Art notes from Berlin

On a flight to Berlin a Turkish women and her daughter were sitting next to me and I noticed the little girl had tears in her eyes. When I asked why she was crying the mother said it was because she didn’t want to leave Turkey. They were both wringing their hands in sadness. After a while, the mother asked me why I was going to Berlin. “It’s like a prison“, she said, “you won’t see many people on the streets; you’ll get bored." I couldn’t find the right words to explain to her what I was going to be doing in Berlin, and sufficed with telling her I wouldn’t be staying long.

It was my first trip to Berlin and I tried to recall what I knew about the city. How many cities in the world have been separated twice and brought back together again. Berlin must be a city of sophistication, sadness and pain. In 1989, East and West Berliners came together to pull down the Berlin wall. I had watched it on TV.

On landing we went through passport and visa control and then we were let out into the city. When our host collected us from the airport, I saw broad avenues lined with big old trees, old buildings behind the old trees, many cars and few people. The apartment I stayed in was an old one. The elevator was built outside.

If you are a guest in the home of a family who are preoccupied with a young baby, you have to show yourself around the city.

Meet Berlin
First of all, Berlin has a good rail network for travelling around the city both underground (U bahn) and overground (S bahn). The buses are always on time. (pünktlich)

Sony Centre at Postdamer Platz
After the reunification of East and West Berlin, a showpiece was constructed near the old Berlin wall. Sony and other big companies sponsored the construction of large buildings around a vast square with a central pool surrounded by a number of cafes where you can sit around eating, chatting and watching celebrities from the Berlinale (Berlin Film Festival) on a big screen on the Filmhaus. The Berlinale is an annual event and the Filmhaus has two sections dedicated to the film and television history of Germany. I opted for the former, which deals with the history of German cinema from the 1920s to the present There is documentation on many directors, producers, actors and actresses, and I was particularly interested in the section on Marlene Dietrich displaying the gowns, shoes, hats and accessories she wore on set as well as photographic portraits, and a short film about her private life was shown. Of course, Romy Schneider, Fassbinder and Hanna Schygula were featured. In addition, there were documentaries on the film sector in the era of the Second World War.

Brice Marden in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin
Nowadays people travel much more frequently all over the world than in the past, but art, paintings, have also begun to travel from continent to continent and cooperation between museums has developed. The exhibition of Brice Marden was organized by MOMA - NYC in cooperation with the National Galerie sponsored by the Verein der Freunde der National Galerie and the Deutsche Bank A.G. This retrospective exhibition exhibited the minimalist paintings and drawings of Brice Marden. His minimalist paintings are like a wall. It is not possible to see any other colours behind the first colour. They are very neutral. The colours under his drawings are more harmonious. It can be said that his later paintings are more colourful than the earlier works. In the exhibition space was hanging his biography and there was a video in which Brice Marden was speaking in an exhibition place about his art. Some of the paintings exhibited were Grove Group, Elements, Cold Mountain
(1989 -1991), Presentation (1990 - 1992) 7 Red  ( 2000-2002)

Frankreich in the Alten National Galerie until October 07, 2007
In large European cities some museums are located in proximity to form a museum island making it easier to visit them all without travelling long distances. The museum island in Berlin consists of Berliner Dom, die Alten National Galerie, Neues Museum, Altes Museum, Pergamon Museum, and Bode Museum.

Small but fine, the Berlin impressionist painting collection
At the beginning of the 20th century the director of the National Galerie was Hugo von Tschudi, who predicted the future importance and profitability of impressionist paintings. Kaiser Willhelm II refused to buy these paintings, but in spite of his decision von Tschudi continued to buy the paintings, which are now displayed in this exhibition. The representative work of the exhibition is Manet’s "Wintergarten", which is the most beautiful.

Cindy Sherman (until 17.09.2007) and  Re` Soupault (28 April-13 August 2007)   im Martin -Gropius -Bau Berlin.


Cindy Sherman
Visitors to the Cindy Sherman exhibition are confronted with a warning note. " We wish to inform you that the exhibition of Cindy Sherman contains material that some may find sensitive and we do not recommend that it be viewed by children and youngsters".

On the first floor of Martin Gropius Bau the Photo Series of Cindy Sherman is exhibited.
It was exciting for me to see them as I hadn’t seen her photo series before. I was surprised by her changes of soul, of spirit and the emotive power of her work.
Bus Riders; She captures many different social types in these photos (Characters), Untitled
Film Stills, She poses like an actress in the movies. She reminds us of some female roles in the movies of the 1950s and 1960s. There were many themes in her exhibition including Rare Screen Projections, Broken Dolls, Disasters, Sex Pictures, and History of Old Masters.

Re` Soupault
Re`Soupault was born in 1901 in Germany. She studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar. She worked as a journalist and fashion stylist from 1925 to 1934. She began taking photos in 1934, and travelled with her husband in Europe, America and Africa. She kept in touch with Fernad Leger, Man Ray, Kiki, Andre Kertezs, and Albert Gicometti

In this exhibition there were 250 photos taken in Norway (1935), Spain, Germany, Mecca, and Tunisia and her portraits. The photos of women from "Quartier Re´serve´"
were very interesting. These women worked and lived in the same houses.

Brücke  Museum im Grunewald
Brücke was a famous group of artists group working together in Germany. Their watercolour works are exhibited in the Brücke Museum. In these watercolours form and colour were important. The works included landscape, portraits, women figures and still life by Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Emil Nolde, and Max Pechstein. An upcoming exhibition; "Brückehighlights" from 15.09- 13 January, 2008.

Of course, there are many exhibitions yet to see in Berlin. Time flies in big cities. We can’t stop it slipping through our fingers. 

Imren Tüzün

Edit: Valerie Needham









Photos by İmren Tüzün