowed like a full moon in the midnight sky when the stars are visible no longer. The men stood and pulled the chairs out for their dates. As they sat down, Hans offered them a glass of wine. Just then, the lights dimmed, and the remarkable Josephine Baker started to sing.
After the show, Ernst walked Lenora home.
“You haven’t said one word to me. Are you nervous?” asked Lenora.
“A beautiful woman like you, what man wouldn’t be nervous?”
They stopped in front of her apartment building. “You wouldn’t believe the number of assertive men I’ve encountered,” she said. “But you’re different.” She turned to kiss him.
“When can I see you again?” asked Ernst.
“Maybe soon.” She entered the building giving a flirty wave.
Ernst walked down the street and stopped in front of a pub. He entered the dingy pub and looked around. Three men sat at a table in the center of the floor.
“Are you serving still?” he asked the white-haired bartender.
“Yes, we are, Herr. What can I get for you?” The bartender coughed into his handkerchief.
“A glass of Brandy will do fine.” Ernst walked up to the chipped counter and sat on a wobbly bar stool.
The bartender placed a glass on the bar and filled it to the brim from a bottle of Brandy. He set the bottle beside the glasses and leaned forward on the bar tiredly. The three men sitting at the table were drunk and boasted loudly to each other about their dates the night before.
“Another drink, more drinks,” one of them called. “What kind of place is this? More drinks!”
The bartender approached the table.
“Sorry, gentlemen, but we’ll be closing shortly. It’s almost midnight,”
“Don’t you know who I am? I am an officer, and I say give me another drink! Hand over the bottle.”
“I don’t want any trouble. You’re drunk, Herr,” said the bartender.
The officer rose out of his chair. “You dare insult me!” he bellowed, slapping the bartender so hard that he fell over. Ernst ran over and helped the bartender to his feet.
“Son of a bitch,” Ernst said. “You’re nothing but a bum.”
The officer staggered toward Ernst and grabbed him by his well-tailored shirt.
“You must be either a fucking Marxist or a Communist. You fucking punk! I’ll have you arrested and shot.”
The other patrons stopped talking. The pub was chillingly quiet.
“Cool yourself, comrade,” said one of the men sprawled at the same table. “Besides, he’s right. It is getting late.”
The officer untangled his hand from Ernst’s collar. He turned to his companions and held one finger in the air, then began singing the German national anthem in a deep voice. The three men exited the beer hall, singing loudly in the street.
“I’m alright now, thank you,” the bartender said, clearing the table. “They’re barbarians, you know. But I should be alright. You have that drink on me.”
When he had finished his drink, Ernst left the pub. He proceeded down the street, turned the corner, and then came to an abrupt stop. In a dark alley between two abandoned buildings, the three men from the pub were beating up someone. Suddenly, the most obnoxious officer, the one wearing collar and shoulder patches, spotted Ernst. Ernst dashed across the street, the men on his heels. He ran through a deserted park and finally arrived in front the academy. He shouted for help.
Unfortunately, not one person heard him and the doors were locked. Ernst hurried around the building, running past garbage bins into a dead end. He turned to face the men, who slowly approached him. Out of the corner of his eye, Ernst saw a long metal pipe on the ground. He picked it up and swung it, hitting one man in the arm. The other two attackers wrestled him to the ground and then began beating him savagely. They kicked him in the chest and stomach and back. They stomped on his ribs and punched him in the face until he was unconscious. Not completely satisfied, one of the attackers then shot Ernst with a handgun. Ernst laid in his own blood, seemingly lifeless.
Ernst fought with every bit of strength within himself to open his eyes. Through blurry vision he saw he was in the hospital and, more importantly, alive. After an hour his vision cleared.
A doctor leaned over him. “Herr Ernst Goldstein, you’re very lucky. You won’t be able to talk for a few days or walk for a couple weeks, but at least you are able to breathe.”
Ernst slowly recovered. However, a bullet to his head left him permanently blind in his right eye, which, in some ways, set him apart from other artists. The silver sunglasses he wore to hide the defect distinguished him even more.
It was the first of April, 1924. Ernst sat in the art room staring unblinkingly at the blank canvas. These days, he spent most of his time confined to the art room, finding the inspiration to create art. The Berliner newspaper was left in the room, which headlines shouted the failed attempt of the ‘March on the General’s Hall’ lead by Adolf Hitler, who was detained by police, had been sentenced to five years at Landsberg Prison.
