Monthly Archives: March 2012

El Bocho on the streets of Berlin

Little Lucy: Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

Walking between Hackescher Markt and Alexanderplatz this afternoon I came across some new paste-ups by Berlin-based street artist, El Bocho.

El Bocho has been putting up work on the streets of Berlin since 1997 and anyone who has wandered around central Berlin is sure to have seen some of his art.

His most recognisable character is Little Lucy, a cute looking cat hater.  Her ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ (and boss-eyed) appearance belies the fact that she is always dreaming up inventive ways to torture or kill Kitti.  Often, Kitti is seen suffering or dead nearby.

Head and shoulders portraits of young women (his Citizen series) also feature heavily in his work.

I miss my Plattenbau…

I miss my Plattenbau: Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

Have to wash off the city colours…

Have to wash off the city colour: Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

This last piece is the first time I remember seeing an El Bocho that isn’t brightly coloured.

Washed Out: Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

I have featured a number of El Bochos in previous posts and in my Street Art galleries but having seen four new pieces on one day, I thought it was time he got a post of his own.

You can see more El Bocho work on his website.  Or better still, come to Berlin and see it on the streets for yourself.

Stolpersteine 55 – 57

Stolpersteine 56: In memory of Hedwig Mieser (Münzstrasse 22) in Berlin

This week’s Stolpersteine spotted in Berlin are now in the photo gallery here.

These latest Stolpersteine were dedicated to: Hugo G Cohn and Margarete Cohn (outside Karstadt Sports – Joachimstaler Strasse 6-5)Hedwig Mieser (Münzstrasse 22)Paul Aronsbach, Selma Aronsbach, Erika Aronsbach and Manfred Aronsbach (outside Hotel Hackescher Markt – Grosse Präsidentstrasse 8).

My first post about Stolpersteine gives more background about these memorials to the victims of National Socialism created by artist Gunter Demnig.

Vhils – Go Forth: Street Art in Berlin

Joe Hatchiban (through a fence): Street Art by Vhils (Alexandre Farto) in Berlin for the Go Forth advertising campaign for Levi’s

I decided last night that my post today would be a photo of this Vhils I spotted on Chausseestrasse last week.   When I googled ‘Vhils Chausseestrasse’, in an attempt to be more descriptive about the location, I came across this post about four Vhils murals in Berlin.

This by no means falls into the category of news, as the pieces were created in July 2011.  But hopefully for someone it’s new.

All were part of the Go Forth marketing campaign for Levi’s, created in conjunction with Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, who in their own words:

came to Berlin looking to find the pioneers who are making the city into the new cultural centre of Europe.  Amongst hundreds, we collaborated with Vhils to immortalize four.

I had already seen three of the four works when I read the post last night but wasn’t aware of the piece on Potsdamer Strasse.

So, here are the four.

A close-up of Chausseestrasse 36 – Joe Hatchiban who set up the Bearpit Karaoke at the Mauerpark.

Joe Hatchiban: Street Art by Vhils (Alexandre Farto) in Berlin for the Go Forth advertising campaign for Levi’s

Potsdamer Strasse 151 – Photographer Sven Marquardt, who also controls the door at legendary Berlin club, Berghain.

Sven Marquardt: Street Art by Vhils (Alexandre Farto) in Berlin for the Go Forth advertising campaign for Levi’s

Revaler Strasse 99 – Fadi Saad, a Neighbourhood Manager and Youth Worker, who draws on his past experiences in a gang to help the young people of Berlin.

I first took a photo of this on my phone before I started the blog and always meant to go back to get a better photo.  Writing this post gave me the push to do so.

Fadi Saad: Street Art by Vhils (Alexandre Farto) in Berlin for the Go Forth advertising campaign for Levi’s

An der Schillingsbrücke – One half of Artist Duo, Various & Gould.

I originally posted this photo as Vhils By The Spree.

