Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Berlin | Tacheles "The theft of a work of art"

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Like most people interested in street art I have always been incredibly interested in visiting Tacheles, and when I booked up to visit Berlin it was one of the first places I began to research. I have seen pictures and videos of Banksy's Flower Bomber stencil, Robbo's piece for Yelling To The Sky and loads of pictures on the web showing some of the amazing exterior and interior works of art.  And it looked like a truly inspiring, incredible place.

But then I found this out;

"Berlin's iconic Tacheles arts centre has been cleared after decades of bureaucratic wrangling over the debt-ridden building. The massive warehouse in the Mitte district was occupied by artists after the fall of the Berlin Wall and became a major tourist attraction.
But the dilapidated complex has been hampering local redevelopment plans. HSH Nordbank, currently in charge of the Tacheles, requested the clearance as part of plans to sell the centre. Situated in what used to be East Berlin, when the city was divided by the wall, the building stretches over 1250sq m (13,455sq ft) and houses a theatre, cinema, restaurant, as well as a maze of galleries and workshop areas.
Before police arrived, two black-clad artists played a funeral march but bailiffs were able to clear the building without resistance, the AFP news agency reported. "This is the theft of a work of art, supported by the police," Tacheles spokesman Martin Reiter told a small gathering of supporters and journalists outside the building. The five-storey building has experienced a tumultuous history since it first opened its doors as an elegant shopping arcade in 1909.
When the department store went bankrupt in 1928, it was sold to the German engineering company AEG. Shortly afterwards, the Nazi Party took over the building and turned it into a central administrative office. Prisoners of war are said to have been held in the attic for interrogation purposes during World War II. Decades later, East German authorities tore down large chunks of the building in the 1980s but were unable to start new construction due to a lack of funds.
One part of the original Tacheles complex remained and was taken over by squatting artists who had resisted eviction efforts - until now. The address quickly became a thriving hub of alternative culture, which drew stars like choreographer Sasha Waltz and musician Peaches who regularly rehearsed and performed there. For sustainable urban planning expert Dr Daniel Dahm, this "artistic colonisation" of East Berlin's empty spaces is a healthy development.
"There are approximately 200,000 empty houses and flats in East Berlin as a result of German reunification," he said. "The Arthouse Tacheles is an example of self-motivated work by citizens who decided to proactively stand up for their ideals." Taken from the BBC News

What a complete disaster! 
But when we were nearby, we paid a visit to see what had been left behind, and the exterior of the building has a few newer editions but really only showed worn traces of its past life. We had a look in to see some abandoned materials including a range of silkscreens. The original entrance to Tacheles was closed, but there was some stuff at the back of the building, which you had to wall through the car park to gain access to and you can see it in the pictures below. It was also a shame that the Banksy and Robbo pieces were only visible from a distance through the wire railings, although it you were desperate to have a better view they would be pretty easy, given appropriate footwear and clothes to climb over.  

I would have loved, much like the Ice Factory from a previous post (Take Three Berlin | The Eisabrik), to have an exploration of the building!

Banksy's Flower Bomber stencil and Robbo's piece for Yelling To The Sky
You can see some interesting pictures of the buildings interior here

And, as ever I urge you to share what YOU think!? Do you agree do you diss-agree with Tacheles as an  "artistic colonisation", and in your opinion was the eviction fair on the community and on the artists? 

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