Europe Germany Street Art Travel

Best of Berlin: The East Side Gallery

September 10, 2017

Whether you’re a history boff or an art enthusiast, Berlin’s East Side Gallery needs to be on your list of things to see when visiting the German capital. Having studied European Studies at university there was a huge emphasis on the history surrounding Berlin between 1933 and 1989, with a number of my modules focusing on the Cold War. Before I began my degree, I must admit that I knew relatively little about this event in recent history, but I’ve since read loads of books, seen plenty films, visited numerous museums and written more than enough essays on the topic. Practically one of the only things I hadn’t yet done was to visit the wall itself. So, on a recent trip to Berlin, I made sure that the East Side Gallery was top of my to-do list.

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Before I start, I thought I’d just recap on a bit of info from earlier post ‘Ten Things You Must See in Berlin‘ which of course featured the East Side Gallery. For those of you who have got this far and are wondering what exactly I’m talking about, the East Side Gallery is a surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall and is now an international memorial for freedom. The Gallery, which is just over 1.3km long, is made up of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. The paintings, which make a political commentary on events during the time, also spread messages of love and peace.

Location

The East Side Gallery can be found on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, covering the distance between the Oberbaumbrücke and Stralauerplatz. The best way to reach the Gallery is to take the S-bahn (S5, S7 and S75) or U-Bahn (U1) to Warschauer Straße.

 

East Side Gallery

With over 105 paintings to choose from, it was difficult deciding which to include in this post! I’ve gone for some of my favourites!

east side gallery

Berlyn by Gerhard Lahr

east side gallery

“Mein Gott hilf mir, diese tödliche Liebe zu überleben” by Dmitri Wrubel – This painting depicts Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing. The Russian words at the top read “God! help me stay alive”; and continue at the bottom “Among this deadly love.”

east side gallery

“Wer will, daß die Welt so bleibt, wie sie ist, der will nicht, daß sie bleibt” by Elisa Budzinski. English: “He who wants the world to remain as it is doesn’t want it to remain at all”

Der Mauerspringer by Gabriel Heimler. Gabriel was the youngest artist asked to contribute to the Gallery and his mural portrayed a West German leaping over the wall to the East, ready to buy up the East German state companies – however this was mostly misinterpreted as an East German leaping to freedom.

east side gallery

Niemandsland (No man’s land) by Carmen Leidner.

east side gallery

Some heads by Thierry Noir. The French artist visited Berlin in 1984 and was the first artist to begin painting the wall. Noir’s objective was to perform one real revolutionary act: To paint the Berlin wall, to transform it, to make it ridiculous, and to help destroy it, prempting its ultimate fall in 1989. Noir covered the Berlin Wall, more than 3 metres high, with bright, vivid colours, aiming not to embellish the wall but to demystify it. Noir’s iconic, bright and seemingly innocent works painted on this deadly border symbolised a sole act of defiance and a lone voice of freedom.

east side gallery

“Der Geist ist wie Spuren der Vögel am Himmel” (Thoughts are like traces of birds in heaven) by Ingeborg Blumenthal

east side gallery

“Sonic Malade” by Greta Csatlòs (Art group Ciccolina)

east side gallery

“Umleitung in den japanischen Sektor” (Detour to the Japanese sector) by Thomas Klingenstein

east side gallery

Ohne Titel (Without title) by Gamil Gimajew

east side gallery

“Es geschah im November” (It happened in November) by Kani Alavi

“Die Tanzenden” by Sabine Kunz

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I hope you liked my post and the pictures – maybe you have a favourite? Have you visited the East Side Gallery before, or are you planning a visit? Do let me know in the comments below and as always any questions, ping them my way!

 

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