Berlin has some pretty amazing buildings, some pretty out there ideas have come to life, some I would bet my eye teeth on not being created anywhere else in Germany, let alone the world. Once again Berlin wins for otherworldly weirdness.
There are a million and one photos on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, various blogs and websites, so many that it is not an exaggeration to say this is Berlin’s very worst kept secret in the abandoned bracket. It is no secret. It is more of a secret that Kanye West has something on his mind than it is that this massively beautiful eyesore exists.
Since going to abandoned places in Berlin is pretty much in every guide and actually has become monetised fairly quickly, you can visit this one with zero issue. Basically send an email to these guys, then turn up and pay your Euros and then head in.
Little potted history, the website does it best so I’ll suggest you hit this jump to find out more…
In the beginning….
– 1915 – Bloody great big green space called Grunweld Forrest, lovely and calm, animals, walking, pretty etc.
– 1937 – That bloke Hitler, the one who was a total git, well he ignored the forrest contract from Prussian times and decided this would be a part of his master plan, he wanted this to be the gateway to his ‘New World Capital’. Basically a huge military technical facility, you can only imagine what the tiny tached one had planned.
– 1945 – Hitler gets defeated, but not before the building had started, but what to do with the partially build city….
– 1951 – Berlin had taken a bit of a flaying and there was an awful lot of rubble and debris that needed to be moved from Berlin city and burbs in order to regenerate. A solution was come up with, fill in the planned Hitler military buildings and pile the debris on top. They did so and it reached 115 metres, Basically a man made hill / mini mountain, the plan was for this to become a ski resort of sorts. That didn’t happen, as it the story of Berlin’s recent existence, things just don’t quite happen, maybe they tried to start work on a Monday.
-1963 – Instead of skiing the Americans and the Brits decided to use this as the perfect position to spy on our Ruskie brothers and sisters, to find out if they had any plans for world domination or the like brewing.
Then…. Well a company tried to turn it into a big hotel, that failed thankfully. Now it is owned privately and maintained for the general public to take their cameras to and look around.
Tour is nice, about an hour for 7 Euro with no information and 12 Euro for the more detailed version. You will get to go to the very top, where the views over the largely flat Berlin are spectacular, you can see all the way to the city and the iconic TV Tower is easily spotted on a good day. On top of this there will be a bunch of street artists adding to the array of paint you can shoot, and any budding graf artists can email to apply to paint there themselves, there is plenty of space so long as you don’t mind people shooting you doing it.
Closest station is SBahn Grunewald then you have a walk of about 25 minutes through a forrest.
This week we spotted something that has been doing the rounds for a long time over the sea and far away in the US of A, but it was started by a Berlin artist in 2010, so it has it’s roots in this here hub of creativity. It is called Dead Drops
Aram Bartholl was living in New York when he came up with an art project to allow people to share ideas, thoughts, texts and images physically and not through the new / old tried and tested route of the interweb.
Aram Bartholl started a movement to place USB sticks in public places, secured with concrete and poly filler for people to access the content on the sticks, leave their own content and to potentially build on others ideas.
The sticks have been placed outside galleries, in subway stations, in deserted street brick walls and anywhere that the public might be able to spot them.
More information on this can be found through this article, we will let you read there.
The idea of art sharing is nothing new and something that we love at SF, collaboration between strangers is quite an interesting idea. To allow another to take on your idea or work and shape it is the perfect way to allow organic growth, a pure kind of progressional collaboration.
There is a Dead Drops website that charts where the USBs are, we are yet to find one in Berlin or even in Germany, indeed it seems Europe has not got fully on the vibe, there is one in good Old Bristol, a couple in Italy and on in France. Maybe a time for SF to start this….
SF took a little trip out of Berlin recently and decamped to Southern Germany, and to Frankfurt, a city which is known as the financial centre of Germany, we took in the Schrin Gallery for a little bit of German Pop Art action.
