We return to the familiar streets of Friedrichshain in another cool apartment just around the corner from the last one, settling once again into comfortable Berlin times. Just a street away from us was a local park which we had walked past a number of times in our previous week. This time we came back armed with a camera because this park had the most ghetto fountain we had ever seen. Next to a simple playground filled with families, it deserves to be immortalised for all time.
Our first day back was a gorgeous sunny Sunday so with a short trip via tram we landed in Mauerpark to spend the day at a huge flea market which is a Berlin institution. And we all know how much Emmily loves markets. There were countless bands busking in the nearby gardens and the sprawling market was filled with all manner of trash and treasure, old furniture, clothing, oddities and beer. We wandered for a long time before making our way into the gardens to relax and see some of the music. We saw a huge natural amphitheater filled to the brim with excited people and decided to check it out. It was Karaoke! After each song a person would volunteer from the audience, pick a song and belt it out to the massive crowd. People were cheering, singing along and having a great time.
From karaoke to Kreuzberg we walked for a while checking out a lot of amazing street art and were glad we had decided to spend more time in Berlin. We decided to stop for refreshments at a bar which was like a cubbyhouse inside. Lots of cozy corners and lovely staff.
That night we had tickets to see one of our favourite musicians, the experimental prepared pianist Hauschka, performing as a part of an amazing trio with Samuli Kosminen the drummer from Mum and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, a former member of the Kronos Quartet. It was in a huge old brick building on the river called RadialSystem V. We arrived early and spent some time sipping our Campari in expectation and watching the water. The show was indescribably beautiful, blending elements of techno, classical music and experimental composition work. It was moving, exciting and meant that we immediately booked tickets to see Hauschka perform his own work in Budapest.
After a day of intense relaxation mixed with research for our imminant Eastern Europe leg and the discovery of an amazing middle eastern restaurant near our apartment we ventured once again into Kreuzberg to meet up with an old friend from Melbourne, Sarah Grace. Sarah had been living in Berlin for a couple of years working on documentary film and generally being awesome. We ate some delicious traditional German pub food, revisited the treehouse bar and spent some time stooping on the steps of a local church. On the way home Emmily decided to express her drunken creativity with a series of photos entitled – Everything is Blurry.
Thanks to our failed gallery attempt in Berlin previously we now knew that our final night in Berlin was to coincide with the ABC Contemporary Galleries opening night for a large number of galleries around Berlin. So we headed out hoping to fit in as much as possible in the narrow three hour window. The first gallery we visited was fantastic with an exhibition about what happens to our online presence and cloud data after death. The artists had worked in conjunction with lawyers and legislators to include the ability for visitors to sign up to have certain data legally deleted after death. It was really well presented and aesthetically interesting.
After this was an exhibition by Monika Grzymalawho makes amazing architectural interventions using tape. She had injured herself before the install and so had to makeshift a new drawing work by faxing in piece by piece with instructions for assembly.
The print and pigment works by Maximilian Arnold had amazing layered complexity and were installed in an interesting way with large lines and ‘gutters’ of pigment. Dominik Steiner had interesting and grotesque paintings. Tahn’s favourite was the worm.
Our next favourite was Sofia Hulten’s exhibition, Truckin’. Sofia repurposed everyday functional objects to create great and useless amalgamations. Regular everyday items given a new and purposeless life.
In the garden of the gallery was a hulking bear, bound and dripping from the rain. Draped in upholstery fabric and tied down in Japanese bondage knots, this representation of the oppression of femininity, fauna and wilderness was forlorn and it really caught our attention.
The final gallery of our whirlwind tour was the amazing König Galerie. Downstairs were collages by Matthias Weischer which showed interesting domestic and rural perspectives with conflicting textures.
Upstairs was a huge space with cavernous ceilings housing a large rough box structure filling the space leaving only a small corridor around the outside. Inside the box was a bright blue room almost like a fancy art doll house. This was a show entitled ‘The Pale Fox’ by Camille Henrot. A hugely detailed and meticulous show that traced a timeline of a persons life in stages around the room though ultra designed “furniture” and objects placed on and around the walls. Henrot uses the objects that surround us to form a narrative with personal remnants of different life stages and what seemed like clues of books, diaries, drawings and photos.
On our way home we said goodbye to Berlin with some amazing food and a walk through what had become familiar night time streets.