In addition to the obvious historical sites, I was astounded by the ease of travel given the infrastructure. A simple underground, known as the U-bahn was supplemented by the S-bahn, elevated tracks, in addition to cable cars, and busses on nearly every corner with a full compliment of taxis, etc. It seemed a shame that in a country which manufactures both Mercedes and BMWs that one would never need a car to get around their largest city.
Likewise, the museums provided a full range of art offerings, from a bust of Nefertiti to the most contemporary Berlinische Galerie www.berlinischegalerie.de where I saw the silhouette of an airplane created out of a Persian run entitled “Flying Carpet” by Alex Flemming along with a large painting created of cassette audio tape cases—all works collected and produced since 2002.
One day I spent just touring art galleries, about 30 in all, focusing on two of the five art districts in Berlin. One of my most interesting finds was the work of a recent art school grad that focused on how people need to cooperate to communicate. Valentin Hertweck at www.gitteweisegallery.com showcased “Legato” a fully set table for six, where all utensils and glassware needed to be used simultaneously for a successful dinner party. Yukiko Terada at www.deschler-berlin.de has on display her works cut from textiles—a gigantic functional T-shirt and a shopping bag with wheels, with a plaid dog cut right from the same cloth. I was lucky enough to see another artist known of his work with textiles, Daniel Buren at www.buchmanngalerie.com where he had blue and white and green and white sailcloth strips extended over fans all blowing in harmony entitled “Westwind.” At www.aurelscheibler.com I was intrigued to find the work of Thomas Rentmeister, known for his sculptural work with vast quantities of Styrofoam and nutella who had “replastered” the entire back wall of the gallery with this mixture of white and chocolate, providing a background for his newer works using Q-tips, cotton balls, and sugar cubes glued together with a yellow glue. His use of everyday materials was an interesting commentary on his pursuit of art.
I could also write volumes on the not-so-distinguished art I saw, painted two by fours, disappointing videos, ceramic figures with long red noses, and piles of plastic tubing. I’ll refrain from dismissing these as art and just keep them in my memory bank as making the trip a worthwhile endeavor and furthering the dynamic contrasts I witnessed during my trip.