Berlin is the city of special museums, but only few of them are on the usual touristic routes. Some of them are hidden in secret corners of the city, out of sight, but easy to be found by the real lovers of art. Take, for instance, Georg Kolbe Museum. It is situated in an area without high tourist attractions, but easy to be reached after visiting the Olympic Stadium, either by train - S-Bahn Heerstrasse and around 10 minutes or walking - or by bus.
I wanted to visit this museum for a long time, but there were always new temptations around in my area so I left it for later. This autumn, without too many opportunities to go out of the city as often as I wanted to, and determined to see the Jean Arp exhibition - Navel of the Avant-garde - before closing, I finally made it. Representative of the Berlin Secession movement, Kolbe was considered one of the biggest sculptors of Germany. He collaborated with Mies van der Rohde for the building of Barcelona Pavillion and had a relatively limited collaboration with the far-right regime.
The museum is the first open in West Berlin after the war, in 1950, hosted in the house that Kolbe used to work between 1929 and 1947.
Human bodies are spread all over the garden and the entrance, silent apparitions at human scale. Their tensed postures made you think that they are alive and ready to share with you some secrets.
Only the wild nature balances the wild energy of the statues. The huge trees put everything in a new perspective. It is so much strength and natural power everywhere that I start my tour with a long stay in the garden, trying to feel the synchronisation and contrasts between human and nature forces.
The exhibition spaces are big,wrapped in the natural light coming out of the wall-sized windows. It also has a library. I met Jean Arp's work before, at the Modern Art Museum in Strasbourg. The exhibition at Kolbe Museum was focused on the pictorial sign of the navel, carved in stone, shaped in plastic or bronze, considered the humankind bond to nature. Arp puts into question many of the principles of the traditional art not only through sculptures, but also collages and paintings.
Outside, more human bodies are watching the entrance, surprised in their private worlds but still keeping the sight outside, like a warning to the accidental visitor that they are there to stay.
From the terrasse of the Cafe K, serving vegetarian dishes and good coffees, I finished my museum trip spending more time looking at the forest of bodies. Nature not only inspires art but also show to the art and artists in general the right proportions.