We have had a great week exploring new neighbourhoods and checking out art galleries.
Early in the week we explored parts of the Mitte and Prenzlauerberg neighbourhoods that we hadn’t seen before, checking out the small galleries, shops, and cafés that are so abundant in this city. A Vancouver expat showed me around the bars of Kreuzberg on Tuesday, specifically the very cool old Berlin bar the Bei Schlawinchen and the nautical-themed Ankerklause.
Thursday we made the U-Bahn trip to a pair of incredible art galleries near the Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Castle). The Museum Berggruen houses hundreds of Picasso canvases and sculpture covering every period of his work. The depth of the collection is remarkable; there are also works by Klee, Matisse, Braque and Giacometti.
We walked across Schloßstrasse to the old royal stable building, now housing a museum of Surrealist art, the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg. The collection begins with a room of incredible prints by Piranesi and spans two hundred years of surrealist art, including works by Hans Bellmer, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Odilon Redon, and Goya.
After the museums, we strolled around the grounds of the Schloß Charlottenburg, a grand 17th-century castle influenced by the palace at Versailles. The sun was low in the sky and made for dramatic light.
Friday I went for a bike ride around the Friedrichshain neighbourhood and happened on an interesting old trainyard that has been converted into art studios, a skate-park, a climbing wall, cafés, etc., called Casseiopia. Everything is plastered in graffiti and the buildings are in various states of decay. A cool “recycling” of civic space that seems like it could only exist here.
One of Berlin’s largest art festivals is on this weekend, the Art Forum Berlin, and we hope to check out a bunch of galleries tomorrow after making our weekly exodus to the flea markets. Also, tomorrow is the German general election; Angela Merkel is a shoe-in for Chancellor, but it remains to be seen whether she will continue to be hampered by an uneasy alliance with the SPD party.
Over and out.