Ernst set the paper aside. At once, he began painting a victorious German holding the national flag and a defeated Nazi, headless and without a flag or leader. He painted in the cubist style.
As he worked, Professor Freundlich walked into the room. “How are you?” the professor asked.
“I’m okay,” said Ernst.
“What’s this you’re working on?” Professor Freundlich gazed at the painting.
“Expressions. What do you think of it?”
“I think it’s timely, considering your unfortunate encounter with them. The use of violent colors reveals your anger towards those men responsible for attacking you.”
“I promise that won’t happen again,” said Ernst, staring at his coat lying beside the window.
“You have what it takes to be a great artist, Ernst. I see life in your painting, but not in you. Are you living?”
“I’m alive, professor.” Said Ernst.
He drifted into a miserable state of unimaginable despair and drunkenness, wearing the same attire day after day and bouncing from pub to pub night after night.
Several months later, he staggered into the dimly lit lobby of a shabby building. Insects crawled along the cracked walls and up the stairs. The hall reeked of cigarettes and stale cooking. A man slumped in the corner to his left began coughing violently, startling Ernst. Quickly, he reached inside his coat for his handgun and aimed it at the man.
“Please, Herr, don’t shoot. Please,” the old man begged.
Ernst slid the gun back inside his coat and proceeded upstairs. He halted in front of his filth-encrusted apartment door. The landlady appeared, dressed in torn house clothes. Ernst would have liked to avoid her, but the door was difficult to open.
“You think living here is free, don’t you?” she said in a raspy voice. “Well, it isn’t.” She took a drag of her cigarette.
“I’ll have it to you by the end of the week.”
“You’ll have it to me by tomorrow evening. Are we clear?” She inhaled a final time before flicking the cigarette down the stairs.
Inside his apartment, he lay on the battered sofa, thinking about his finances. Between his alcohol addiction and paying rent, he had exhausted his tuition funds and had no money.
He picked up a copy of the latest Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. The headline on the front page shouted about the high unemployment rate in the city. Smaller print told of the new leader of the workers’ movement. On the next page, Ernst read that a brewery was hiring a large number of workers. It’s worth a try, he thought.
The next day, Ernst left his apartment for the brewery. On the way down the stairs, he noticed the mailman leaving, and he stopped to retrieve his mail from the box. It was junk for the most part, but there was a letter from the academy. He hadn’t attended the academy in months. What could it be? I probably owe money, he thought. He opened the letter, his body still as concrete, dropping the letter.
His paintinghad been sold for a substantial amount of money and was being exhibited at the Bauhaus. Ernst, who had started the day drunk and in poverty, was suddenly tremendously rich and his work was renowned.
By 1933, Ernst had given up his excessive drinking habit and returned to the well-groomed bachelor. And he resumed sleeping with prostitutes and attending shows. Most importantly, his work remained popular, with paintings such as Nudely Wednesdays, a portrait of naked prostitutes in his apartment. He even bought a Mercedes-Benz and hired a chauffeur to drive him around Munich.
One day, the chauffeur stopped in front of the Weir restaurant, so people could notice Ernst. He was more than a mere idol; he was a God. He stepped inside and gazed around the sumptuous restaurant. He sported an ocean-blue coat with artful crosshatching. Immediately a tall, hoary man holding a piece of paper greeted him.
“How are you, Herr Goldstein?” he said, his face grave. “I have a table reserved for you over here.”
Behind the maître d’, Ernst noticed Karl and Hans sitting with their dates.
“Karl,” Ernst said softly. He looked back at the maître d’. “I’ll be joining those gentlemen this evening.”
The maître d’ walked over to the gentlemen’s table. They looked up, then squinted in Ernst’s direction. Karl signaled Ernst to the table.
“It’s a pleasure to see you again, old friend,” said Karl. “Please sit down. So, my good friend, are you working on anything new?”
“Not lately. What about you?”
“Same here, old friend.”
“Hans, what are you doing these days?”
“I’m a sales manager at my father’s marketing firm,” Hans said proudly.
“Who would’ve guessed the student at the bottom of the class would come out making more money than us?” said Karl.
