The pieces that are still standing from the Berlin Wall are a symbol of the Cold War. Between Ostbahnhof and Oberbaumbrücke there is still 1.316 meters of this wall left and graffiti artists from all around the world made amazing artworks on it. In spring of 1990, just a few months after the wall was taken down, 118 artists were invited to show their vision of freedom on the leftovers from the wall. This makes the “East Side Gallery” the longest piece of public artwork in the world.
We were staying at the Nhow Hotel in Berlin, just a few minutes away from the East Side Gallery and we went to take pictures very early on a sunny morning when there wouldn’t already be lots of tourists around!
Out in the open air, the East Side Gallery is completely exposed to the weather, which means that there are regular efforts to restore it. In 1996, Kani Alavi founded “East Side Gallery e. V.”, an artists’ initiative to preserve and restore the works. By 2000, a 300-metre stretch of the wall had already been restored and 33 pictures repainted, and in 2009 the whole East Side Gallery was restored. 87 artists took part and 100 paintings were restored.
There was a long fence in front of the wall for the past few years, to protect the art on it. Thankfully just weeks before we arrived the fences were taken away and Joya and I could take these gorgeous pictures!
Souvenir-seeking tourists have done serious damage to the Berlin Wall; 3.5 million of them reportedly visit the East Side Gallery a year, and some engage in graffiti, scrawling their own names and messages atop the historic artworks. This is leaving Germany with no choice: A wall in front of the wall will be erected in summer 2018, to protect the landmark structure from further vandalism, reports the Art Newspaper.
Others feel compelled to bring home a piece of the wall to call their own. But everyone that chisels off a tiny fragment of the wall is literally chipping away at world history, leading some authorities to worry that the wall will not survive without additional protection.
Despite being referred to as a wall for most of its history, it actually consisted of two walls, with a purposefully designed “death strip” between them, where the unarmed would-be defectors were completely exposed to fire from the guards…
You can see this clearly at the picture above.
At 1316 metres long, the open-air art gallery on the banks of the Spree in Friedrichshain is the longest continuous section of the Berlin Wall still in existence. Immediately after the wall came down, 118 artists from 21 countries began painting the East Side Gallery, and it officially opened as an “open air gallery”on 28 September 1990. Just over a year later, it was given protected memorial status.
Art by: Thierry Noir – Hommage an die Junge Generation
Art by: Birgit Kinder – Test The Rest
Art by: Indiano – Die Geburt des Kachinas
Art by: Ditmar Reiter
Art by: Christine Kühn – Touch The Wall
Art by: Greta Ida Csatlòs – Sonic Malade
Art by: Gábor Simon – Space Magik
Art by: Schamil Gimajev – Worlds People, wir sind ein Volk
Art by; Ursula Wünsch – Frieden für Alles