I still have a lot of things to learn both about Berlin and the history of visual arts in Germany so when I find an occasion to cover two topics at once, I can't say 'no'. I wanted for a long time to visit Berlinische Galerie but somehow for years I only went in the neighbourhood once or twice without being tempted to enter. Last week, I took one day off from my home office for discovering a couple of museums and galleries that were on my priority list but without a specific reason slipped on second or thirds places. Thus, watch this blog for more museum wanderings and wondering to come in the next days.
The entrance to the gallery is fully in accordance with the spontaneity of modern arts: a 'carpet of words' that introduces the visitor to the temporary and permanent exhibitions of art. The temporary exhibitions are situated on the ground floor. This time, the space was shared between: the winner of Vattenfall Contemporary prize Katja Strunz exploring the monumental architecture; the photographer Tobias Zielony introducing the Trona community from the Californian desert - described in a couple of words by a youngster living there as follows: 'When you have absolutely nothing to do you do bad things' - and a moving visual investigation into the world of sex slaves. A more optimistic and creative mood is brought by the collages of the German artist Henning Bohl. Another interesting exhibition is dedicated to the recent history of the new governmental district in Berlin, especially after the unification. As in the case of many other areas of the city, it is still work in process.
The architecture of the gallery in itself is very creative and set to offer a lot of space for exhibition while leaving enough privacy to the visitor to grasp alone the symbols of the visual challenges. The first floor is dedicated to the history of contemporary arts in Germany, with a specific focus on the work of those having Berlin as their creative headquarters. The space is getting smaller but big enough to offer a panorama of the state of the arts from the end of the 19th century till the post-war period.
The history of German arts cannot easily be separated from the history of the country in itself. It sounds very natural for me, but I am sure many supporters of the pure arts-for-arts perspective will not agree with me. The historical illustration is mostly covered by the collection of photography exhibited, such as Erich Solomon's, Lotte Jacobi (author of one of famous Einstein's photos) and Rudolf Schlichter's presented various stages from the history of Berlin. Among the other works presented are those signed by George Grosz, Felix Nussbaum, Naum Gabo, El Lissitzky or Arthur Segal. So many things to see and understand that I would love to be back soon, eventually with someone able to tell me more art stories.