The East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany is the world’s biggest outdoor gallery. As it is 1.4 kilometers in length, it’s the longest standing section of the Berlin Wall. The majority of murals were painted by artists from around the world during the 90s. While visiting Berlin, I consider the East Side Gallery to be a must-see because of its interesting historical backstory. Also, it’s free to the public.
Since then, the paintings have undergone restoration due to vandalism. In 2009, many of the wall’s artists were contacted for a restoration project, while some were willing to repaint their works, others weren’t.
One such painting that required restoration is the well-known mural, “The Kiss,” or it’s actual title ‘’My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love.” “The Kiss” was painted by the Russian Artist Dmitri Vrubel. His inspiration came from a photograph of a kiss shared between Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Soviet Union, and Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Eastern Germany. The photo was taken at a 30th anniversary event for the establishment of Eastern Germany or German Democratic Republic (GDR).
While there are many thought-provoking and interesting murals, my favorite was the “Rising Japanese Sun” by Thomas Klingenstein. Klingenstein is an East German artist that dreamt of living abroad in Japan when he was a child. He was intrigued by it’s culture, but had limited exposure due to East Germany’s perspective of Japan as an imperial power.
When I visited the gallery, it was a rainy September day and there wasn’t a mass of visitors. It took me a little over an hour to walk the entire gallery because I kept stopping to admire the art and take some photos.