It’s no secret that I love Berlin. In fact I’ve previously waxed lyrical about the quirky hotels and bizarre sights on offer. But more than that, I love the gritty streets of Berlin, the street art-filled urban dystopias which make Berlin at times seem another planet. In this photo-essay I expose some of the best Berlin street art.
If you can identify any of the artists I am unable to, or if I have mis-identified an artist, please let me know in the comments.
Artwork by Otto Schade from Chile, Hackescher Markt
John Reaktor, Hackescher Markt
One of my favourite images, oh how I do love this. Scientist with Microscope, by Plotbot Ken, in Hackescher Markt.. bonus points if anyone can identify the scientist in the comments.
Pink girl, by El Bocho, Hackescher Markt
Pink Eagle, in Hackescher Markt. Does anybody know the artist?
Find this little alleyway, off Rosenthaler Strasse in Hackescher Markt, and you’ll find a lot of great street art within. At the end of the alley is a set of grimy stairs leading up to a sweet art bookstore
How Long is Now- statement or question? On the Tacheles building, Oranienburgerstrasse in Mitte. The building has previously served as a department store and headquarters of the SS.
A photo I took of a bike against a wall somewhere in East Berlin
On top of a grey apartment block in Kreuzberg, a large painted sign proclaims “Bitte Lebn” or “Please Live”…
On the corner of Warschauer Strasse and Revaler Strasse in Friedrichshain is an old bombed out railway yard with nightclubs and street art. This photo was taken from above in Warschauer Strasse- I think the mural may be by Ben Eine?
Man overcome by insects, by Alaniz from Argentina. Friedrichshain, Berlin
A portrait of Fadi Saad, a neighborhood organiser and youth worker, by Vhils. Friedrichshain, Berlin
Artwork on the Cassiopeia Nightclub, Friedrichshain, Berlin
The Artist’s Tears. James Cochrane is from Adelaide, Australia, and has to be one of the best street artists out there- his dot-style paintings in Berlin and London are stunning. This is in Friedrichshain.
Near the site of Hitler’s bunker in central Berlin is this piece of the Berlin Wall, adorned with a painting of a famous photograph by Peter Liebing. Depicted is the East German soldier Conrad Schumann, who defected to the West by jumping over the barbed wire which preceded the construction of the wall. The image is an icon of 20th century Berlin history.
The image on the left is the Global Warming Hourglass by BLU, and depicts a melting iceberg dripping water onto a city at the bottom. I am unsure of the provenance of the red mural on the right of this building. Kreuzberg.
These two incredible and iconic images by BLU in Kreuzberg are captured from across the river Spree. On the left “Handcuffs” represents the bonds of capitalist thinking- a man adjusts his tie, his wrists bound by a chain connecting his golden Rolex watches. The image on the right “East and West” shows two figures each trying to remove the mask of the other with one hand, the other hand making a symbol “E” or “W”.
Pink Man by Blu in Kreuzberg. Another huge mural, depicting the identity loss associated with the fascist and communist social movements.
Nature Morte (Hanging Dead Animals), by ROA, in Kreuzberg
Rounded Heads, by Nomad, in Kreuzberg
This famous (and huge!) stencil by Victor Ash of Paris adorns the side of a building in Kreuzberg. It’s called Astronaut Cosmonaut and apparently if you are there towards the end of the day the shadow of a flagpole from across the road is perfectly positioned in the astronaut’s hand.
Yellow Man by the twins Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, in Kreuzberg, Berlin
Sometimes the smallest artworks can be the most interesting. I found this stencil of Marinus Van Der Lubbe near a squat in Kreuzberg. Van Der Lubbe was a communist activist who was convicted by the Nazis of setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933 and executed. There is some question as to whether he really did set fire to the building- in 2007 his conviction was quashed by a German court and he was pardoned.
Yam is a beach bar on the edge of the Spree near the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain. Like many cool, gritty features of Berlin it is under threat from increasing gentrification and development of the area. This sign proclaims “Yam must survive in Berlin city”. To the left with the pipe on top is a section of the Berlin Wall.
Wall art inside Yam Beach Bar.
The East Side Gallery, Friedrichshain
The East Side Gallery contains conventional murals on the street facing side, while the side facing the river is covered with tags and graffiti. I’m standing in the death strip in this photo, behind me is Friedrichshain in the former GDR, while in front of me on the other side of the river is Kreuzberg in the former West Berlin.
“Politics is the continuation of war by other means”, turning the famous statement of Clausewitz “War is the continuation of politics by other means” on its head. East Side Gallery, Artists: Carsten Jost and Ulrike Steglich
Artwork by Jens Hübner and Andreas Kämper on the East Side Gallery
A quote by Erich Fried “He who wants the world to remain as it is, doesn’t want it to remain at all”, artwork by Elisa Budzinsky on the East Side Gallery.
Dawn of Peace by Salvadore De Fazio of the USA.
I love this image of a gateway through the Wall. On the other side you can see the River Spree and the former West Berlin.
This work “Danke Andrej Sacharov”, by Dmitri Vrubel of Russia, depicts the Russian physicist and father of the Soviet nuclear arms program who was also an anti-Soviet dissident and human rights activist.
Probably the most famous image on the East Side Gallery and also by Dimitri Vrubel. The painting is of a famous photograph showing the Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev kissing the GDR leader Erich Honecker on the 30th anniversary of the GDR. The original image is almost as passionate. The caption reads “My God. Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love”
“The Diagonal Solution to Problems” by Michail Serebrjakow
Andrej Smolak’s work on the East Side Gallery
And finally, this mural on the side of the East Side Hotel, opposite the Berlin Wall, has to be one of the best in all Berlin.
If you can identify any of the artists I am unable to, or if I have mis-identified an artist, or if you have any other suggestions for art worthy of inclusion then please let me know in the comments! In the meantime, if you enjoyed this collection, why not Subscribe to Confiscated Toothpaste. It’s FREE.