Various & Gould: Street Art by Vhils (Alexandre Farto) in Berlin for the Go Forth advertising campaign for Levi’s

For anyone unfamiliar with his work, Vhils (real name Alexandre Farto) is a Portuguese Street Artist.  If you like what you see you might want to check out his website or the excellent book of his work published by Gestalten.

Flohmarkt am Mauerpark – a Berlin Flea Market

The crowd moves through the stalls at the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark (Flea Market) in Berlin on a Sunday

The crowd at the fleamarket at the Mauerpark yesterday was a real mix of the optimistic and the pessimistic.  Some were wearing hotpants, vests, flip flops and sunglasses.  Others were in overcoats, scarves and woolly hats.

For those of you that haven’t been there yet, and if you’re in Berlin on a Sunday I urge you to put that right, the fleamarket at the Mauerpark is a sprawling collection of stalls selling everything from original art and homemade pottery to house clearance junk (one man’s junk is another man’s treasure) and second hand clothes and books.

I came across a stall yesterday, that is either new or I have missed before, selling Lego figures.  There were Harry Potter characters, knights, Red Indians and Star Wars characters galore.  I even spotted Father Christmas and a snowman.

Star Wars Lego figures on sale at a stall at the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark  (Flea Market) in Berlin on a Sunday

Lego figures, including Father Christmas and a Snowman, on sale at a stall at the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark (Flea Market) in Berlin on a Sunday

There are also plenty of stalls selling food and drink (it was a running joke with some recent visitors that you can get beer anywhere in Berlin).

Having experienced Berlin in summer three times I was amazed to walk through the stalls with relative ease during the winter but with the sun nudging the Mercury up on the day the clocks changed it was a different story.

The crowd moves through the stalls at the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark (Flea Market) in Berlin on a Sunday

The Mauerpark was swarming with bargain hunters, people spotters and Sunday strollers.  Those who weren’t thronging the aisles were lazing about on the grass in the shadow of the wall or gathered around the Bear Pit (site of the famous Karaoke sessions that I still haven’t seen) to enjoy the entertainment.

A crowd gathers at The Bear Pit, site of the famous Karaoke, on a Sunday at Mauerpark in Berlin

There were some people being a bit more active: jugglers, swingers and singers.  And a changing cast of characters on the basketball court.

Basketball game on a Sunday at Mauerpark in Berlin

And bearing witness to Berlin’s alternative tendencies a diver was making his way around the crowd.  He was either as mad as a box of frogs or very adept at drawing the attention he craved.  Probably a bit of both, as he seemed a lot happier when he had a crowd gathered around him and was having his photo taken.

The Flohmarkt Frogman moves amongst the crowd at Mauerpark on a Sunday in Berlin

A close up of The Flohmarkt Frogman as he moves amongst the crowd at Mauerpark on a Sunday in Berlin

The Flohmarkt am Mauerpark is held every Sunday (with a few exceptions – check the website) alongside a former strip of no-man’s-land off Bernauer Strasse.

I would definitely include a mooch here on my itinerary for the perfect Sunday in Berlin and if you’ve got the bargain hunting bug you can move on to the nearby Flohmarkt am Arkonoplatz.

For more information on the flea market you might like to read this article on Slow Travel Berlin.  And Zoe gives some insight into the people/style-spotting opportunities on überlin.

Stolpersteine 52 – 54

Stolpersteine 52: In memory of Jeanette Grünberg and Ruth Grünberg (Fehrbelliner Strasse 22) in Berlin

I have added the photos of the Stolpersteine in Berlin I saw in the last week to the photo gallery here.

These Stolpersteine were in memory of: Jeanette Grünberg and Ruth Grünberg (Fehrbelliner Strasse 22)Leo Braun and Selma Braun (Schröderstrasse 2)Dr Martin Happ and Sophie Happ (Chausseestrasse 6).

My first post about Stolpersteine gives more background about these memorials to the victims of National Socialism created by artist Gunter Demnig.

