© 2009 - 2015 WPP.

Barbara Ryan: 11/10/1966 - 24/08/2023.
Along with her friends and family the Wild Pansy Press mourn the cruel loss of our colleague and collaborator the artist Barbara Ryan.

I first met Barbara in the 1980’s when she was a student at Farnham College of Art and part of the first cohort I ever taught. I was captivated by her drawings which were a strange mix of observation and imagination, often incorporating fragments of text – fragments of thought I suppose – all rendered in an unambiguous pencil line; I imitated it shamelessly. Still do. I’ve no doubt I learned more from Barbara than she did from me.

Subsequently, we worked together over the years on a number of projects including NierghtravAOnWint’sIf A Teller: a book in 8 chapters and 4 dimensions In London, The Magnolia Room Presents… in Leeds and on her dense, detailed and beautifully-made book Walpurgisnächte (which is described in detail below).

In the background information Barbara gave us when we were setting up Magnolia Room Presents - her show in the Wild Pansy Project Space in Leeds - she described herself as “based in England and the former German Democratic Republic”. I think Barbara continued to spend time in a parallel DDR long after reunification; her affinity wasn’t with the mechanics of Communism or the superficialities of “Ostalgia” but a kind of resigned melancholy – an understanding that we have to put up with things we don’t like in order to have some of those we deserve. When her contemporaries were going to Berlin to enjoy the hedonistic but neurotic freedoms of the West she found herself an apartment in East Berlin and practised a close observation of the subtle resonances of the city around her.

It would be a mistake to assume this meant her work-world was dour and grey. Far from it. The gift of her synaesthesia (and her eye for the details of life) transformed the everyday into something wondrous and teasingly obscure – the scent of November, the taste of an occasion (like the powerful synaesthesic cocktails she served to gallery visitors on a cold night in Vyner Street . ) Her work was full of colour and form and humour – just not always in the obvious places!
She subtitled the Leeds show show Nehmen Sie Doch die Blaue Pille (Now take the Blue Pill). In her Ostdeutch Matrix the Blue Pill seemed to offer an infinitely more labyrinthine synaesthesic rabbit hole than the Red Pill’s spurious “Reality Principle” ever could!

I always thought Barbara’s work resisted interpretation – it refused to “vanish into meaning” in a facile or easy way – and that, in a paradoxical instance of fractal mathematics, each piece of work seemed to contain the entirety of her practice while simultaneously adding to it. In the way, I suppose, that each individual contains in themselves the whole World so that their loss is loss for all of us.

Simon Lewandowski
Wild Pansy Press.

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Walpurgisnächte – via Space Time Block Code
Collected Narratives and Texts by Barbara Ryan 1992-2014.

An Edition of 31 Hand Made Books including Artist‘s Proof ,
Comprising of 4 Stamped and Numbered Print Runs – Series 1-4 :

Acting as ‘radio receiver’ the artist Barbara Ryan has collated 22 years of ‘received transmissions’ at particular sites in Berlin and Brandenburg, mapping and cataloguing the data and its solidification at particular locations, whilst also following its passage along public transport networks – which act as a conductor to a parallel and unseen world.

The book takes its title from a technique in wireless communications known as Space-Time Coding. With this technique, data is transmitted repeatedly via multiple locations and antennae but only a single ‘receive antenna’ is required for retrieval. Not all data can be received intact – the act of repetition is required for the collated data to make sense. In some instances a transmission has been received in its entirety, with a single poem or narrative arriving complete via clear atmospheric conditions. Other transmissions have been logged as a whole only after years of tuning-in until the repeat broadcast can be finally discerned.

Walpurgisnächteacts as a logbook for the final and unscrambled transmissions. Every transmission is numbered and its place of origin and time slot recorded in a corresponding appendix in the final section of the publication.

Walpurgisnacht is a time when the veil between the worlds is thin or practically non-existent, but for me the Walpurgis ‘nachts’ and Walpurgis days were an everyday occurrence – the dimensions abounding, laid one atop the other. I uncovered something akin to ‘ghost frequencies’ which permeated particular environs – these were in both expected locations such as crumbling buildings and abandoned stairwells, and conversely in freshly renovated apartments and other seemingly un-esoteric places such as shopping centres and busy main roads – archaeology via a form of mental dowsing. The names of the S-Bahn and U-Bahn-Haltestellen whispering and sometimes shrieking their histories, their narratives woven into their sounds...

