East Side Gallery Berlin

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The East Side Gallery is a 1.3 km section of the Berlin Wall, running along the north bank of the River Spree east of Alexandeplatz, between Oberbaumbrücke (Oberbaum Bridge) and the Ostbahnhof, that has been covered with murals created by street artists from all over the world. It’s become a major tourist attraction.

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East Side Gallery Berlin, a set on Flickr.

Despite it’s popularity, it’s coming under threat from property developers. A section was knocked down a few years ago to allow access from a landing stage built on the River Spree for access to the O2 arena. This year another section was demolished to make way for a block of luxury flats. There have been protests and no doubt there are fears that this is the thin edge of the wedge as I guess developers are keen to get their hands on the prime riverside property behind the wall despite widespread opposition. Perhaps the tyranny of Stalinism is being superseded by the excesses of Capitalism.

It’s an impressive monument, but sadly it’s been badly defaced by graffiti. I don’t know why people feel compelled to scrawl their names and meaningless (in most cases) slogans on something that’s a work of art.

The East Side Gallery paintings are on the northern side of the wall – the East Berlin side. From July this year the other side, facing the River Spree, has been used for a photographing exhibition, Wall on Wall, by Kai Wiedenhöfer, who has photographed eight border and separation walls from around the world – Northern Ireland, Iraq, Cyprus, the West Bank, Morocco, North and South Korea and the border zone between the United States and Mexico.

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Each picture measures 3 m x 9 m. The height is determined through the distance between the base of the wall and the lower part of the tube on top of the wall. All photographs are executed with large format cameras which makes the big enlargements possible. The pictures will cover 1080 sqm and are printed with an inkjet printer on blueback paper and than mounted on the wall with normal wallpaper glue.

It runs until 13 September

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