Monday, August 13, 2007

Germany Struggles to Save the Berlin Wall

CNN "Germany struggles to preserve the Berlin Wall".


It's a conundrum. In fact it's downright ironic. Right after the wall "fell" it was a common past time to enjoy busting it up, rather therapeutic I would assume. Soon someone started thinking and decided that it would make sense to keep part of it around as a tourist attraction if nothing else. It was this thought process that preserved the "East Side Gallery" for posterity. Artists from all over the world were invited to Berlin to paint this partial section of the wall, to give it character, to take back the symbol of so much oppression so to speak. It is probably one of the most-visited locations in Berlin, and some of the artwork is famous the world over.


The Fraternal Kiss is one of the more famous paintings on the East Side Gallery depicting the former leader of the Soviet Union, L. Brezhnev, in a lip lock with the former head of East Germany, E. Honecker.


But now as you can see in the pictures above, there is a LOT of difference between the quality of what was on display right after the fall of the wall, and what is visible now. Between the weather and pollution erosion, the structure of the remaining sections is crumbling. In a most irritating way tourists and locals alike enjoy walking by the open air monument and chipping off a bit of it to take home. If they aren't breaking it into pieces, they are putting stuff on it. It's not unusual to see pieces of gum stuck to it and of course the graffiti just ruins the original artworks. To add insult to injury the weather, car pollution and sun are wreaking havoc with the paint that is still intact and not painted over.

They want to renovate the wall, which just seems silly, doesn't it? But to renovate it, they will have to destroy the paintings. The question is... how long will it be before they have to renovate again? Couldn't there be a way to preserve the "new" version? What if they were to enclose it, protect it, keep it a bit more safe from vandals? Would that even be an option? If not, WHY not? Otherwise we will be talking about this whole problem again in 15 or 20 years. Any ideas?

Edit addendum
I get the idea that people visiting this page are looking for WHY this Fraternal Kiss thing happened. Another blogger has detailed the story here. Enjoy.

1 comment:

CuriousArtist said...

hmm what I really want to know is did the kiss really happen? I'd really love to know is you could email me at
But other than that I fully agree they should try to protect the wall because of its historical significance.