The Gemalderie

I went to the Gemalderie in Berlin’s Kultur Forum. The art was a bit too religious or bit too civic. It made me want to got back to the National Maritime Museum for some seascapes, or the the art gallery at Newmarket. I missed the classic, i.e. Botticelli pictures of Venus which it seems are there but found one by Titian, called Venus & the Organ Player, fortunately painted and titled 425 years or so before Peter Cook’s satirical speech on the Jeremy Thorpe trial summing up. It reminded me a bit of the Jo Brand & Helena Bonam Carter sketch on the objectification and changing fashions of female beauty.

The Gemalderie has a sign saying photography permitted, the staff were wonderfully polite, even when correcting me, and the Cafe had a fabulous salad, but I think I need to go to Musee Insel next time., now over to the Embassy to show solidarity with comrades on the “finalsay” demo. …

Good Eating

I fulfilled an ambition, I ate in the Fernsehtürm Restaurant, creamy coriander & carrot soup, Berlin meatball and potato salad finished with apple tart and cream accompanied by a rather pleasant German pinot noir. The weather and view wasn’t so good, but it’s very high in a low city Here are my pictures as a slide show


and here they are at flickr, for those without flash. …

Modern Art

On my first day in Berlin, I went looking for its future, and decided to visit the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. This has a three part exhibition on, in a beautiful building with an equally beautiful courtyard where the Cafe serves its wares. I spent most time in the rooms displaying David Wojnarowicz’s work. I don’t know if it was the arrangement or just the content, but I found this underwhelming. I am loathe to write too much about my views on art as I don’t wish to expose my philistinism and lack of education but this was not inspiring. Perhaps if I had spent less time getting to the warehouse room, I might have spent more time but most of the work on display was photography although there were a couiple of film pieces. They may even have been titled, but if so I missed them. There was one on the Cold War with a number of clips from US news stories, including stuff on Kennedy’s trip to Berlin. There was a talking head about the value and authenticity of rage which I am beginning to dispute. Political action must come from a sense of solidarity and you can’t find that when you’re angry for yourself. …  …

Berlinische Gallerie

While in Berlin, I visited the Berlinische Gallerie, the modern art gallery, they had a couple of exhibitions and some standing exhibits,the former included Julian Charière’s “As we used to float”, and Freedom by the November Group. I bought some post cards to remind me of the visit.

I looked at the November Gruppe photography exhibits. Some of the propaganda pictures, particularly a magazine front page illustrating two women on the front of the Berlin illustrated times, it could have come from the Soviet Union, showing in my mind the unity of the working class, I dout this was the message hoped for by their authors but there we are.

I have observed before, and I am sure it’s not original that photography changed painting as painting can never meet the realism of photography but the photo exhibits showed the German/Berliner experimentation with photographic techniques as artistic expression, so it moves in a full circle.

In the post war room,they tried to tell the story of a conflict of styles, Abstract vs. Socialist realism; I quite enjoyed the big picture used to illustrate the West’s adoption of abstract, but I couldn’t find a post card; it reminded me of some of Jackson Pollock’s work but with a lot less black. I was underwhelmed by what they chose to illustrate the East’s Socialist Realist art. The picture above, which I don;’t think was exhibited was painted in 1976, and would seem to be an interpretation of Berlin at the time, or at least more like what I expected. (The artist, Karl Horst Hödicke, would seem to have lived and studied in West Berlin.) …  …

Back from Berlin

I returned from Berlin last night; it was a long journey home, with most delay caused by UK transport system which had served me well on they way out. I’ll say more later.

I visited the Berlinische Gallerie, the modern art gallery, they had a couple of exhibitions and some standing exhibits, including Julian Charière’s “As we used to float”, and Freedom by the November Group. I also went for a walk in the Tiergarten and ended up at a Vegan demo; they had closed the Brandenburger Tor, and half the Strasse des 17 Juni to accommodate the farmers tractors. I also ate well, or badly depending upon your view point.

I took some photos, they are here and on flickr.

  …

Just one more cadre

I recently wrote to Loz Kaye, the leader of the UK Pirate Party, to congratulate him and his party on their brother’s and sister’s victory in Berlin. I pointed out that in Europe they were at a cross roads. As they grow in maturity and power as a political party, something yet to occur in the UK, it will become harder to talk to and work with supporters in other political parties. There is a mature balancing act to be taken in advancing their ideas, most of which I agree with, and winning political power. In my mind, they have to find a route between supporting the growth of broad campaigning groups such as the ORG or building their own organisation. There is a tendency in both the Liberal Democrats and the British Trotskyist movement to consider each new party member a victory for the cause. Both parties often win these cadres at the cost of those they create, dispirited by defeat who give up on politics. Each person who gives up on politics and hope is a loss to democracy, and we are not winning. …

Back in Berlin

I returned to Berlin for a business meeting, travelled via LCY and had a good night out with the French team. For various reasons, Zoo station has always been a place of mystery to me, since reading the eponymous book.  …