I know a lot has changed there recently and I will go into that later in the post but first I want to write about my original experiences there.
I first visited the Eastside Gallery on a cold February morning with a bunch of classmates from my German class. It was a bank holiday se we decided to meet up and take in some of the sites. With all of us having an interest in photography and art it seemed like an excellent choice. As it had been a heavy night for some of the members of our group we only made it past a few sections before stopping at Eastside Blick for a coffee and a warm up. Once we were fully recharged and we could all feel our toes again we set of to take in the rest of the gallery.
The Eastside Gallery is 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall which is now a memorial for peace and freedom. It has a little over 100 separate paintings by artists from all over the world. The pieces are huge, inspirational and often powerful, when you think about where they are painted the message seems all the more real. I was really impressed on my first visit and totally in awe of the scale of the artwork and how varied they pieces were.
My second visit was in late March of the same year with family visiting us for the first time, we were experiencing an unseasonal warm snap and this time the stop at Eastside Blick was for liquid refreshment of a different type.
The gallery itself still just as impressive but somehow didn’t seem quite as crisp as it was before with a few graffiti tags here and there but I still enjoyed showing my family the art and pointing out my favourite pieces for them and translating what i could in my very basic German. Our last visit to the gallery was in December 2011 once again in the cold and this time even in the snow, we had a friend visiting from London and we were on a mission to see as many sights as his short time with us and the weather would allow. I don’t know if it was the snow or they fact I was seeing it for the 3rd time but on this visit the gallery really seemed to have lost it’s sparkle, it was covered in graffiti and looked very rough round the edges which was an interesting change.
I am told that the art pieces which do change periodically have a special coating on them and once in a while they have given a scrub down to remove any “unwanted art” and return them to their former glory. I can’t confirm or deny this however because I haven’t had cause to go back since. Another interesting occurence happened this year when a developer decided to remove part of the gallery to grant access for construction of a block of luxury apartments between the Spree and the wall. Obviously this has been heavily protested but it has gone ahead anyway so just hope this small part of Berlin doesn’t go the same way as Tacheles and disappear. My advice would be to see this wonderful landmark in whichever state in may be in before it is too late.