Johanna Keimeyer at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg

Johanna Keimeyer exhibition at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

On World Water Day, Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg opened its doors to the public and hosted Pool Around Me, an exhibition by Johanna Keimeyer.

As I’ve always wanted to see inside the Stadtbad I made sure to go to this exhibition before the GLS Language school renovates the building.

The doors were open in the afternoon and visitors were encouraged to wander around the building (see my post about it here) and able to explore the photographic element of the exhibition.  This consisted of a project in which the artist appears in photographs underwater in more than 50 hotel pools around the world.  The photographs were displayed on the walls of the swimming pool and in a side room, including a selection laid in some of the old baths, gathered here for the purpose.

Johanna Keimeyer exhibition at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

During the evening there were three performances of a video projection in which the artist, interacting live with the video, appeared to dive into the pool and swim around the walls.

Johanna Keimeyer exhibition at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

Johanna Keimeyer exhibition at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

It was still possible to wander around the building at will so I couldn’t resist going back to the upper walkways now lit beautifully for the night.

Johanna Keimeyer exhibition at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

The exhibition was an inventive use of the space and enhanced the innate beauty of the building itself.

Johanna Keimeyer exhibition at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

 

Johanna Keimeyer exhibition at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg

The Main Hall and Swimming Pool at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin

I have been fascinated by the Stadbad Prenzlauer Berg (or Stadtbad Oderberger) on Oderberger Strasse since my first trip to Berlin in 2009 when I tried to wander into the building whilst it was being set up for a Swap Market event sponsored by Skyy Vodka.

At that time I didn’t realise that the building was generally not open to the public and that I wasn’t meant to be there.  I was a little shocked when someone came at me, slackjawed at my (unintentional) boldness, and presumably asked me what I thought I was doing.  ‘Es tut mir leid’ I said as I turned around and walked out.  But I couldn’t resist another quick look over my shoulder to see what I was missing out on.

Built to plans drawn up by the architect Ludwig Hoffman, the public baths on Oderberger Strasse opened in 1902 .  But in 1986 the baths were closed due to cracks in the pool floor.

Since then the building has been used occasionally for exhibitions or events but has mainly lain empty.

At the end of 2011, the Stadtbad was bought by the GLS Language School, based around the corner on Kastanienallee, whose plans for the building include a hotel and classrooms. The renovations are not expected to be completed until 2015 and at this time the swimming pool will once again be open to the public.

Yesterday, I finally got my chance to have a look around the building, which was open as part of World Water Day.

As well as allowing the public to wander freely around the building, there was an exhibition of photographs by Johanna Keimeyer and performances of a video installation by the artist in the evening but more of that in another post.

The building is a real mixture of the decorative and the functional. The vaulted ceilings in the main hall above the swimming pool and the staircases were gorgeous but in obvious need of some TLC.  I hope though that during the renovations they maintain the character that these features still display.

A staircase at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin

I was also drawn to the clock above the swimming pool in the main hall.  I think it was its simplicity that attracted me.

The clock above the Swimming Pool in the Main Hall at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin

In corridors surrounding the main hall on both the ground floor and first floor were the changing rooms, showers and bathrooms, which need more than just a good scrub.  But again, it would be a shame to destroy the character in the details here, such as the dials to indicate Frei (Free) or Besetzt (Occupied).

A changing room lock shows 'Frei' (Vacant) at Stadbad Prenzlauer Berg in BerlinA changing room lock shows 'Besetzt' (Occupied) at Stadbad Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin

I hope that the Stadtbad Prenzlauerberg (or Stadtbad Oderberger) in Berlin will be restored to its former glory by 2015 and the space will be well used and appreciated but I’m glad that I got the chance to see it as it looks now – tired and uncared for but still beautiful in its own way.

Changing Room Number 7 at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin A tarnished mirror on the floor of a changing room at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin A deserted room at Stadtbad Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin