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  • Jim Vaughey

That Time We Went to Berlin

That time we went to Berlin (Germany) and we saw stuff. The things we saw were in museums, on the wall, and on the sides of buildings. Berlin is very much a city where art can flourish. All kinds of art. It is filled with art that I get, that I don't get, that I like, am indifferent to, and quite a bit that I did not like. Which is great.

The number of museums in Berlin is staggering. We only visited a few. One of them was the berlinische galerie. This space has a couple of things to enhance the experience for visually impaired folks. There were some benches every so often that 3-D representations of a painting nearby. Read more about that on their site. And on the floor, there was a texture that one could follow so one knew where to walk and stop in front of pieces that one could experience. That is my guess for the grooved floor path anyway. Maybe I am reading too much into that.

One cool painting was by Ivan Puni :

But I am confused. Is it Ivan or Iwan? He signed Iwan. This is not helping. This piece is called Synthetic Musician. I could retype what I read about in this paragraph. But I am not going to. We have the Internet and we have links, so here is some information from the gallery's website.

So this is weird, on Flickr, there is another Synthetic Musician, that same year, but the guy has no mustache! Why is that the only non-mustachioed guy? Did he paint two that year? I want to research this but I also want to leave it as a mystery.

The main exhibit featured "the Eight" who were inspired by Fauvism, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse. Which explains why I liked it. Although I would not have guessed they were in the same movement. Its always a good day when you walk into a place and see something new, unexpected, and enjoyable.

Sometimes you look at a painting and wonder if that person has a funny sense of humor or if his family really disliked him for making them sit for so long. Bertalan Pór clearly had talent. Here in The Family (1909/10) you can see how unamused everyone is. One kid is asleep! The kid in blue is plotting his revenge and grandma is trying to work out if she will either under season or over season Bertalan's dinner. I'm guessing over season. There's no going back from that. I am drawn to the color, the brush strokes, the textures, it is kind of cartoonish but not. And of course just how miserable everyone is.

If one visits Berlin, one will probably visit what is left of The Wall. The big attractions of a city can sometimes be a let down or a pain. Did I have an interest in visiting the Colosseum in Rome? Of course! Was i willing to wait in line for two plus hours in the heat? No! Not when you can see a lot of it from the outside. The Wall was different. It is just there, waiting for you to take a selfie in some pose that really makes you think about the fact that people died trying to get over this wall, so that they could taste freedom and opportunity. So is that a peace sign? Is it one or is it two thumbs up? Definitely not pointing into the camera with your shades on the top of your head. At some point, they invited people that had painted on the Wall to recreate their work. Some did, others had no interest. Here are a couple of sections that I liked and took pictures of.

Then back at it with the museum/gallery scene. There was one artist on the list, Mona Hatoum. And a kinetic sculpture of hers was at the Kindl. If I remember correctly, this place was a mixed bag of things to see with your eyes that went from really cool all the way down to 'Ralph Malph'. Who I assume is a nice guy in real life.

One real cool thing was this:

Which is a tall metal structure that is a straight rectangle when you enter the room. And then as you can see, and bends and reshapes itself. Then goes back to being straight and rigid. It is titled all of a quiver. The sound was mesmerizing, along with watching it bend but never fall. Also great? We were the only two in the room. No crowds to deal with. No people walking in front of as you take a photo. You get to take whatever angle you want. It was lovely.

And the café! Check out the space! (Hat Tip: Brenda for finding this place.)

And we can't talk about the art scene in Berlin without showing off some street art. There aren't laws against it, or strict laws? There is a code among street artists though. It is wise to not disrespect those before you and the work that is on the walls. I did not take notes, which is a shame. There are levels of street art, From the tag (aka graffiti) to throw ups (quick pieces) to paste ups and something along the lines of super fancy how the heck did they do that. You don't paint over someone else's stuff unless your stuff is a lot better. And it can't be your friends and your mom's opinion. It has to be everyone's opinion. So it is best to paint around what is there already.

This Astronaut/Cosmonaut was part of a city wide competition. It is famous enough to have a wiki page. It is on every walking tour. Here are some of the details from Wikipedia. It was done in 2007 by a French guy named Ash. 2007 was a long time ago, the picture in that Wikipedia page shows what the wall looked like before the others added the other pieces. We learned about 1UP (at the bottom). They are a group of folks, and 1UP has to do with video games. And the letters along the side, that guy has a lot of paint in Berlin. He knows the unwritten rules and you can often see his work that intentionally goes around existing pieces.

This is a phot by BV. I am pretty sure it is part of the "Lady in Cement" series. Based on the paintings of Gustav Klimt. The dress in duct tape, weathered over the years. She is eating a Döner Kebab, and at one point in time there was a real wrapper keeping all those kebab innards in place. This was an example that showed not all street art is spray paint.

And the last thing in this post is that street art can sometimes be more than two-dimensional. It can be a weathered, over-saturated, cuckoo clock. This is made out of foam (of some kind). The pieces move in the wind. And it is up on the second floor. Some effort was put into getting this up there and making sure it wouldn't come down anytime soon.

And that was that time we went to Berlin and we looked at stuff and it was good.

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