Tag Archives: Mitte

Banksy Flower Chucker / Thrower in Berlin

Flower Chucker / Thrower - Street Art by Banksy in the courtyard of the Kunsthaus Tacheles Berlin

Did you know that there is a large-scale example of one of the most recognisable Street Art pieces by undoubtedly the most famous Street Artist in the world in Berlin?  Banksy’s Flower Chucker / Thrower has been reproduced by thousands of opportunistic entrepreneurs on posters, mugs and canvases. You can even buy your own stencil.  The piece can be found in the courtyard of what was the Kunsthaus Tacheles (Art House Tacheles).

Flower Chucker / Thrower - Street Art by Banksy in the courtyard of the Kunsthaus Tacheles Berlin

Tacheles is a former department store squatted by a group of artists soon after the fall of the wall that became one of Berlin’s most popular tourist attractions.

Global Warming Exhibition sign inside the former artists squat Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin

Graffitied staircase inside the former artists squat Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin

It was built in 1907 and has a very interesting and chequered past.  Between 1928 and 1980 it was used by AEG as a shop and showroom called Haus der Technik, housed the central office of the SS, was used as a Nazi interrogation centre and then became the home of the Free German Trade Union Federation.

The building was partially demolished in 1980 and it was in order to save the building that the artists collective occupied the building in 1990.

Graffitied staircase and cage inside the former artists squat Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin

Tourists relaxing inside the former artists squat Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin

The last squatters were finally cleared from Tacheles in September 2012 after a protracted legal battle against eviction.

Banksy has been at the forefront of an explosion in the popularity of Street Art and Graffiti over the last couple of decades and his work has risen dramatically in value.

His pieces tend to make a political or social statement and he can count Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Kate Moss, and Jake Gyllenhall among his fans.  The fact that he has so far managed to remain anonymous despite numerous attempts to unmask him only adds to the hype surrounding his work.

In 2010 he released his first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which he described as “the world’s first Street Art disaster movie”.

Flower Chucker / Thrower - Street Art by Banksy in the courtyard of the Kunsthaus Tacheles Berlin

The piece at Tacheles depicts a youth with a scarf over his face and reversed cap throwing a bunch of flowers as though it was a Molotov cocktail.  Banksy used the image as the cover for his 2005 best-selling book, Wall and Piece.

Update: A comment on my Facebook page suggests that this is not a genuine Banksy and was in fact painted by someone connected to Zapata, the bar that occupied the part of the building on which it is painted.

Banksy originally painted the Flower Chucker / Thrower on the West Bank barrier, a wall separating Israel from the West Bank – it is appropriate therefore that it can also be found in Berlin, a city divided for so long by a wall.

Tommi’s Burger Joint – From Reykjavik to Berlin

Cheeseburger with Bacon and Fries (close up) at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Tommi’s Burger Joint, the Icelandic burger chain, opened its first restaurant in Germany at Invalidenstrasse 160, Berlin on 9 May 2014, six months behind schedule.  The delays were blamed on German bureaucracy but had the positive effect of building anticipation amongst Berlin burger lovers.

Tómas Andrés Tómasson, the 65-year-old founder who gives his name to the venture has a long history in the restaurant and hotel industries.  He opened his first burger joint, Tommahamborgarar (Tommi’s Hamburgers) in Reykjavik in 1981 but decided to sell up in 1983, having sold over 1 million burgers and expanded the business to include 6 locations.

After spending six months travelling around the world, Tommi returned to Iceland in 2003 and realised that he needed to make money.  “No way!” was his initial reaction when friends suggested he go back to the burger business.

Thankfully he changed his mind.

He enlisted the help of Kristín Gunnarsdóttir to take care of the interior design, which intentionally gave the (false) impression of a burger joint that had been running for years, with a laidback feel.

The Tommi’s franchise now boasts 6 restaurants in Iceland, 2 in London, 1 in Copenhagen and the latest offering in Berlin.

Cardboard sign at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

On the opening day in Berlin, the burgers were free.  Having failed to take advantage of the giveaway I was determined to put things right on day 2 when burgers were half price.

Menu at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

The menu at Tommi’s is kept deliberately simple.  There’s a choice of: Burger, Cheeseburger, Veggie Burger, or Steak Burger, with the additional option to add extras, the most important of which is bacon.

The ‘Offer of the Century’ combines a burger, fries and a soft drink for €8.90 (there is also beer available, including the Icelandic brew, Viking Gylltur).

Viking Gylltur Beer at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

They also serve killer milkshakes – rich and creamy, I’d recommend the Chocolate.

Orders are placed at the counter.

The burgers are cooked on an American gas grill, which is the reason for the enticing and hunger-inducing chargrill aroma that wafts over you as you walk in the door.  They are served in a deliciously soft, slightly sweet-tasting bun, with a little iceberg lettuce, sliced ​​tomato and chopped onion; along with ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.  The whole thing is then wrapped in paper.

