20 August 2013

Berlin Boogie: The Boros Collection

Usually, I would have a set of photos accompanying a post that belongs to my Berlin Boogie series. However, I am making an exception this time. And yes, there's a perfectly valid reason for it. After all, this is my blog. And because I think I just discovered Berlin's best-kept secret, in the form of the Boros Collection.

The Boros Collection is a private collection of modern art. It is situated in a rather unique location: a former bunker constructed in 1941, in the height of World War II. It is a massive building with 5 floors, and due to the fact that it is a bunker, which pretty much looks like a maze inside, then only 12 people are allowed in guided tours at a time. And yes, this is a popular art gallery, so spots for the guided tour are usually taken a month in advance.

So that was what I did. Back in June, I went to the website and booked a spot in the English tour. The tour lasts about 90 minutes long. One month later, in July, I headed there for my appointment. I found the entrance, and paid 10 EUR for the entrance fee. I was asked to wait at the waiting area around the corner.

When my group finally became complete, the tour guide showed up. She happened to be this very knowledgeable art student. I say knowledgeable because soon enough, it became evident that guiding people into this gallery can be hard work. First of all, the bunker has a very maze-like orientation. In addition to that, the art pieces do not have labels. The collection is not labeled, as a conscious decision of the owners of the place. Hence, it is the job of the guide to make a story about the pieces so that the viewers will understand what the pieces are about.

And honestly, I think this is the first time I really understood what was happening with respect to the artwork that was displayed. I felt like the 90 minutes I spent inside the bunker was well worth it. I viewed works by several modern artists, including big names such as Ai Weiwei and Danh Vo. Usually, whenever I visit an art gallery without a tourguide, I just look for the label, read it, and then take a photo of it. Here, photography is not allowed, and there are no labels. So one is forced to listen and understand the story behind the art, and I definitely think that one can learn more about the art this way. In fact, the whole process made me convinced that these pieces are indeed art, and not just a tree hanging upside down and being twirled by a machine.

So, if ever you are in Berlin, or have plans of going, then by all means check out this art gallery. For me, this is perhaps the only art gallery where I thought the 10 EUR I paid to enter was a deal.

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