Ernst laughed, lighting his cigar pipe.
“Now you sound like them,” said Hans.
“I do not,” said Karl.
“Who’s them?” asked Ernst.
“The Nazis,” said Karl. “What are your thoughts about their political viewpoint?”
“Nothing that comes to mind,” Ernst answered.
“I don’t understand that mean.”
“Karl, you’re paranoid,” said Hans. “The man hasn’t gained power and already you’re packing for America.”
“Now, wait a minute. I wouldn’t expect you to understand. You’re not an artist. Ernst, on the other hand, you must understand. I’ve heard incredible things about this man Hitler. How he wasn’t admitted to the art academy in Vienna. He may be seeking retribution.”
“Well, that makes me feel better, to know his war isn’t with the Jews, but with the human imagination.” Hans laughed, pouring wine into a crystal glass.
“Ernst, I’m serious.”
“It was another time, Karl. But I don’t have any interest in politics,” said Ernst.
“Neither do I. Anyway, enough with all this political garbage. We have a show to attend at the Deutsches Theater. Ernst, you are welcome to join us,” Hans offered. He drained his glass of wine.
After the show, on his way home, Ernst’s car passed a brick wall showing a poster of disgruntled citizens and the phrase “Hitler Is Our Last Hope.” The chauffeur halted in front of the Nymphenburg Palace and opened the car door for Ernst. As he neared the entrance, he heard a woman call out his name. He turned around and saw Lenora wearing a blue dress climbing out of a car.
“Lenora,” he said. He raised his eyebrows in surprise. He hadn’t seen her in years. “What are you doing here?
“I am here for you. Aren’t you going to invite me inside?”
“Yes, please come inside.” He held the door open for her.
Inside the apartment, Lenora sat on the sofa. Ernst watched as she gazed around the room, with its high ceiling and spotless marble floor.
“How’ve you been?” he asked, offering her some brandy in a crystal glass.
“I’ve been alright. You have a nice place,” she said.
“Thank you. How’d you know where I live?”
“I have my way of knowing,” she said, walking over to the large window.
At last, Ernst had his opportunity. He had everything he had ever imagined. The look of this beautiful woman and her elegance excited him enormously. He approached Lenora from behind. Lenora turned around and with gentle hands removed Ernst’s sunglasses. He felt no longer concerned about his appearance. She was like a nurse who’d cured him of his insecurities. In the bedroom, they made love and then slept holding each other. At last, he felt love and affection.
In the middle of the night, the sound of people singing “Horst Wessel” and shouting “Sieg heil!” came from outside. Ernst, wakened by the noise, went to the window to find out what was going on. He could see people cheerfully marching down the street in the brown-shirt uniforms and Kepi caps from a decade earlier, but now holding red flags with the swastika in their center. But still, he couldn’t tell what was happening, nor did he care as he looked back at Lenora’s naked body. He went back to bed.
Early one morning, a couple of months later, a pounding on the door wakened Ernst.
“Ernst, open the door!”
Ernst stumbled to the door and lets Hans in.
“Haven’t you heard?” asked Hans, handing Ernst a note that had been left at the door.
“Haven’t I heard what?” Ernst’s voice was still thick with sleep.
“Hitler is chancellor. And last night the barbarians destroyed my father’s marketing firm. And what’s more, we must pay for the damages ourselves even though we have insurance. They’re boycotting Jewish businesses all around.”
Hans went over to the table to pour a glass of Brandy. Ernst unfolded the note. He was being evicted from his residence.
“It’s also rumored that the Bauhaus is being closed. Is this true?” asked Hans.
“I’m not sure, but I’ll find out,” said Ernst as he scanned the eviction letter.
“What’s going on?” Lenora came out of the bedroom wearing a black see-through negligee. “Ernst, come back to bed.” She went back into the bedroom and closed the door.
Later that day, Ernst stopped by the Bauhaus. Inside the building, officials were confiscating art. Professor Freundlich attempted to prevent this from happening as he grabbed an art piece from one of the officer’s hand.
“What are you doing? This is disgraceful.” Professor Freundlich said.
“No,” said the officer, “you are disgraceful! All this goddamn junk. Come on, let’s go!”
