Wednesday, August 24, 2011

East side Gallery, Mühlen Straße, Berlin Friedrichshain. DE, by craniv boyd.

East side Gallery, Mühlen Straße, Berlin Friedrichshain. DE, by craniv boyd.


East side Gallery as an exhibition platform, is evocative of the most antithetical sentiment to those expressed by the shimmering steel wording Upper East Side Berlin some where on Friedrichstraße in center city Berlin.  Platform, as a term, is perhaps inadequate to describe the state supported; just as much the, tourist haven, as the corner of Fredrichstraße and Unter den Linden, but for other, and hopefully more profound, reasons, East side Gallery, of Mühlen Straße, in Friedrichshain. Platform as adjective, is not enough, simply because this gallery on the east side is just a wall. But that concrete and asbestos, wall now covered, in vibrant paints, is the wall, of Berlin: part of what remains intact of it, at least.


On that section of the late, iron curtain that the East Berliners could not, and were definitely barred, from approaching, defacing or vaulting. Seeing East side Gallery, on the anniversary year of: fifty years, after the wall went up, and just over twenty years, since it came down is, a cathartic experience, if there ever was one. People who are passing through Berlin stop, take pause, and more often than not, take a picture with them and that Berlin wall, or the wall only, comme-ça.


The task of my small report, is to write about nine, of the individual paintings, by individual international artists, the world over, painted, custom fit at is were, and site specifically, for the East side Gallery, in Friedrichshain back in 1990. Tailor made, if you will, for the cultural climate of Germany reunifying.



A mural that was painted with the intention of healing some deep wounds, two national flags superimposed on over the other, German Federal Republic, and Israel, the blue star of David and the two blue bands are on top, layered over the Black Gold Red of Germany's current national Flag. As painting it is simple, as a healing concept, or a dream for healing, Gunter Schæfer, with this mural lays claim to a title of artist hoping for peace in the world. The strength within the simplicity, in this large image speaks volumes.




Гoспoди! Помоги Мне выжить средиэтой смретнойаюбвц! Reads the title of a realist mural of two older gentlemen kissing. Copied after a photograph the mural, by artist Dimitri Vrubel, is an powerful image of two Russian men overwhelmed with love is fun painting: strange, odd, and healing. The thick eyeglasses frames, that one man wears in this monumental kiss, painted, at the  size of a small drive trough movie theatre, are back in Vogue some how, and the seriousness of the fall of the soviet union and end of cold war era is treated light heartedly by the artist Dimitri Vrubel.





A kind of simple geometric abstraction that looks naïve in his restricted choice of local color, artist, Gábor Simon, and a painting title Space Magik, is a throwback to an era when teenagers had to more often than not leave the go to arcades instead of reach into their own pocket for a smart mobile telephone to play a video game. The hues of red black white grey and yellow are all play fully arraigned into a painting that looks both like optical at, and advertisement of a new version of space invaders. 




Kosmopolitanism, a futuristic turn of phrase embedded amidst decorative faces people depicted who are mythical looking, Schamil Gimajew, and artist from central Asia, has painted one of the most elaborate, cluttered looking, and fun to be around sections of the wall. The trauma of the east west divide the Utopian hope of worlds beyond freezing conflicts is all there to see, and be overwhelmed by in a mural that is predominantly black white with dashes of primary colors, after the wall fell who can be afraid of red, yellow or blue?




Rats in a maze, grayed out humans in a labyrinth, blindfolded cube-heads with, twisted rubbery necks, sausages and meatballs and spaghetti, skewered on the cutlery that protrudes from the crowns of their box-heads, on bodies wearing bespoke evening dress, a floating blob-like creature with large baby blue eyes and red, open soda cans, a gas nozzle, held by a white hand from above, pump, like the one for your automotive vehicle, drips, drops of oil into a soda can in the free floating monstrosity with sensitive irises. All this, are images to be seen in the panel by the Chilean painter, César Ochaga. The work is overripe with a wealth of imagery, and the illustrations of the ideologies possessed by capitalism and communism are just there like too many buoyant facts, César Ochaga, painted a picture that looks like beat poetry.





             A tribute, to a modernist painter who had a rough time of having some of his artwork shown to a German public, Willi Berger, paints on the wall a sketch for a rayonist, stained glass Church window, in red yellow and blue, inspired by musical works of the most well known eastern German, J.S. Bach. The schematic for the stained glass window, in question is by his mæstro, an artist who was censored by the double whammy of Hitler regime followed up by, German Democratic Republic.  The work is presented and as with much art that has been censored by authoritarian governments, people wonder why block this? Willi Berger calls forth, in his mural dedicated to the memory of one of his own influential art teachers, that censorship in the arts should never, ever, be permitted again.




Distopia and its serious discontents, Ana Leonor Rodrigues, an artist from the less, land massive nation on Iberian peninsula, Portugal, paints a nocturne of a grouping of people in protective clothing wearing gas masks walking and seated in a black desert.  This nightmare vision calls to mind the planet that David Bowie left behind when he fell to earth back in the mid 1970's, when he stared in that psychedelic science fiction film. It's the environment, stupid! Could almost be a sub heading or alternate title for this work that portrays a group of survivors in a wasted-land, of a Nuclear Holocaust. An event that did not transpire which was un-doubted feared throughout the interim of the cold war.




A large bald headed naked man, disrobed totally with the exception of a pair of shoes that look suspiciously like doctor martins, grips his head and falls back into a flaming pit of hellish bright worry, this lone male falling figure is contrasted with dull as dirt wearing shapeless ashen grey clothing of cubist looking people corralled like a rat heard, in a maze with out cheese. The maze rat association is underscored furthermore, by artist Ulricke Zoft, author of this mural, present's art that could be interpreted as a dypthic, to illustrate symptoms of ideologies of the supposed belligerents in the cold war. Individual existentialist worry of a naked unabashed capitalist pitted against, an oppressive looking rat race with no rewards like communism. With the people of the maze who are lucky enough to metamorphosed into a free flying cubist rat that could send a shiver down the spine of Pablo Picasso.




The east side of the Berlin wall was, in its later years, during the life of the German Democratic Republic, painted, grey with white evenly spaced rectangles.  Schwartze Deutsche Lesbe, literally Black German lesbian is an artwork painted to look like the wall is still there yet only the eyes have been fooled and a deep to mid, mustard yellow, shroud bearing, a black naked woman with closely cropped hair. She looks like a Virtuvian man, she holds the same pose, but has only one pair of martyr legs spread eagle. The painting like the majority of the other murals on East Side Gallery were painted and repainted by artists who dedicated their paintings to someone some cause some ideal. Schwartze Deutsche Lesbe, as a, mural with idealist import a public work of art, dedicated, like the majority of the art at East side Gallery, to common lofty ideas and people who have at times, borne the brunt of aggressive, authoritarian un-free cultures, is a public art work, protected to an extent by the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, for people, who visit the Hauptstaat, to see and today's inebriated young near Warschawer Street to do what they do, with many of the other public surfaces in Berlin, observe appreciate respect or deface. By craniv boyd. 

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