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‘Balconies, life, art’: Berlin’s shut-in artists show their work

An art installation, part of the “Balconies, Life, Art, Pandemic, and Proximity” exhibition.

Berlin’s art galleries are closed, but the art scene is rising to the occasion as around 50 artists join a community exhibition from their balconies. “While our freedom of mobility is on hold, (balconies) become unique sites of everyday performance,” organizers said as they launched the project in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg district of east Berlin.

Balconies are “emergency exits to take a breath of fresh air, catch a moment of sunshine or a smoke”, said Ovul Durmusoglu and Joanna Warsza, whose project “Balconies, Life, Art, Pandemic and Proximity” gives artists a 48-hour showcase for their work. The rules of isolation in the face of the coronavirus pandemic are less strict in Berlin than elsewhere in Germany, allowing people a chance to admire the works while out for a stroll.

One installation presents ribbons of toilet paper cascading down a building’s facade, a reference to Germans’ rush to stock up on the must-have commodity as soon as the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Europe. One artist displayed black and white photographs of people on their balconies in Athens and Cordoba, while another hung a ladder made from rope and sticks. “With zero budget, no opening, and no crowds, the project proposes an intimate stroll (within current regulations) to search for signs of life, art and points of kinship and connection”, the organizers said.

“When some of us are cut off from our plans and our loved ones, we reach out to the balconies of the world, against isolation and individualization, not leaving everything in the hands of the virus and the fear it generates,” they added. The 48 hours end on Monday evening, when the artists will retract their works and return to their usual solitary endeavors. – AFP

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