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C.K.I. - What is it?

C.K.I. is an International circle with artistic and humanitarian aims. It was founded in 1966 as a private artistic group and taking an identity as a no-profit German State corporate body. The history and activities of C.K.I. are to be identified with the life and works of our founder Gertrud Rittmann, in synergy with her husband August Fischer.

Born in 1922 in Irslingen, near Rottweil, she receives her education as a goldsmith and enameller. Enamel becomes her main interest; in 1966, she founded the Atelier Gabriele (later C.K.I.) a workshop dedicated to the art of enamelling, taking inspiration from the medieval Limoges School. For 17 years, she organized seminaries in Speyer. She was often invited abroad, alternating these experiences with the numerous exhibitions in Germany. In the period 1978 - 1979, she organized a specialized painting course for enamel under glass. In 1979 the fruits of the Gabriele Atelier led to the official foundation of C.K.I,, an association for international exchange between artists, based in Deidesheim.

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Logos of the international C.K.I. (on the left) and the Italian section (on the right)

The international logo of the C.K.I. merges the Taijitu (Yin and Yang), symbol of the polarity between existence and survival, with the ginkgo leaf, an Eastern Asian symbol for longevity, hope and peace
thanks to its incredible resistance (some Ginkgo Biloba trees managed to survive the nuclear catastrophe of Hiroshima!). This logo wants to mark the force that can be born from the human contacts at international level, but only when grounded on friendship and respect.

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Cistercian Abbey in Himmerod, the see of the "Old Mill" Museum

In 1993, Abbot Bruno Fromme authorized Gertrud to turn the “ruins” of the Cistercian Abbey in Himmerod into a meeting place for the organisation of seminars and exhibitions in collaboration with artists from around the world: after the renovation, in 1997 the “Old Mill” Museum was opened. Meanwhile, Gertrud founded workshops for the education of new talented artists in Brasil, Argentina, Australia and Japan. Getrud and August didn't spend their lives for pure art alone, but the couple became also an occasion for charity and humanitarianism in favour of the whole world. Cephas Bansah (King of Hohoe in the Volta Region, Ghana) even honoured her with the title of humanitarian ambassador. 

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Gertrud during one of her trips to Africa (on the left) and Cephas Bansah, king of Hohoe, Ghana (on the right)

In the late 20th century, she begins her strong cooperation with Miranda Rognoni, enamel artist who shared the same organizational and human qualities. A cooperation that led to the foundation of C.K.I., whose prestigious see was set in Villa Vertua (Nova Milanese, MB), the see of the 'Permanent Museum of Fire Arts'. In 1999, Villa Vertua housed C.K.I.'s first international exhibition, followed by the important exposition of 2005 The successful International C.K.I. Exposition of 2011 was also housed in Nova Milanese. Another important meeting point is the laboratory of Italian President Attilio Compagnoni in Chignolo d'Isola (Bergamo, Italy), where the association organizes many seminaries led by renown artists/teachers.

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Miranda Rognoni (on the left) and Gertrud Rittmann-Fischer (on the right)