The chips / fries / pommes (depending on your nationality) are thin cut and crispy and come with a serving of Béarnaise sauce.

Cheeseburger with Bacon and Fries at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Burger and fries are brought to you in a basket having established your whereabouts by shouting your name.

Under the black and white portrait of a bearded man (Tommi) that hangs on the wall opposite the kitchen is an extras bar.  Here you can add Jalapeños, onions, pickles and numerous sauces of varying spiciness.

Tommi (Tomas Tomasson) Portrait at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Pimp Your Burger sign at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Extras Bar at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

I missed this on my first visit and commented to Gilly that the only thing missing for me was a spicy kick.  Thankfully, by my second visit I was aware of what is probably the most important feature of the restaurant thanks to this post on Berlin Loves You.

I have to say that I’m a big fan – I went 3 times in the first week.

And I’m not the only one.  The fact that Tommi’s Burger Joint Berlin has managed to accumulate 1200 likes on its Facebook page in the 11 weeks it has been open is testament to the quality of the food and the strength of the brand.

Cardboard Signs at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

Tiles at Tommi's Burger Joint Berlin

As well as serving top-notch food, the service is quick and friendly; even during the busiest times and the tiled and mirrored walls (that remind me of a butcher’s shop) are part of a décor that is effortlessly cool.  The soundtrack of classics from the likes of Elton John, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra contributes to the relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

Tommi has eaten at least one burger every day since he launched over 10 years ago.  He is quoted as saying:

“If you stop to think about it, what’s in a burger? It’s good beef, bread, lettuce and tomatoes with ketchup, mustard and a little mayonnaise.”

So, whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a Tommi-level burger habit, why not adopt his philosophy that a burger is healthy and head to Tommi’s Burger Joint in Berlin for one of the best burgers the city has to offer.

Olympus OM-D Photography Playground Berlin 2014

3Destruct by ANTIVJ at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

The Olympus OM-D Photography Playground has made a welcome return to the Opernwerkstätten in Berlin.

Now in its second year the Photography Playground consists of a series of 9 installations from international artists that are intended to be both visually striking and interactive.

Epiphyte Membrane by Philip Beesley at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Transforma installation at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

AlexandLiane installation at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

My favourite installations were those that I thought encouraged the highest level of involvement from the visitors.

My first encounter with the work of Argentine artist Leandro Erlich was a write-up in the Evening Standard on his work in Dalston commissioned by the Barbican.

His work, Berlin Façade, is ideally suited to the Photography Playground and visitors were thrilled with the chance to seemingly defy gravity.

Close Up of Berlin Facade by Leandro Erlich at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Photo taken with Olympus EM-10

Berlin Facade by Leandro Erlich at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Photo taken with Olympus EM-10

The most fascinating work for me though was 3Destruct by ANTIVJ, an art collective comprised of Yannick Jacquet, Jeremie Peeters and Thomas Vaquié.

The installation uses strobe lighting to create an environment that is constantly changing.

3Destruct by ANTIVJ at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

A visitor poses in 3Destruct by ANTIVJ at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Bright Light of 3Destruct by ANTIVJ at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Surreal in 3Destruct by ANTIVJ at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Integral to the Photography Playground concept is the availability of cameras from the Olympus OM-D range for visitors to record their experiences.  The cameras have been moved to the ground floor in front of the entrance making this option much more obvious to the casual visitor.

The cameras are loaned out free of charge but those visitors who do not carry a National Identity card will need to hand over their Passport.  The memory card is yours to take away when you hand the camera back.

Last year, I didn’t have the proper identification so I missed out on the opportunity to try out a camera so this year I was determined to give it a go.

Along with details of the artists and a short explanation of the work there are suggested settings for the Olympus camera in front of each of the installations.

I got to walk around with an EM-10 and was impressed with the camera and the photos I was able to produce in the short time I had it.

Olympus OM-D EM-10

Olympus OM-D EM-10

Love for Transforma at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Photo taken with Olympus EM-10

Installation at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Photo taken with Olympus EM-10

AlexandLiane at Olympus Photography Playground Berlin

Photo taken with Olympus EM-10

I would be keen to try out the camera again and would particularly like to explore its WIFI capability, as this could be a great everyday camera for Intstagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The Olympus OM-D Photography Playground Berlin is open daily 11:00 to 19:00 and entrance is free.  You can find more details at the Photography Playground website.

JR – Wrinkles of the City in Berlin – Part 2

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 12

Wrinkles of the City by French street artist, JR is undoubtedly one of the most exciting street art projects to hit Berlin.

Since I first saw his crew pasting one of the artworks at Warschauer Strasse a few weeks ago, photos of JR’s pieces have been regularly appearing in my Instagram and Twitter feeds.