Pop Art, everyone likes it, everyone is familiar with it and it is probably one of the least offensive forms you are likely to find. It is always laced with a kind of humour, it feels comfortable for all walks of life to appreciate. The use of everyday well known brands, images and icons makes the experience more inclusive for the viewer and less elitist, well that’s what SF reckons.
Germany in the Pop Art era, an interesting time, known as the swinging 60’s in some places, German’s were still living somewhat under the cloud of ‘that’ war but also Berlin was divided with different nations claiming their piece of the city. One area that was growing was a Pop Art movement and this exhibition gives us a small insight into some of the work from that period, combining film, sculpture, painting and movement, the curation by Martina Weinhart is a delightful myriad of colours and forms.
Here are a few of our most favourite pictures from the exhibition…..
Ok, SF admits that the level of updates have been have been about as regular as a constipated elephant, but much like our big eared friend, you are about to get a stinking load right now.
In PT II we will bring you the other side of Krampnitz, the one that PT I did not cover so much. And that is the paint on walls, from unfinished to full pieces, from tags to political statements on Nazis and Cold War Russia, you got the lot in this series of buildings. See below for a few we picked out.
These are original Russian updates to Krampnitz, once the Nazi troops had gone they wanted to make it feel a little more at home… we guess
In years to come Ai Weiwei will be seen as one of the most important artists, not just in this generation but in any generation. His influence and impact are felt on so many different levels and through his strong political statements and his ongoing battles against his oppression at the hands of his own nation’s government.
Weiwei is a clever man clearly and the mediums he use to speak to the wider world as well as his fellow countryman allows him to inject very blatant signposts as well as very subtle nuances, allowing the audience to really understand his work but to also take their own meaning from it.
The scale and variety at his latest exhibition in Berlin at the Martin Gropius Bau is something to behold, from video, to music, to everyday items, to antiques, to debris from disasters. His show ‘Evidence’ gives a visual representation to what he has experienced in recent years and how his views and the Chinese government’s attempts to censor them have been dealt with, from his own incarceration, to his tax avoidance ‘fine’ to his investigations into those killed in disasters in his homeland. There is a exact copy of the cell in which he was kept 24 hours a day, watched by two guards at all time, for 81 days until international pressure meant he was released.
There is also a look back in time to the history of China and the secret cities created. The entire collection is something quite extraordinary, the scale alone is awesome but also the emotion transmitted through each piece is very potent.
If you can not make Berlin then a survey of Ai WeiWei is showing at the Lisson gallery now until July 16
A certain Martin Creed was certainly put on this earth to make waves, to challenge thoughts, to amuse, enthrall, disgust and generally make everyone challenge their own perception of what they think about themselves, others and every life. Head to the Hayward for a rather eclectic and epileptic experience
It has a been a busy month at SF towers, and by that we mean alcohol, food, Christmas jumpers, snow, late nights and a lack of time to update. That and the two bust laptops that broke in the space in 24 hours.
In other news SF dropped by the Popart exhibition at the Barbican. Some great stuff there but nothing mind blowing, the best bits you will see below. If we are totally honest it was £12 for a whole bunch of nice things to look at but the narrative was a bit weak. It was a shame because the Barbican is one of the best Galleries in London with some brilliant exhibitions and events.
Something a little kinky?
Slick and angelic cowboy
Sometimes you want a quick artistic immersion, short and sweet. Like a quickie before heading out to meet friends. Well the ICA is SF’s fave for this very thing.
Mini review now.
Lutz Bacher, loved the imagined chess board, it has a life size Elvis after all, very playful and something easy to relate to and interpret as you please. SF enjoys art that does not give a prescriptive or obvious meaning but merely sets some themes and ideas and lets the viewer wander and wonder of into them.
Design – John Cheim, iconic collection of books he has designed for a variety of names such as Warhol and Bruce Webber featuring Madge, Matt Dillon and a fellow draped in a wet dog.
Zhang Enil’s Space Painting, taking over the entire room by the café, long brush strokes create a very smooth effect. For SF the effect is not dramatic enough/. Personal taste and all that
It’s where the Artists live these days you know. Love it