The men were carelessly dragging the expressionist paintings downstairs. As Professor Freundlich grabbed onto it, he was pushed down the flight of stairs where he lied unconscious from a broken spinal cord. Ernst rushed over to help him.
“Someone call the ambulance!” Ernst yelled, but the officials ignored him.
Ernst carried Professor Freundlich out the building with the help of some students to the clinic to be treated. He left shortly after.
His chauffeur was parked beside the academy, but Ernst walked in the opposite direction, down a street scattered with glass left from the previous night’s mayhem. On the corner, Hans’s office windows had been destroyed and Ernst could see that the office had been vandalized along with surrounding Jewish businesses. Ernst continued down the street with a straight face. After much walking, he ended up at Karl’s apartment building. He entered the building, walked upstairs, and knocked on the door. To his surprise a woman wearing a robe answered the door.
“Is there something wrong?” she said, inviting him into the sumptuous apartment.
“Where’s Karl? Is he here?”
“I don’t know who that is, Herr. Only my husband and I live here.”
Ernst looked around the well-ordered room. Over the fireplace hung a self-portrait of Karl. He turned to the woman.
“Your husband must admire art very much.”
“He has no interest in art. He’s a doctor who works exhausting hours. We moved in a couple of weeks ago, and this painting happened to be left behind by the previous tenant. I convinced my husband not to throw it away. I like it a lot. Blue is my favorite color,” the woman said. “It goes well with my furniture, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Yes, it’s lovely.” Ernst smiled reluctantly. “Then this must be the wrong apartment. Are you sure?”
The woman remained adamant that no one named Karl resided there.
“I’m sorry to have disturbed you, frau.”
As Ernst left the apartment, a man dressed in SS attire walked past him. The SS man turned around and stopped Ernst just as he was going downstairs.
“What are you doing here? What’s your name?” he said.
“Ernst what? What’s your last name?” The officer eyes bore a hole through Ernst.
“Yes, Ernst Goldstein. The artist of expressions.” The officer dug down in his pocket.
Ernst stepped back, preparing for the worse. He glanced at the flight of stairs, his hands gripping his pistol in his coat. But the officer merely pulled out a notepad.
“This may come as a surprise, given our different political views, but I am a great admirer of yours. May I have your autograph?” The officer handed Ernst the notepad.
“Of course,” said Ernst.
“There was another famous artist who lived on this floor. I believe his name was Karl Klein,” said the officer
“Would you happen to know his whereabouts?” asked Ernst, handing back the notepad.
The officer wrote down an address and then tore the page out the notepad and handed it to Ernst.
“Heil Hitler,” the officer said, stretching his arm forward.
Ernst looked at him and back down at the paper.
“Thank you,” he said softly and then walked downstairs.
Ernst went to the address. He climbed several flights of squeaky stairs, skirting around a small boy who was using a piece of broken glass to scrape the peeling wallpaper in the shape of his own shadow. At last, Ernst arrived at a door covered with cobwebs. He pulled the sheet of paper out of his pocket and checked the room number, 1A. The number one was missing from the door, but its shape was visible, like a ring print on a finger. The doorknob looked as if it had been hammered. He knocked on the door.
“Who is it?”
“Wait a minute.”
A few minutes later, Karl opened the door.
“Come in,” he said.
The apartment contained nothing except an old couch, piles of books supporting a radio playing music, and a suitcase leaning against the wall. The bulb dangling from the molded ceiling gave only a dull light.
“How did you find me?”
“An officer told me,” said Ernst.
“I’m not surprised. Everyone seems to know everything these days. It’s beginning to turn into a police state, this place.”
“Are you leaving for America?” Ernst asked, looking at the suitcase.
“I am. Where are you headed? England?”
“I don’t have any money.”
“Somehow, they’ve managed to withdraw every reichsmark from my savings. Luckily, I kept a few marks, which was enough to buy a ticket to America. I have a handful on me still.” Karl handed Ernst a couple reichsmarks.
Ernst thought about what Professor Freundlich had told him years before. Then he had been a broken, dispirited man, not a successful artist. It made sense, what the professor had said, nevertheless. If these terrible events were occurring, then perhaps art could reveal to the masses that this madness was dangerous.
“We’re gods,” said Ernst.
“We are creators. Professor Freundlich told this to me years ago. I didn’t understand at first, but now I do.”
