22 January 2015

Berlin Boogie: Neue Nationalgalerie

Back in November, we opted to visit the Neue Nationalgalerie, which is a modern art museum in Berlin. It happens that the museum is scheduled for renovation and will be closed from 2015, for the next three years. So we thought that we better get a peak of the inside before it closes its doors. Who knows, we might not be in Berlin when it reopens.

The museum is housed in a very bizarre building: the most notable structure is the roof, which is supported by eight steel pillars that are positioned away from the corners, giving the impression that the roof is floating on the glass walls of the building. This building was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and is considered one of his masterpieces, but honestly, I have seen better buildings. It's a building made in the Modernist style, and the structure definitely has a lot of space, but it is ironic that this art gallery has no place to hang art. There are no walls, only a cube of glass. Hence, all the artwork are underground, and the ground level is reserved for special exhibitions. Not the best concept in my book.

Okay, let's turn to the artwork. This is what I like about this place. The art they have here are all from 1968 onwards. So nothing that doesn't look modern. There were drawings from Rene Magritte and Frida Kahlo, among other artists. There are just too many to enumerate, so I'll just show you the pictures.

There were interesting things we saw in here. There was the paint machine, which was this contraption who sucked some paint from a container, and sprayed it at the wall creating interesting designs. There was also this corner, where apparently an artist suspended herself and painted the lines that looked like some child did it. She also videotaped herself, so we could see what actually happened. There were also other things, some were interesting, some were shocking.

There was also the temporary exhibit of Israeli artist Moshe Gershuni. Somehow, we didn't get this one. The exhibit displayed sketches, drawings, paintings, and other things. But we didn't really find his paintings aesthetically pleasing. They looked like child sketches in my opinion, and frankly, I have seen better things.

The best part of the exhibit in my opinion was the one displayed on the ground floor. David Chipperfield is the architect that has been hired to renovate this place. He was also the one responsible for the renovation of the Neues Museum in the Museum Island. So before he closed the museum for renovation, he had an exhibit featuring dozens of trees, seemingly supporting the roof. The exhibit was entitled "Sticks and Stones: An Intervention", and provided a very different perspective on the open space that otherwise was omnipresent in this museum.

Overall, it was a good visit. I was glad to have seen it before it closed, as after all, I have been here in this city for a couple of years now and I still haven't visited this place. Hopefully, they open on schedule, which is three years from now.

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