Abandoned Berlin – Kaserne Krampnitz – Former Nazi / Russian Military Base – PT I

The abandoned Krampnitz

The abandoned Krampnitz

Visiting Berlin and living here is different, SF finds much more time to go to those hard to find outposts. It was worth it too. In the first of a series of Abandoned Berlin trips we visit somewhere with a thoroughly dark history.

Important to read this sign

Important to read this sign

Berlin is a City that constantly reveals new things, some that you will not find on the usual tourist guides or through the rather staid guides from Vice et al. There are numerous abandoned places to investigate, for those of an inquisitive mind and up for a little bit of a challenge.

Krampnitz - Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz – Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz - Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz – Nazi / Russian Military town

Krampnitz is a former military base on the outskirts of Berlin, far enough from the usual tourist traps to be pretty quiet and perfect for those up for a bit of a letch out of Berlin.

Krampnitz - Accomodation

Krampnitz – Accommodation

From the get go this place is creepy, the history alone dictates it is going to have a certain dark feel to it. Krampnitz was a Nazi military base for training troops right up until the end of WWII. Used to house soldiers, dignitaries and the like, there are some 50 buildings including a sprawling gym, a theatre or three, grandiose halls and meeting rooms and much more besides.

Krampnitz - Keeping the troops fit

Krampnitz – Keeping the troops fit

And shooting people

And shooting people

One of 3 theatres we found

One of 3 theatres we found

And another

And another

Krampnitz - No idea what this was or should be

Krampnitz – No idea what this was or should be

Krampnitz - remaining furniture

Krampnitz – remaining furniture

And a car baby seat of course

And a car baby seat of course

Once the Germans had moved on the Russians quickly moved in, they gave it a lick of paint here and there and put up their own iconography but largely the place remained the same.

Krampnitz - Russian takeover

Krampnitz – Russian takeover

Ready to invade?

Ready to invade?

In the early 90’s these Russians headed off and the area was basically closed down, not something to evoke feelings of pride or achievement, it was boarded up, blocked off and made out of bounds to the general public. And if you tell the people not to go in then clearly they will head their at the soonest opportunity.

Leaving the Russian mark

Leaving the Russian mark

Russian newspapers from the 80's

Russian newspapers from the 80’s

There is one gem that SF did not manage to find on this visit, there is a huge mosaic of an Eagle, one of the icons of the Nazi era, it is in one of the great halls and one of the few pieces still remaining, it is however a bitch to find it and nobody online will reveal if they know for fear it will be vandalised or stolen.

Krampnitz - The imposing main building, bricked and boarded up completely

Krampnitz – The imposing main building, bricked and boarded up completely

The place now has been ransacked of any of the original furniture, artifacts and in some cases walls, but you still get a feeling for the place and it’s history.

As mentioned, getting there is a little tricky…. Basically you need to get to Postdam Hauptbahnhof, it is the end of the line. Then you come out of the main entrance, cross the road and head up the hill on the opposite side to the big redbrick council like buildings and get a 639 or 638 bus. Use this map to help navigate and get a google earth one to see the buildings

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Ai Weiwei – Dropping the Evidence bomb on China in Berlin

Never ending Cycle

Never ending Cycle

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.

Gas mask in marble

Gas mask in marble

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.

Stool sample

Stool sample

IOUs to cover evasion fine

IOUs to cover evasion fine

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.

A Weiwei message

A Weiwei message

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.

Animal heads in gold

Animal heads in gold

Ancient vases in commercial car paint

Ancient vases in commercial car paint

If you can not make Berlin then a survey of Ai WeiWei is showing at the Lisson gallery now until July 16

Picture of the Day – To Scale Bell

Al Fresco Penis

Al Fresco Penis

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

Satellite of Colour in Berlin

Colour TV

Colour TV

On SF we have oft mentioned that the streets of Berlin are a mixture of dark walls and flashing luminosity in the form of graf and stencils. What we had not found previously was the pride taken in the TV receptors that adorn the flats and high rises of Yorkstrasse.

 

Living Satellite

Living Satellite

Satellite art is the latest display of individualism in Berlin and mostly displayed by the thriving immigrant population in the multi-cultural Kreuzberg area of the city.

Sky scraper

Sky scraper

We love these because it is everything from a doodle, to a flag of their homeland, to family portraits, to displays of loyalty to their football teams through to beautiful scenes of moons and stars in the sky.