“Go on,” Karl said, lighting a cigarette.
“Our art represents, rather, expresses what’s going on in the world. So, we should express through our art what’s happening today in order to open the eyes of the public and give them insight. They’ll wake up, you’ll see. Just like before, when the Bavarians restored order.”
Karl burst out laughing.
“Things are only beginning, and you don’t even know it.”
“You’re wrong, Karl. Professor—”
“Oh Professor,” said Karl, all laughter gone from his voice. “So long as he’s here, he’s dead. Don’t you get it? His philosophy is a thing of the past. It means nothing today, nor will it mean anything tomorrow. You don’t know the law. We’re prohibited from painting. There are spies everywhere. What happens when strange men disguised as officers come knocking at your door? What are you going to do? Fight them off with your paint brush? They have fucking machine guns!”
The music on the radio was interrupted by an important announcement by Adolf Ziegler, the president of the Reich Chamber for the Visual Arts: “The exhibit of over 5,000 works from artists from all over Germany will premiere in Munich on July 19, and will run through November 13, before traveling to 11 other cities in Germany and Austria. All students here and abroad are encouraged to view the exhibit. Don’t miss the Entartete Kunst exhibit, featuring over 650 paintings, sculptures, prints, and books from the collections of 32 German museums. Heil Hitler!”
The musical program resumed immediately after the announcement.
“You want your answer. There you’ll find it,” Karl said, picking up his suitcase. “Take yourself, friend.”
After Karl had left, Ernst sat on the couch, feeling uncertain about his future and pondering why these things were happening.
The next night, Ernst strolled down a street near Maximilianstrasse. Near the corner he saw a flyer pasted to a building. It showed a picture of the sculpture Der Neue Mensch by Professor Freundlich above the words “Entartete Kunst.” Just around the corner was a building with a banner over the door that read “Degenerate Art.” Ernst observed a group of young people—art students, perhaps—as well as critics carrying notepads in their hands going into and out of the building.
Ernst entered the building and climbed a broken-down staircase. As he entered the exhibition, he almost bumped his head on the knee of a larger-than-life woodcarving. He looked at the label: Crucified Christ by Ludwig Gies. As he walked around the woodcarving, he recalled seeing this particular piece hung much higher in Lubeck Cathedral.
On his left were pictures clustered together, some crooked and badly lit. Although the exhibition rooms were relatively small, he managed to squeeze through the large groups of spectators viewing abstract paintings hanging upside down on the walls. Above and below the pieces, people had scrawled graffiti ridiculing the works and their artists.
In one of the rooms he stumbled across his own expressionist painting. A group of art students were gathered in front of it, pointing and laughing. Years earlier, it had been the subject of study for most art students, particularly in Munich. Now, the words “Deliberate Sabotage of National Defense” were inscribed below it.
He pulled away from the group and walked to the door. As he was leaving the exhibition, he noticed Lenora holding hands with a man who looked like a high-level politician. The man smiled disparagingly at the art along with a scholar, economist, and art director.
“So, about the modern wing,” said the scholar, leaning on a cane. “What will happen to the gallery?”
“The law entirely prohibits any degenerates, especially expressionists, from painting,” explained the art director. “So, the modern wing has been summarily closed, forever.”
“And what about profits from the auction?”
“Profits will go directly into the party’s campaign to support factories and large corporations in order to reduce unemployment,” said the economist.
Ernst turned to glance at Lenora one last time before leaving the gallery. He walked down the street, stumbling in front of the Bauhaus, famous symbol of modernism’s commitment to social change. He sat on the stairs and began weeping.
The next night, the SS men stampeded his apartment building.
Ernst opens his eyes, realizing that what the tenant said is true. The truck makes it way down the road and into the woods. The passengers seem oblivious to the view.
“Where are we?” says Ernst, looking back at the tenant. “What is this place?”
The tenant stares back at him.
About the Author:
Allen Levaniel has been writing for ten years and had found his voice. He relocated from Jacksonville, Florida to Charlotte, North Carolina in order to embark on a writing career. After studying art history in Charlotte, it puzzled him to find that artists were stopped in their prime because of one man’s distaste for the style of painting and failure to become such an artist. In any case, this event inspired him to write FROM BAUHAUS TO DACHAU to express how it affected a particular artist.