Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Berlin | Tacheles "The theft of a work of art"

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4879077/?claim=9bbzsj42mwr">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Like most people interested in street art I have always been incredibly interested in visiting Tacheles, and when I booked up to visit Berlin it was one of the first places I began to research. I have seen pictures and videos of Banksy's Flower Bomber stencil, Robbo's piece for Yelling To The Sky and loads of pictures on the web showing some of the amazing exterior and interior works of art.  And it looked like a truly inspiring, incredible place.

But then I found this out;

"Berlin's iconic Tacheles arts centre has been cleared after decades of bureaucratic wrangling over the debt-ridden building. The massive warehouse in the Mitte district was occupied by artists after the fall of the Berlin Wall and became a major tourist attraction.
But the dilapidated complex has been hampering local redevelopment plans. HSH Nordbank, currently in charge of the Tacheles, requested the clearance as part of plans to sell the centre. Situated in what used to be East Berlin, when the city was divided by the wall, the building stretches over 1250sq m (13,455sq ft) and houses a theatre, cinema, restaurant, as well as a maze of galleries and workshop areas.
Before police arrived, two black-clad artists played a funeral march but bailiffs were able to clear the building without resistance, the AFP news agency reported. "This is the theft of a work of art, supported by the police," Tacheles spokesman Martin Reiter told a small gathering of supporters and journalists outside the building. The five-storey building has experienced a tumultuous history since it first opened its doors as an elegant shopping arcade in 1909.
When the department store went bankrupt in 1928, it was sold to the German engineering company AEG. Shortly afterwards, the Nazi Party took over the building and turned it into a central administrative office. Prisoners of war are said to have been held in the attic for interrogation purposes during World War II. Decades later, East German authorities tore down large chunks of the building in the 1980s but were unable to start new construction due to a lack of funds.
One part of the original Tacheles complex remained and was taken over by squatting artists who had resisted eviction efforts - until now. The address quickly became a thriving hub of alternative culture, which drew stars like choreographer Sasha Waltz and musician Peaches who regularly rehearsed and performed there. For sustainable urban planning expert Dr Daniel Dahm, this "artistic colonisation" of East Berlin's empty spaces is a healthy development.
"There are approximately 200,000 empty houses and flats in East Berlin as a result of German reunification," he said. "The Arthouse Tacheles is an example of self-motivated work by citizens who decided to proactively stand up for their ideals." Taken from the BBC News

What a complete disaster! 
But when we were nearby, we paid a visit to see what had been left behind, and the exterior of the building has a few newer editions but really only showed worn traces of its past life. We had a look in to see some abandoned materials including a range of silkscreens. The original entrance to Tacheles was closed, but there was some stuff at the back of the building, which you had to wall through the car park to gain access to and you can see it in the pictures below. It was also a shame that the Banksy and Robbo pieces were only visible from a distance through the wire railings, although it you were desperate to have a better view they would be pretty easy, given appropriate footwear and clothes to climb over.  

I would have loved, much like the Ice Factory from a previous post (Take Three Berlin | The Eisabrik), to have an exploration of the building!

Banksy's Flower Bomber stencil and Robbo's piece for Yelling To The Sky
You can see some interesting pictures of the buildings interior here

And, as ever I urge you to share what YOU think!? Do you agree do you diss-agree with Tacheles as an  "artistic colonisation", and in your opinion was the eviction fair on the community and on the artists? 

Comment underneath this post or share your opinion on the Facebook page, or tell us on Twitter

Monday, 25 February 2013

Berlin | The East Side Gallery

"The East Side Gallery is an international memorial for freedom. It is a 1.3 km long section of the Berlin Wall located near the centre of Berlin on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.

