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Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

East Side Gallery, Berlin [20081108|14:34]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Ink & paint is making me faint


The East Side Gallery in Berlin is a 1300 metre-long section of the Wall that was painted in 1990 by dozens of artist drunk on the ability to move freely about their city - and probably a considerable quantity of beer as well. It snakes along next to the river behind the Ostbahnhof train station. It has been so badly eroded by wind and rain and so often tagged by graffiti on the level of "Suzy Wuz Here" that the original art is scarcely visible in most places.

The bloke and I took a leisurely stroll past it. By the end, we had concluded that they'd gotten the philosophy of outdoor art completely wrong. Transience is intrinsic to graffiti. Attempting to preserve the original artwork on the wall was never going to work. Instead, we thought, a yearly competition should be held to repaint sections of the wall. Then it would be refreshed every year, an evolving symbol of the way Berliners (and all Germans) are adapting to unification.





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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-11-08 21:04 (UTC)
I think it's rare, but sometimes a particular artist (or group) will earn a certain amount of respect from other taggers. And even less frequently they get it from the wider community. Like Banksy, or the Bogside Artists in (London)Derry. Although in the case of the former, a couple of his Shoreditch rats were defaced, and in the case of the latter, it's probably because anyone who tried would face retribution. Not from the artists, but I'd be willing to bet there are still some fanatical republicans who feel quite strongly protective of the murals.

I'm not sure why the ESG doesn't seem to have been treated the same way. Certain pieces have stayed relatively intact, but that mostly had to do with the complexity of the brush strokes. Two of the pieces I photographed above are nearly untouched, and I think it's purely because they have no large blank spaces.
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