In this day and age where we are surrounded by concrete jungles and block upon block of identical human cages. These little displays of colour, belonging and pride are something to really rather cherish.

Cocks…. and lots of them

Insert here

Insert here

SF likes a little bit of oddity, some flesh, some controversy and hell…. Some cocks.

The soon to finish ‘Keep Your Timber Limber’ exhibition at the ICA covers all of the above.

Beverley Knowles

Beverley Knowles

Regardless of your persuasion, gay, straight or indifferent, the visage of a unfathomably large member is always going to raise a smile.

Cock Fighting

Cock Fighting

Just a few pictures to share, and the focus of the exhibition was gender, sexuality, politics, war and censorship with artist ranging from Tom of Finland to Mike Kuchar, Beverley Knowles and Judith Bernstein.

Iconic Tom of Finland

Iconic Tom of Finland

The images are startling and powerful but also often playful and fun, but other times dark and quite disturbing.

The Don of Portraits

Unmistakable style

Unmistakable style

A little return to street art for SF, after a little search for some nice piece by a certain Paul Don Smith (link missing as his website seems to be down, so find it yourself you lazy so and so’s)

Skeleton Key

Skeleton Key

PDS has been an active artist on the streets of London for over 25 years, his pieces are unmissable and you could not confuse them with anyone also, dreamy colouring of culturally relevant characters have come to be synonymous with the artist. Not exclusively a street artist or one for galleries, just an artist who choses the place and subject and gets on with it, some may say too commercial being that he has done many a celebrity but if it spreads the work then who are we to argue.

Familiar faces from London 2012

Familiar faces from London 2012

PDS uses both stencils and free hand spraying which in itself shows his versatility and skill.

Swallow Your Pride

Swallow Your Pride

Marlon

Marlon

If you hit Brick Lane and just around by the Barbican centre you will be able to find numerous Paul Don Smith pieces

Kapoor in Berlin

Big Red Wax Bell

Big Red Wax Bell

Anish Kapoor divides opinion, clearly talented and possessing the vision and confidence to create truly awe inspiring pieces of quite ridiculous scale and grandeur. On one hand his use of a huge variety of materials and ideas is brilliant, on the other the epitome of vulgarity in modern art that is the ArcelorMittal Orbit….. or that bloody great eyesore slide thing next to the Olympic Stadium in London’s Eastend.

The main room

The main room

 

With this in mind a visit to Kapoor’s first foray in Berlin was an exciting / galling prospect. SF need not have worried as it was quite wonderful, varied, gigantic, ridiculous and thoroughly worthwhile. Even if it was tricky getting a few stolen pictures on the iPhone. Never will I understand why galleries stop you from taking a couple of picture momentos.

Kapoor has over his career forged an impressive reputation and body of work and as a Turner Prize winner he has been noted as one of the most important artists of his time.

Artistic reflections

Artistic reflections

His exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau comprises of almost 70 pieces from sculpture to wax models, to mirrors, to some huge spaced out bouncy castle to a canon to shoot huge paint pot side bullets into a corner of the room. SF likes.

Paint canon indoors

Paint canon indoors

Here is what the Guardian found out when they spoke to the man himself

Hackney Road – Paint on walls

Noyiaki - For the <3 of Cock

Noyiaki – For the

Hackney Road is hanging on to it’s few street art walls, before all the nice new flats are built and the road gets a Starbucks, and M&S, an All Saints, etc etc.

Before these disappear SF thought it a good idea to document a few that we have not featured. These are easy to find so no sign posting required

Colour of Rolling People

Colour of Rolling People

Yet another Eastend Graf art tour….. but some good designs an d a cool space…. until it becomes a gourmet burger joint

DMNK & KEFT

DMNK & KEFT

Summer sunshine on the walls of Hackney Road

Is this Lennon and the Stones?

Is this Lennon and the Stones?

Innocent stencils on Hackney Road, a commentary on how easy it is to make money? How it is child’s play? Somehow think not, SF like to think it is something more menacing with the sharp scissors and the blurred face

$ Dollar bill y'al

$ Dollar bill y’al

Funnily this is found right by a gay bar. Gays like a bit of trash.

Slutpink

Slutpink

And an old friend. We haven’t seen him for a while and this is not a new one so it was probably about time that our friend Sweettoof dropped by SF

Eye i Eye

Eye i Eye