Since I wrote my JR – Wrinkles of the City in Berlin post last week I’ve seen a few more of the photographs of Berlin residents on my wanders around Berlin.

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 13

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 14

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 15

You have until 25 May 2013 to see the Wrinkles of the City exhibition at Galerie Henrink Springmann in Berlin – a great opportunity to see more wonderful work by one of the world’s foremost street artists – JR.

Berlin Street Art Vol 10 – Various Artists

New pieces appear year round on the streets of Berlin but it has been noticeable that since the weather has improved more artists have been hitting the city.  With lots of great Street Art from ALANIZ, ALIAS, CAZ.L and El Bocho to name a few, the problem with compiling this post wasn’t finding good work but agonizing over what to leave out.

That just means that there’s plenty in the bag for more posts though.

ALIAS

It’s always good to find new work by ALIAS and I love the pieces that appeared in Mitte recently.

Game Over - Street Art by ALIAS in Berlin

Behind Bars - Street Art by ALIAS in Berlin

Batter Up - Street Art by ALIAS in Berlin

Peter Pink

This is the first time I’ve seen a Peter Pink piece for myself so the first time he’s appeared on andBerlin but I love the humour in his work that I’ve seen on his Facebook page and other blogs – especially his potatoes.

Angela Merkel - Muss Ja - Street Art by Peter Pink in Berlin

CAZ.L

I used a piece by Berlin based street artist CAZ.L in my Dog Lover post and here are a couple more paste-ups spotted in the city lately.  I don’t know much (read next to nothing) about the artist but check out the Facebook Page for updates.

Ride Into The Sun - Street Art by CAZ.L in Berlin

Adoration - Street Art by CAZ.L in Berlin

El Bocho

It would seem that El Bocho favourite Little Lucy has spent the winter coming up with a business plan – she’s still finding inventive ways to kill Kitti who is now on the menu.

Little Lucy Hanging Kitti - Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

Little Lucy - Katzeneintopf - Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

Little Lucy's Sandwich Shop - Street Art by El Bocho in Berlin

ALANIZ

As well as the usual paste-ups I’ve found a couple of huge ALANIZ paintings in Berlin lately. Painted with giant rollers you can see more new work in ALANIZ’s Flickr stream.

In Hiding - Street Art by ALANIZ in Berlin

The Blind Prophet - Street Art by ALANIZ in Berlin

No Child Is Born A Criminal - Street Art by ALANIZ in Berlin

Robi The Dog

I don’t know if Swiss artist Robi The Dog has moved to Berlin but I’ve seen new works from him regularly since last summer.

Mariachi Boy - Street Art by Robi The Dog in Berlin

.FRA

Plenty of paste-ups by Swiss street artist .FRA have appeared on walls and doors all over Berlin lately – I’ve seen them in Mitte, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding.

Vado In Miniera - Street Art by .FRA in Berlin

Wanna Buff? (Mexican Wrestler) - Street Art by .FRA in Berlin

.FRA and Robi The Dog

These two Swiss guys have obviously been out pasting together and I love this combination.

Speak Louder & Leggy Zebra - Street Art by Robi The Dog & .FRA in Berlin

Stay tuned for more great Berlin Street Art soon.

Olympus OM-D Photography Playground at the Opernwerkstätten Berlin

Jeongmoon Choi – Drawing in Space at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

An interactive exhibition is ideally suited to Berlin, a city overflowing with creative people, and that is what Olympus has created with the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground, which opened at the Opernwerkstätten last night.

The Opernwerkstätten, built between 1939 and 1941 with some involvement from Albert Speer, used to house the workshops of Berlin’s many opera companies.  It was here that the sets were built and costumes made.  Visiting during the installation of the new exhibition gave me the opportunity to appreciate the space.

The ceiling at the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

A hook at the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

Außer Betrieb - Fire Alarm at the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

Olympus turned over 7,000 m² of the building to a group of artists to create site-specific installations on the theme ‘Space and Art’.   Between them, Jeongmoon Choi, Martin Butler, Shan Blume, Starstyling, Numen / For Use, Julian Charrière, UnitedVisualArtists, Tim John and Sven Meyer & Kim Pörksen, Speech and Zimoun have created a stimulating playground for the senses.

Visitors are invited to explore the space and document their experiences with the Olympus OM-D camera which can be rented free of charge.  The memory card is removed from the camera when it is returned and can be taken home.

The Olympus OM-D system camera

Photo courtesy of Olympus

Warning: You will need ‘proper’ identification (for those without a National Identity Card, a passport) to borrow one of the cameras.

Unfortunately, my UK Drivers Licence wasn’t acceptable so I can’t tell you any more about the Olympus OM-D, except that it looks good.

It was clear that those people who did get their hands on the camera were enjoying the experience though – everywhere you went people were snapping away.

