Our Guide to Street Art in BerlinNov 16, 2017 10:00 am
See some of the most famed spots for street art in Berlin
It’s hard to go a day in Berlin without stumbling across some magnificent and usually colourful work of street art, dominating the sides of office blocks or bringing a splash of colour to a shopfront. With such a diverse urban art culture, Berlin has a plethora of homegrown and international artists crafting gorgeous works and it’d be a shame to miss out on the street art in Berlin – here’s some of the best places to see it.
East Side Gallery
With the Berlin Wall is a reminder of one of the more difficult moments in German capital’s history, it also heralded the birth of a revolutionary German spirit that was furious, artistic and gifted with a spraycan or two. Since its fall, a nearly mile long fragment survives and has been transformed into a public open air gallery celebrating peace through street art and artists travel from all over the world to pay homage at the graffiti shrine.
As one of Berlin’s newest street art institituions on the block, Urban Nation is a museum dedicated to the best that urban art has to offer. With work by the likes of Shepard Fairey, Blek le Rat and Banksy, its inhouse collection actually takes many of street artists works onto the canvas to archive their popular works – though of course it overflows into actual graffiti on nearby building faces and the museum’s walls.
While the culture of tagging walls illegally is still very much a part of street art culture, there are a number of projects dedicated to celebrating the work – without the worry that somebody will come over and paint over it without permission. Part contemporary art gallery, part biergarten, part artist incubator and all parts cool as hell, Urban Spree brings together all creative sorts. Its 15 metre long Artist Wall is one of its coolest installations, with a rotating programme of street artists which has previously included the likes of IUP Krew, Broken Fingaz Crew and more taking over.
This gigantic black and white astronaut is splashed across the side of a Mariannenstrasse building and is one of the most popular sights in Berlin, if not the entire neighbourhood. Painted by the French artist Victor Ash, you’ll see people peering out of the U-Bahn to get a peek at this beauty which is one small step for man, one huge step for graffiti.
‘My God, help me survive this deadly love’
Located at the East Side Gallery, you’ll definitely recognise this iconic piece of art by Dmitri Vrubel which has been copied again and again. Depicting Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East Germany’s Erich Honeker, it’s a satirical politcal statement that still holds water today and as such people flock to the mural daily – so get there early if you want a photo without tourists milling about in it.
Elephant Playing With a Balloon
This beautiful piece by Jadore Tong brings an explosion of colour to an otherwise nondescript block of flats. Spanning four floors, the joyous work depicts a painted elephant playing with an earth balloon and is actually one of the newer masterpieces on Berlin’s urban art circuit. (Psst, if you’re keen on meeting the artist himself – we’ve heard he runs his own café out in Mitte.)