East Side Gallery – the world’s longest mural

You’ll need a good amount of time to visit the stretch of road between Ostbahnhof and Oberbaumbrücke. Take a stroll along 1,316 metres of art and contemporary history at the huge open air gallery on Mühlenstraße.

In 1990, shortly after the fall of the wall, artists from East and West came together to paint the remaining part of the border installation on the River Spree – the ‘Hinterlandmauer’, or inner wall. 118 artists
from 21 countries were involved in the monumental project in the Friedrichshain district. Today, just like before, the East Side Gallery stands for the union and the understanding of peoples, beyond national, ethnic and cultural borders. The paintings – for example those of Thierry Noir, Kiddy Citny or Jim Avignon – quickly became cult motifs on Berlin postcards and portray the atmosphere of change; before, during and after the reunification.

Over a decade after the creation of this open air project, the artwork showed major signs of weathering damage. The association “Kunstlerinitiative East Side Gallery e.V.”, formed by many of the

artists and some sponsor members, successfully campaigned for the whole gallery to be repaired and preserved as a historical-artistic memorial.

Since 6th November 2009, the East Side Gallery has been able to shine in its former glory once again. Sandblasting, amongst other treatments, was a necessary stage in the restoration. Apart from a few
exceptions, all the original artists agreed to bring their works back to life on the wall sections, which first had to be given long lasting protection against corrosion, reinforced by special concrete and primed.
The white sections tell of the few artists who did not want this procedure to take place on their original works.

Those who wish to be accompanied by an expert guide when discovering the area can book tours with different themes at the Künstlerinitiative East Side Gallery. 70-71 Mühlenstraße,, www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de

 

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