...Strausberger Platz features predominantly in Walpurgisnächte and it always spoke to me of fairy tales and child-guzzling witches – particularly ‘The Strausberger Hexe’ – waylaying lost children at the local traffic roundabout. Scratch the surface of this area and you will find the Haus des Kindes with its fantastical and literally fable–ous staircase, which I never witnessed but felt its presence nonetheless. Times, dates and places have become saturated with the weight of history, and resemble well-worn tracks which grip and propel more current histories, narratives and happenings“.

Wild Pansy Press 2018
All rights reserved
ISBN 978-1-900687-64-5

Guide to the 4 Print Runs:

The original and entirely hand-made and hand printed Walpurgisnächte was produced in 2015 with a limited run of six copies. One of the aims of the 2018 Walpurgisnächte Facsimile Series (the edition of 31) has been to produce a hardier version of the delicate original, so that it can enjoy wider distribution.

Series 1:
The Ostdeutsche Dorf-Disko ‘Standard Issue’ edition maintains the simplicity of the original and comes with a seperate industrial protective cover and editioned bookmark.
Price - £45.00

Postage & Packing

A History and Description of the Production of Walpurgisnächte: A Hexed Undertaking?

Barbara Ryan's The Magnolia Room Presents….

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Series 2:
1/9 and 2/9

Includes the addition of individually crafted pages, many with integral odour pouches to illustrate the olfactory qualities of the original geographic locations recorded in
Walpurgisnächte. Comes with double layered dust jacket and editioned bookmark.

Please be aware that shipping will take a day or so longer than Series 1, as publications will be re-odourised prior to sending.

Price - £70.00

Postage & Packing

Series 2 - 1/9 and 2/9: Book in odour-seal bag

Series 2 - 1/9 and 2/9: Cover and Contents

Series 2 - 1/9 and 2/9: Page with closed Odour Pouch

Series 2 - 1/9 and 2/9: Page with open Odour Pouch

Series 2 - 1/9 and 2/9: Interior of Odour Pouch - Odour Booklet

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Series 2:

The basic handbook as in Series 1 but with double layered dust jacket and 10ml ‘Walpurgisnächte Odour’.(See description below)Price - £50.00

Series 2 3/9 to 9/9 -

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Series 2 and 3: The Odour Walpurgisnaechte

Series 2, 3/9 to 9/9 and Series 3: 10ml Vials of Walpurgisnaechte Odour

Series 3:
The basic handbook as in Series 1 but with double layered dust jacket and 10ml ‘Walpurgisnächte Odour’ (See description below)Price - £ 50.00

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‘Walpurgisnächte Odour’ - 2nd edition reformulated 2019
The ‘Walpurgisnächte Odour’ mirrors odours found in parks, railway sidings and Hinterhöffe (back courtyards) in Berlin, in late Spring – in particular the odour trail between Prenzlauer Allee and Buch, via Karow, with a detour through Wartenberg S.Bahnhof.

Notes include:
The quickening of dank vegetation after the flat smell of winter, the sun on a patch of back wall as the lichen become powdery and airborne; Hinterhöffe turning mild, dusty and unexpectedly exotic in the yellow light – squashed peaches, rotting green apricots and warm earth under aromatic bushes that have adapted well to a cold climate; quickly growing Wilder Kerbel and flavoured green tea; freshly-dropped citrus peels – orange and mandarin; grasses and ‘grass’; vanilla, leather and suede, citrusy lime aftershaves and CD deodorant ‘Glücksgefühl’ with its pheromonal-rendering of orange blossom; industrial glue and ice cream under wooden scaffolding, steel tubing after the rain, watermelon – not entirely ripe but on the turn nonetheless; waste ground where Artemisia and Woodruff will take hold, Melissa stalks and powdered sugar and fecund dampness; the smell of ‘Maria aus Leipzig’ and her mother from 20 plus years ago…

Series 4:
Series 4 contains additional and individually printed colour plates, which depict characters from both the corporeal world and the recorded ‘ghost frequencies’of Walpurgisnächte. They manifest visually as signature perfume bottles – a synaesthesic translation of both actual and mythical entities transmuting into fetishised objects.

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Series 4: Colour plate "Noc Walpurgi"

Series 4: Colour Plate "Juicy-Fruit-Ultra on Bahnsteig U5"

Series 4: Colour Plate "Strausberger Hexe on the U5"