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

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

StandardFact in Berlin – Don’t Call it a Comeback

It has been 3 months (give or take) since the SF towers have had anything worthwhile to report. London was cold and bleak, the mac had given up the ghost and a general lackadaisical air had descended upon the SF blog.

A bit of German love

A bit of German love

A change of scenery, an injection of newness, an electricity which can only be born from jacking it all in, bidding farethewell to friend and loved ones, walking in to work one day and quitting, giving away loads of clothes and trainers, renting out your flat, and booking a one way ticket to Berlin. Well if it is good enough for Bowie and Iggy Pop then who are we argue?

So from here on in the focus is a much more German feel with small sojourns to Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels and beyond.

In the first 3 days of SF in BLN we hit a Ru Paul inspired drag show at Südblock, then went to Sprüth Magers, then to Hercules and the Love Affair, followed by park walks and then on to Nine Inch Nails in a deserted castle.

Stay tuned! Viel Spaß

H&LA

H&LA

NIN - Liked it even if it was just the artwork

NIN – Liked it even if it was just the artwork

Lady Kate Moss – La Moss – A Birthday Picture or two

16th January… exactly one week since La Moss hit 40 and now the dust has settled it is time to share a couple of pictures of the heroine.

SF fave picture ever

SF fave picture ever

La Moss in McQueen

La Moss in McQueen

La Moss chanelling Bonham-Carter

La Moss chanelling Bonham-Carter

It just so happens that LA Moss is a January baby…. the month that all the best people are born in…

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.

A trip to Disneyland Paris reveals Captain EO

Captain EO

Captain EO

When it comes to new experiences, we work by the hypothesis that you should always try everything. So the trip to Disneyland at the age of 30+ sans children might have been a smidgen odd. Not So.

Apart from the charming Disney characters, the adrenalin pumping roller-coasters, the far from healthy snacks and the garish wonderland of colours, there is something quite brilliant. Well if we can be so bold as to opine. Almost a masterpiece

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 21.20.14

A simple equation Francis Ford Coppola plus George Lucas plus Michael Jackson with a touch of Anjelica Huston in a 4D mini movie set in space featuring implausible puppets, a zany story line and MJ throwing down some trademark moves. Plus MJ is wearing an outfit even more slick than Eddie Murphy in Delirious. I give you Captain EO

The outfit

The outfit

To give away the story is a crime but the basic outline is that MJ is the leader of delinquent crew featuring amongst others a mini-elephant-type-being called Hooter and their trip to redemption as MJ aims to complete a mission.

When the lines between pure unadulterated quality and otherwordly campery crap are this blurred, you find yourself lost for superlatives.

James Cauty gets a little bit apocalyptic

Feeding destruction

Feeding destruction

The exhibition is called James Cauty, The Aftermath Dislocation Principle Parts I and II, part of the Frieze month of art in London town and quite something to behold.

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James Cauty has created a politically aggravated piece which shows a cityscape once it has been ravaged by some form of mass destruction, it appears all humans have been killed apart from the Police and the Media. Interesting that the only ones to survive would be those who would control the message and the fallout of such a disaster.

Urban decay

Urban decay

The Arch 402 gallery on Cremer St nr Hoxton tube features a just one piece and it is impressive in it’s size and scale, it is at chest height so you are looking at the scenes unfurl at a perfect height. Amongst the destruction there are little signs of humour such as the KFC sign changed to say ‘Jimmy made us do it’ (as in Savile) or one of the Police figures playing golf as the city burns, or the masses of Police feasting at Burger King and playing on a slide or numerous other pieces that you can find yourself.

Par four

Par four

Burning religion

Burning religion

Ariel view

Ariel view

Another little side note is to say that Mr Cauty is formerly one half of KLF and also a part of Orb.

Save God’s Own Junkyard

All lit up

All lit up

SF has previously avoided Walthamstow because there is little chance of catching a glimpse of the legendary pop foursome that was East17 as they have sadly passed on. There is another reason to visit, that is God’s Own Junkyard. And even more reason as the current sire it under threat from the scurge of the Eastend….. gentrification and redevelopment.

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Scrap jewels

Scrap jewels

Following a visit to see Chris Bracey’s work in Scream London, SF wanted to do a little more digging. Following a request to the man himself, SF made the journey to deepest East London to find a not so hidden gem, a beacon of light next to a dreary railway line.

Stones vs Beatles

Stones vs Beatles

One man's junk....

One man’s junk….

First a little history. The business has been going for over six decades, handed down through generations, starting as a lightyard servicing fairgrounds through to creating some of the wonderfully sleazy signs that adorned the shopfronts of gentleman’s clubs in Soho during the Raymond Revue era, through to today as Hollywood backdrops and expensive ob je dar in the homes across the world for the likes of La Moss and Elton. There was even a shop in Soho until that was consigned to the history books

For McQueen

For McQueen

Chris Bracey has created pieces for Alexander McQueen featured in David LaChapelle photoshoots, done parties for Agent Provocatuer and provided signage for movies such as Tombraider. Stanley Kubrick paid him a visit to commission the light work for Eyes Wide Shut.  It is however threatened with closure as ‘regeneration’ is about to take place, meaning that a load of new-to-the-area-pram-pushers can move in. Every Friday & Saturday until the end of September you can visit for yourself and sign the petition to stop the brightest light in the Eastend from being moved on. The artist and his band of shining comrades are happy to talk you through any piece….. prepare to put by a few hours though.

For Pro Green

For Pro Green

Is still glory

Is still glory

And something for the religious

God's Guns

God’s Guns

Visit… sign the petition and save God’s Own Junkyard

Picture of the Day – Serpentine Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto

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Somewhere you can eat, somewhere you can have a coffee, somewhere for the kids to play, somewhere for inst-twat pictures.

Each year an artistic type is invited to design something for the Serpentine Pavilion and for 2013 it is the brilliant light filled structure by Sou Fujimoto. Simple white frame, glass and light creates something quite epic that you spot from such a distance.