With over 100 paintings, the East Side Gallery is the longest open air gallery in the world. It was created after the fall of the Berlin Wall on a remnant of the Berlin Wall by artists around the world.
The East Side Gallery is arguably one of the most extraordinary art galleries in the world and is one of our top 10 sights of Berlin. The 1.3km long artwork adorns part of the Berlin Wall along Mühlenstraße between Oberbaumbrücke and Ostbahnhof, the side of the wall that once bordered the GDR.
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PICTURES: East Side Gallery at the Berlin Wall
Creation of the East Side Gallery
118 artists from 21 different countries of the world created in spring 1990, half a year after the fall of the wall, with 106 paintings the longest open air gallery in the world. The unique gallery went down in history as the first art project decided jointly by the former FRG and GDR. On September 28, 1990, the East Side Gallery was ceremoniously opened.
The original plan was that the painted parts of the wall would go around the world as an exhibition and then be auctioned off. However, this plan was scrapped and the East Side Gallery was listed as a historical monument instead. And so the numerous artworks in collected form reflect to this day the wave of joy, hope and spirit of optimism that washed over Berlin at the time.
Redevelopment of the East Side Gallery
The motifs, some of which had become unrecognizable due to weathering, exhaust fumes, scribbling over and vandalism, were faithfully renewed in 2009, some 20 years after they were created. Of 115 artists still alive, 87 accepted the invitation to come to Berlin and paint their picture again.
However, not all artists were enthusiastic about the restoration. Some refused to allow the restoration, seeing it as plagiarism and copyright infringement, but also did not want to restore their artwork themselves due to the low expense allowance. This is the reason why the East Side Gallery has some pale spots between its colorful artworks.
Visit the East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery in the former GDR is a protected monument and can be visited with free admission. The theme of the East Side Gallery is largely the political changes that affected Berlin in 1989 and 1990.
Among the most famous motifs are Birgit Kinder's Trabant, which thanks to an artistic painting technique appears to break through the Wall, and the "Brotherly Kiss" between Soviet politician Leonid Brezhnev and GDR Secretary General Erich Honecker, created by Dmitri Vladimirovich Vrubel. The Russian painter and member of the German Pirate Party became world famous overnight through this work of art.