“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.” Who said that? The anonymous king of international street art of course, Mr. Banksy himself. Street art, that much should be common sense by now, has the potential to be a lot more than puerile graffitis underneath concrete bridges. Urban art provokes and makes you think again, it can be aesthetically pleasing or intendedly ugly, angry, sad, or comforting – in short: it turns public spaces into artworks, and every wall is a potential canvas. Once upon a time, the elitist art world and the street art scene were two opposing ends on a wide spectrum, but these days the lines have become more than just a little blurred. Street art museums are being constructed in many cities, graffiti artists get their own exhibitions – England even had a real-life Banksy amusement park for a while. A very interesting pop up gallery in Berlin Charlottenburg seeks to find a compromise of these extremes with an exciting, temporary project: Berlin Art Bang: The HAUS is the art sensation that currently everybody is talking about in the capital. What it is? Keep reading and find out:
All good things…
There is an old bank building in Berlin Charlottenburg, right between Ku’damm boulevard and Zoo, that will be torn down later this year to make space for an apartment building. When the Dixons, a Berlin-based street art crew heard that, they had an idea: In collaboration with the owner they invited more than 150 artists from all around the world to turn the abandoned construction into a unique urban art museum for two months. From January on the artists could work here 24/7, without interruption and without having to fear legal consequences. Some spend a lot of time there, creating elaborate artworks. Others, like Australian painter Crisp came for one night and disappeared before the sun came up – probably by force of habit. What emerged is an incredible labyrinth of graffitis, sculptures, installations, and tape art works, spread over 108 rooms on five floors. Deserted bathrooms, walls, ceilings, floors, long hallways and small cubbies, radiators, and doors – nothing was left the way it was. The different art rooms could not be any more different, both in style and technique. That is why you should make sure to bring enough time for your visit here, so you can explore and enjoy every little corner of this exciting universe of urban art.
…must come to an end
You should, however, not wait too long: End of May The HAUS will close its doors forever, before the wrecking balls take over. “Street art on the street is short-lived. One image is being crossed, another has vanished entirely. This place is no different”, says Timo von Rekowski of Dixons crew. A core aspect of street art is thus preserved within the pop-up project: art for the moment, not for eternity. For that reason the organizers have also decided on a complete prohibition of images. Your camera must stay outside the exhibition, your smarthpone will be bagged at the entrance. “Enjoy the art, the atmosphere and the moment. Look through your eyes and not through the screen of your phone”, is the motto. Art as an experience, not as Instagram content. Since this experience should be open to anyone regardless of the economic background, there is no admission fee. You are welcome to support the project with a small donation at the end of your visit, or you can purchase the official catalogue with photographs of all artworks. That way the temporary pieces will at least partly be preserved. Some of the artists involved even offer guided tours through the exhibition (10 € per person) – a unique opportunity to get in touch directly with some of the best street artists around. Tours are held in German, English, Spanish, French, and Turkish; you must sign up in advance though.
Berlin Art Bang: The HAUS will be open to the public through May 31, every day except Mondays from 10 am through 8 pm. Only a limited number of people can visit the exhibition at a time, thus you might have to wait in line for a little while. The temporary urban art museum is located on Nürnberger Str. 68/69 in Berlin Charlottenburg. From Industriepalast Hostel take subway U1 to Kurfürstendamm, it won’t take you more than 20 minutes.
Have a great time exploring the street art temple
P.S.: DW has produced a short documentary about The HAUS worth watching. Check it out:
Picture: (Quelle: © THEHAUS 2017)
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.