28 Feb 2010

no room for me on the sofas

I am writing this while sat at home, 2 days after leaving Berlin for "normality" - I couldn't get an internet connction for the remainder of the trip as more arrivals at the hostel and their late night shenannigans left the only available time for me to blog being at stupid o'clock in the morning - which after walking around Berlin all day I couldn't be bothered to commit to... yes, I am not a competant blogger, and I don't care.

I throughly enjoyed my stay in Berlin, the hostel was interesting to say the least - the staff were helpful (except when one tried to make out I was a liar, if you decide to stay there please remember to ask for your deposit back) - but on the whole it was manageable and fun, if that isn't too strange a word to use for somewhere you sleep. The breakfast was... continental, that's all I can say really - I got home and the next morning craved a bacon and egg sandwich more than I have ever before, I like salami and cheese but every morning is rather tiresome.

I could write an entire essay on my time in Berlin, but I have chosen to instead support a place I visited on the final day in the city... the Art House, or rather - Tacheles. This place is possibly the most fascinating building I have ever been in - there is also an outside space which I am not sure belongs to the art house but I will include it in this little "review" as it were, since I was utterly fascinated with the works there.

The building is quite literally a "squat" - an artists squat where people can exhibit pieces, create, sell or invite people to order comissions all under the same roof (or garden). The outside area holds caravans and outbuildings which house artists who work with 3D form; anything from woodwork to cast iron - lessons are given in metalwork (which I am quite disappointed I didn't notice until the final day in Berlin) and pieces are available to be bought... believe me, if I had space and the weight allowance in my luggage I would have purchased something to support the artist themself and the entire scheme.

From what I gathered, inside there are several exhibition spaces on several levels - I only ventured up two floors as that was what time permitted, but what I saw was well worth the visit. The main "hall" housed a large number of works, ranging from ceramic dolls, audio and video, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolour and inks, 3D and other styles all together in one large gathering that hits you as soon as you step out from the darkness. This internal space is in a dire state of repair, and I don't know whether it is because I 100% respect the artists' decision to exhibit in such a place - or whether it just works, but I feel as though how I am seeing thse pieces is how they were meant to be presented.

They gel together even though they are completely different in each way, this is a group exhibition and since my German is quite shocking I can't give any more information than that - but if I ever manage to take part in something like what I saw I would be overjoyed as my reaction was probably the same for anyone else who stepped in there - and this is much the same with the external area. I just love how everything falls in to place, rusted iron... painted boards, vehicles, old bath tubs, reclaimed materials, recyclying of old and disused appliances, you can see it all.

For the entire time I was either inside or outside on the site I felt as though I had found what I was missing, something collective - something raw and what I thought students did. I am in my first year of a degree and by the end of the three years I want to experience something like this first hand, maybe if Tacheles gets the funding it so desperately needs I might return one day to find my own pieces on the grubby wall, or in the cold outside. This is the fun of art, if there was no artwork in this building it would have been torn down by now - the art keeps the area alive, plus there's some damn fine food just around the corner.

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