The Gallery consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. The East Side Gallery was founded following the successful merger of the two German artists' associations VBK and BBK. The founding members were the speche of the Federal Association of Artists BBK Bodo Sperling, Barbara Greul Aschanta, Jörg Kubitzki and David Monti.[1][2]
It is possibly the largest and longest-lasting open air gallery in the world. Paintings from Jürgen Grosse alias INDIANO, Dimitri Vrubel, Siegfrid Santoni, Bodo Sperling, Kasra Alavi, Kani Alavi, Jim Avignon, Thierry Noir, Ingeborg Blumenthal, Ignasi Blanch i Gisbert, Kim Prisu, Hervé Morlay VR and others have followed."

To continue from my previous post Take Three Berlin | The Eisfabrik, we ventured over Schillingbrücke Bridge to check out the East Side Gallery which is located along Mühlenstraße. As described in our handbook we were very much looking forward to walking in the sand behind the wall and grabbing a refreshment from one of the beach huts and also checking out the happenings of Yaam. But, I guess it must all also be pretty seasonal and if your heading there in the colder months, don't expect much. 

But the art on the wall was really interesting and it is definitely worth having a look on the beach side of the wall for a lot more art and graffiti (and in my mind slightly rougher and much more interesting) on Wikipedia they have also referred  to some of the 'art' on the main side facing the road to have been "badly damaged by erosion, graffiti, and vandalism", and the East Side Gallery website states, "The Artist Initiative East Side Gallery e.V. for several years has been making an effort to preserve the East Side Gallery. The colorful images created in 1989/90 are today hardly recognizable. The paintings and the wall are in an extremely deteriorated condition through weather, air pollution, vandalistic collectors, and simply time. Yet there still is hope for the now gray East Side Gallery." 

First are the pictures taken of the side of the wall at the road and second are the pictures from the side facing the river,,,,
Andrej Smolak - Untitled
Mary Mackey - Tolerance
Susanne Kujappu-Jellinek - Curriculum Vitae
Hanns-Peter Dürhager, Ralf Jesse - The Weary Death (Detail)
Peter Russel - heaven and Viewfinder 
Margaret Hunter, Peter Russell - Untitled
Thierry Noir - A Tribute to the Young Generation

Monday, 18 February 2013

Berlin | The Eisfabrik

During this adventure we had planned to hire bikes to make our travels faster, but out of habit we visited the DDR Museum and set off walking and didn't remember our plans until about 40 minutes into our walk.
 I have been wondering if I should share the pictures from this day in one very long post or a couple shorter ones and I opted for a couple shorter ones, because its a lot of pictures and quite a lot of information!

Our first stop on our walk was a derelict factory we had seen traveling in on the SBahn, it was pretty big and we thought it would be interesting to take a look.
I had no idea what the building was home to before it closed or if it was even possible to get inside or near enough to it to take some pictures, but we thought we would follow the road along the river until we came to it. 
The entrance was wide open and you can enter it from pretty much any direction as all the doors we open and the fences had been forced down. The space was also home to quite a collection of people which you can see in the third picture below, a far as the peace and love signs go I still didn't fancy becoming an unwanted guest and it was also clearly visible that much of the building had collapsed and it really wasn't in good nick. 
So I didn't fancy being crushed to death or falling to death so I kept my distance, but I have seen some pictures on the internet from 2008 claiming the the building was actually a derelict ice factory (Eisfabrik) which I have linked below, and the inside of the building looked pretty incredible. 

"The Eisfabrik (Ice Factory) was one of the oldest ice factories in Germany. It opened its doors in 1896 next to the river on Köpenickerstrasse 40/41. In the time when refrigerators did not exist, the ice that was produced would be delivered all over Berlin to breweries, pubs, homes, etc.
The Eisfabrik managed to survive many damages, several fires and bombs throughout its lifespan. In 1914 the factory chimney collapsed and made the headlines in the news. In 1945 the houses next to the factory which were owned by them as well were bombed to the ground during the war. After renovation, repairation work, change of ownership the factory shut its doors in 1995 after 99 years and couldn't withhold the fast change of technology and needs(since most households and establishments have refrigerators at this point). Many debates are still on going of what should be done with the high commercial value property....
On the main floor of the factory you’ll see the big ice machine that made the magic happen. Also there are smaller rooms if you go up to the floors and explore each one. There is of course some great artwork from graffitti artists that shouldnt be neglected. You can also access the roof and just relax with some company and beer with a great view of the Spree (river) and Fernsehturm." 
Taken from here.

