photo: Schall & Schnabel
Perfect, care-free, enviable: these used to be the three adjectives that would come up in my mind the moment I would take a look at the shiny profiles of my acquaintances on social media – one cannot really call them friends, right? There would have been plenty occasions in the past, where I would start wondering what my life lacks and is not as “cool” as theirs.
Taking insecurity to a brand new level I would even catch myself feeling sad, if my new post had not received the expected number of likes; choosing my new profile picture would demand a full-fledged strategy, that would put even the most acute Brexit negotiators to shame. However, I would still sense that this is not enough. There would always be someone flaunting various parts of their life they would be most proud of ranging from abs and new pieces of clothing to luxurious holidays – I still refuse to believe the existence of hashtags, such as #moneyisnottheproblem – and partying in the most talked-about clubs.
Whenever a cool graffiti turns up over night inside the subway stations of the Berliner U-Bahn or even on their trains the artwork has a relatively short life because the BVG will probably remove it soon. Of course they see it as an act of vandalism on their property, even though they might recognize some of the graffitis as quite artistic, it’s still a disruption of their daily business that they need to remove. It’s a shame really, in some cases especially, because these pieces will catch the attention of so many passengers and will distract them from their daily routine of commuting, even make them think about the messages incorporated into the graffitis, just like art should: make people think about it. In the end it’s also just a nice change from all the bill boards.
photo: Jon Ander
Graffitis are a poetic creation of the streets and with this in mind I invite you to take a closer look at your surroundings; maybe there’s a hidden message waiting to be discovered or an image to be admired.
Although subjective, when we think of graffiti and street art, we often come to think of abstractness, disorganization, aesthetics, movement, freedom and creativity and whether to make us laugh or to incite us to riot, the colorful scribbles, which tend to be innovative and original, are the guiding thread that leads to self-expression while stimulating body and mind. However, it’s not only about the aesthetics since their most important feature is actually connected with the reactions they get; in other words, it has to do with provocation. And Art needs provocation, often associated with originality, to be consequently educational – Art does not rest exclusively on moralizing concepts, but it is above all a container of criticism and reflection. And Berlin, as a magnet drawing artists from all over the world, is the perfect example to illustrate the concept of “provocative Art”.
We already enjoyed the illustrated version of infamous Kottbusser Tor by Nicola Napoli a lot. But now there is a new illustration out there by Vidam, created for Muschi Kreuzberg in the style of a game carpet for children. Apparently it is actually going to be available to order soon on their website.
As child-friendly as the carpet might appear at first sight, the devil is in the detail: It’s probably a nightmare come true for every Prenzlauer Berg mom to see their kid play between syringes and dog poop, but hey, that’s just the reality of Kottbusser Tor…
We’ve already mentioned Ashkan Sahihi as the author of the captivating and personal portrait series of women in Berlin. Born in 1963 in Teheran, the photographer grew up in Germany, and today he lives in Berlin, shooting pictures for publications like “Zeit Magazine”, “New Yorker”, and “Vogue”.
His most recent project, however, references to the time back in 1987 when the author, still pursuing his artistic identity, moved to New York. There, as he recalls in the foreword of the new photo book, he met other young men, like him searching for their own ways of fulfillment, forming a community that encouraged all forms of self-exploration.
Whatever your opinion on the murals at Art Park Tegel might be, I bet their sight will not leave you indifferent, which is actually the true purpose of art; the ability to convey feelings through opening the door to fruitful dialogue, to peaceful exchange of opinions, to communication.
Their name fits Berlin’s quality of being a playground for grown-ups. Here you can try out all your crazy ideas and it doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail, it’s all about living it out. For the street art crew TOY this is true in the most literal sense.
Just last week we chuckled about their live intervention with an S-Bahn train that received some flower pots glued to their windows. And this week we received yet another, even more spectacular one: They filled up a wagon of the U-Bahn with Autumn leaves and played around in the fun mess. But how do you get dozens of huge garbage bags full of leaves into the train without being noticed? Their latest intervention video shows how it was done…
Last year we already introduced you to the work of Berlin-based photographer Yuto Yamada who captures abandoned places of the city for his ongoing series “Berlin Raw“. This year he is back with new photos of Berlins forgotten, dirty corners, but for his new exhibition he juxtaposes them with the futuristic and glossy Tokyo full of illuminated billboards and neons. The two very contradicting perspectives of two very different cities is a strong contrast but also something very personal to the artist as both cities represent a part of his life, the past and the present, even though aesthetically you could think it’s about the future and the past. Enjoy a preview of these fascinating places in Berlin and Tokyo below.
Sven Marquardt on a big bike ride or a Segway tour through Berlin, joining Bachelor nights as a special guest and bouncing tourists at the Checkpoint Charlie? What the hell is going on in these videos and what on Earth does anything Berghain-related have to do with mainstream tourism things you might wonder. All the clues lead to a dubious online shop masked as an official Berghain merchandise store selling souvenirs such as the original Berghain stamp, I heart Berghain T-Shirts and Sven Marquardt rubber masks. Is this a complete nightmare or a dream come true for Berghain fans (and wannabes)? You will be tempted to buy (at least the stamp for practical reasons) but on the check-out you will be informed: “Sorry, we’re sold out!” Huh, how peculiar…
Could this be a comment on the recent news that Berghain was elevated above all other Berlin clubs as a cultural venue bringing it to the same level as concert halls and theaters (and ultimately in the position to enjoy reduced taxation)? It would make sense. Receiving the stamp of approval by the city is in a way the ultimate sell-out for an underground techno and sex club. Or is it not?
Street art is alive and kicking in Berlin; what better proof for this ongoing development than the several new murals scattered all over the city? The best part is that you are most likely to discover a new one, every time you take a different path on your way to work, home, etc.; and while you are walking down the street immersed in and overwhelmed by your worries, you lift your head and there you see one: colorful or in black-white, depicting figures or people, they are always striking; as if they have the power to grab you from the pool of thoughts you so gladly swim in, and show you a different world, much more refreshing and easy-going. On the pictures below you can see people (inter)acting with the murals consciously and unconsciously. It is truly remarkable how present they are in our everyday life and how they can have an impact on our mood so easily.