Visitors taking photos of the installation by Zimoun – Prepared dc-motors, cork balls, cardboard boxes at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

Visitors having fun with the installation by fashion designing duo Starstyling – Settings at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

A visitor taking photographs in the installation by SPEECH (Tchoban & Kuznetsov) – towninbox at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

And why wouldn’t they?  The installations have been cleverly conceived and constructed to play with light, sound and perception and make ideal subjects or backgrounds for photographs.

A visitor taking photographs in Shan Blume's OT_L_Space_01 at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

 

United Visual Artists – Vanishing point at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

Amongst my favourite installations was Drawing Space by Korean artist Jeongmoon Choi.  The simple but effective use of UV light and string created a myriad of geometric patterns that were visually striking and different from every angle.

Visitors interacting with the installation by Jeongmoon Choi - Drawing in Space at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

Another outstanding contribution was Tim John’s ‘Was war gestern’ (What was yesterday).  I spoke to the artist while he was creating the artwork and it was important for him to create an experience with his installation.  Echoing the building’s past he has created a stage and set, complete with audience in their boxes.  A number of ‘pointing fingers’ direct visitors to the interactive elements.  The crank of an old gramophone, for instance, must be turned to start the show.

Tim John – Was war gestern (What was yesterday) at the Olympus OM-D Photography Playground the Opernwerstätten in Berlin

A fun, interactive, sensory experience this is what all exhibitions should be.  The Olympus OM-D Photography Playground has returned in 2014 and is open daily 11:00 to 19:00 at the Opernwerkstätten, Zinnowitzer Strasse 9, Berlin until 25 May 2014 – entry is free.

JR – Wrinkles of the City in Berlin

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 1

French Street Artist JR began his Wrinkles of the City project in Cartegna in 2008 – since then, he has continued the theme in Shanghai, Los Angeles and Havana and this month, Berlin.

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 2

As luck would have it, I spotted JR and his crew at work at Warschauer Strasse two weeks ago today.  Having recognised his work, I followed him on Twitter and Instagram, where he posted shots of work in progress and some of the completed artworks.

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 3

The concept behind Wrinkles of the City is to take photos of the old people living in the city in which the art will be displayed as large-scale paste-ups on walls that have their own texture so that the architectural wrinkles enhance the physical wrinkles.

JR has left his mark on between 15 and 20 walls in Berlin where suitable buildings are plentiful.

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 11

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 4

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 5

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 6

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 7

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 8

While he was here he also created impromptu artwork at the East Side Gallery, where he rebuilt a section of the wall recently removed by developers amid protests and added a paste up.  In this article in Berliner Morgenpost (auf Deutsch) it is alleged that a Security Guard was knocked out during the incident.  A photo of the artwork has subsequently been removed from JR’s intagram feed.

This isn’t JR’s first contribution to Street Art in Berlin.  JR collaborated with BLU on the mural at Cuvrystrasse that represents the struggle for East and West to remove each other’s masks to reveal their true identity, which featured in my BLU in Berlin post.  JR’s input, the eyes, had unfortunately long since disappeared by the time I first came to Berlin in 2009.  There is also a huge pair of eyes under the railway bridge from Friedrichstrasse station at Schiffbauerdamm.

An exhibition of Wrinkles of the City at Galerie Henrink Springmann runs until 25 May 2013, with two of the outdoor pieces nearby.  The exhibition includes original artworks on wood, incredible photos from the project in previous cities, a captivating multi-screen video installation (with blinking eyes) in the front room and a film of JR at work on loop in the back of the gallery.  It really compliments the street work and I would highly recommend a visit.

You can see more photos of JR’s Wrinkles of the City project in Berlin on his website, including photos of the piece on Warschauer Strasse with an uninterrupted view – an advantage of having access to the train tracks (parked trains have been in the way each time I’ve been there).

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 9

Also, for an interview with JR about the project, shot while he completed the work at Postbahnhof, check out this video from Enter Berlin, a YouTube channel dedicated to urban culture, art, food, fashion and music.

Street Artist JR – Wrinkles of the City // On the Beat

I hope to find more of the JR pieces from Wrinkles of the City in Berlin over the coming weeks.  Sooner rather than later hopefully because there is a question over how long some might last – the diggers are already perilously close to this piece.

JR - Wrinkles of the City Berlin 10

Stolpersteine 195 – 197

Stolpersteine Berlin 195: In memory of Cacilie Nadel (Admiralstrasse 23)

I have updated my Stolpersteine Gallery to include photos of the Stolpersteine I have seen in Berlin in the last couple of weeks.

The Stolpersteine I saw were memorials to: Cacilie Nadel (Admiralstrasse 23); Elsbeth Piltz (Kottbusser Damm 5); Arthur Rosenow, Jenny Bukofzer and Isidor Bukofzer (Graefestrasse 3).

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