You can see some pictures of the interior here, I must admit that after looking at these pictures and watching the video below, it really would have been pretty cool to have had a look inside. 

 According to Google it translates to 
 'The boundary does not extend between the top and the bottom but between you and me!'

and then we headed off over the bridge to check out the East Side Gallery........

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Berlin | Curry 61 & Haus Schwarzenberg

Curry 61 is apparently "The Original Berliner Currywurst" and when we read this on a sign in
Berlin Hackescher Markt SBhan Station at about half 11 in the morning after walking for about an hour on our way to The Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (The Berlin Wall Memorial) notably in quite circular 'scenic routes' we though it was the best time to test one out.
It is located at number 6 Oranienburger Straße and like many fast food places in Berlin is take away only, but there are too little bin/tables under a cover where you can stay and eat your food out of the *snow*.

"Currywurst is a fast food dish of German origin consisting of steamed, then fried pork sausage cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup, regularly consisting of ketchup or tomato paste blended with generous amounts of curry powder, or a ready-made ketchup-based sauce seasoned with curry and other spices. It is frequently served at German 'Imbissbuden' and from food trucks.
The invention of currywurst is attributed to Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 after she obtained ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder from British soldiers. She mixed these ingredients with other spices and poured it over grilled pork sausage. Heuwer started selling the cheap but filling snack at a street stand in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin where it became popular with construction workers rebuilding the devastated city. She patented her sauce, called Chillup, in 1951. At its height the stand was selling 10,000 servings per week. She later opened a small restaurant which operated until 1974." Thanks Wikipedia.

I thought that it was going to be desperately spicy but it was so tasty, and I would most definitely like to be snacking into one right now while writing this post! 

Next we walked a bit further down the road and came across this place, 
it's called Haus Schwarzenberg and is located on Rosenthaler Straße, a 3 minute walk from Curry 61 and is home to The Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt, the Anne-Frank-Zentrum, a cafe/bar and the Neurotitan Gallery.
And I would imagine some more seasonal happening during the summer.

Heres a bit about the place,
"This blast from the past, criminally bypassed by many, is Haus Schwarzenberg, owned and run by the Verein Schwarzenberg (Schwarzenberg Association), who are independent from government funding.
It shares exactly the same format as the surrounding buildings, i.e. a rear courtyard full of apartments, shops and storage areas, but with the crucial difference that the entire space has retained, as much as possible, its original post-war condition. Also, the utilisation of the spaces within – an independent cinema, cafe/bar (with live music/art performances), an art/book shop, various artist studios and a trio of small but interesting museums – contrast distinctively with its luxe neighbours.
The property has a long history. Its various units have been used as a factory, a shared living commune, a GDR movie and television office and a brush-making factory that employed and hid Jews during the Second World War (the associated “Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt“ tells this story).
After the wall fell, the building remained empty until 1995 when an artistic group called the Dead Chickens moved in, finding it a cheap and inspiring place to work.
It was Jutta Weitz, an energetic, affable and now 62-year-old lady who made this possible. Jutta works for Wohnungsbau Gesellschaft (a housing development company) and instead of offering this massive building to some sort of business corporation she figured it would be perfect for this group of artists.
“I showed them this place and at first they weren’t interested – it was too big. But then they turned it into a collaboration with other artists and started to fix the place up,” she says, adding “The house is like a small universe…after the war, neither the Americans nor the Russians took over the space and to this day it’s a free structure.” You can read more here.

Overall, it is a really interesting and inspirational place with some pretty good art and exhibitions going on, if you find yourself in Berlin, check it out.