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Huge Mural in Berlin

This was a trip organised by the local art class, so art featured largely during the week. Berlin is heaving with art galleries; too much to cover in one blog, so I will focus on the highlights, with links to sites where you can read more.

First, street art. Berlin is particularly rich in original art that decorates the drab concrete buildings and public spaces. Some of it was commissioned by the local council, like this mural. Of the other works, some is done with permission and much is unauthorised. It is rich in style, combines aerosol spray-paint, markers, hand made stickers, stencil work and models. Our guide was Caro Eickhoff, a Berliner who has blogged about street art for many years and is well acquainted with the genre as well as the artists themselves.

There are a plethora of small galleries. Of note are CWC (11-13 Auguststraße), currently exhibiting wonderful ethereal acrylics by Nikolai Makarov. He uses many coats of highly diluted acrylic paint with a mixture of airbrush and hand brush to create these portraits and empty interiors evocative of old photographs. As a complete contrast, Patricia Walker’s knitted sculptures are bright, colourful and irreverent. Her ‘Broken Heroes‘ exhibition feature Spiderman caught in his own web, Superman crashing into a wall, a down-and-out Bert from Sesame Street, Hello Kitty committing Hari Kiri, and many more. The exhibition is at the deschler gallery unti the end of June. Funny, and disturbing.

The Liebkranz Gallery (62 Augustraße) hosts an exhibition by Edward B Gordon: Vier Jahre Späte (Four years later), an evocative collection of informal portraits and street scenes. Worth a look.

The two public galleries we visited were Hamburger Bahnhof and the Bauhaus Archiv. The converted railway station hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions, with works by Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Joseph Beuys. Currently the gallery is hosting ‘Solid Light’ by Anthony McCall, a fascinating ‘light sculpture’ of computer generated moving images, projected through a cloud of dry ice. The result is a slightly disorientating experience of light perceived as a wall. Enchanting and odd.

No trip to Berlin would be complete without a visit to the Bauhaus, whose teachers have included Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer and Johannes Itten. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that everything we use today is influenced to an extent in its design by the principles developed at the Bauhaus. Typical of its approach was an emphasis on balance and efficiency of form.

All of this and more makes Berlin an ideal location for modern art enthusiasts.