ART & DESIGN

Berlin Art Diary: Chronicles of a Muse

In a new book based on her EXBERLINER columns, Fabia Mendoza recalls the wheelings and dealings of Berlin's art scene

Fabia Mendoza and her husband American artist Ryan Mendoza. Photo by Celyn Nicholson
Fabia Mendoza and her husband American artist Ryan Mendoza. Photo by Celyn Nicholson

By Amulya Hiremath, edited by Hamzeh Alfarahneh on 07.22.22


Fabia Mendozas amusement about the Berlin art scene has solidified our conviction that the art world is complex, erratic, and often unconventional. But what Fabia captures, even more, is the honesty in her multi-layered relationship with her husband and renowned American artist Ryan Mendoza

The book is funny and witty. Almost like a reality show in book form, watching Fabia navigate between strange encounters, immoral offers (many of them, in fact), and professional missteps towards becoming a filmmaker. It is not always fun and games, the book does get real at times, be it writing about the contours of the emergency room she was waiting in as Ryan undergoes surgery or revealing the exchange of a conversation with her son before leaving for Mexico. Fabia is honest in her self-deprecation and humorous in her outlook. She has a talent for vividly conveying the world around her as she embarks on a search for success and recognition. 

Fabia as photographed by Celyn Nicholson
Fabia as photographed by Celyn Nicholson
Intimate details. Photo by Milo Alterio
Intimate details. Photo by Milo Alterio

“Who is Fabia? I ask myself all the time until she begins to tell me. About her childhood and youth in Neukölln. A Berlin girl, I think. And, of course, this Berlin girl is inside her. You can feel it. Streetwise, fearless, seen everything, done everything,” writes Mirna Funk in her prologue for the book.

Raised in Berlin, Fabia is a multi-hyphenate: photographer, director, producer, writer, lecturer, and even a muse to her husband. She is best known for her work on the award-winning Detroit documentary The White House.

Fabia as pictured by Tina Dubrovsky
Fabia as pictured by Tina Dubrovsky

Based on her eponymous column in the magazine EXBERLINER, Fabia’s book also documents the stark realities of living the life of an artist. Spoiler: it’s not all fun and fancy. “If you don’t party with them, you won’t work with them,” Fabia’s friend Lilli educates us, “The best deals are being sealed behind closed doors,” she twinkles,” goes the chapter Selling Your Art and (not) Yourself. However, living the art life so intimately also brings with it a side of life lessons, “Believing in yourself is a big part of making it as a creative person. The amount of belief in yourself had to match the amount of force you could put into your fists to punch those beliefs through.”

Berlin Art Diary: Chronicles of a Muse is out now.

Fabia Mendoza. Photo by Tina Dubrovsky
Fabia Mendoza. Photo by Tina Dubrovsky

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