The solid hardness of the imposing squared bunker penetrates the bones while walking into Reinhardstrasse. Far from Berlin’s traditional architectural oddity, the building immobilizes the eye with its intimidating, raw and monolithic charm, infusing a sort of awe in the spirits of those who dare to cross the entrance.
Industrial prosthesis eroded by time and war fill up the dark hallway that leads to the first room, from which starts a network of sharp geometric spaces that organizes the 3000 square meters of indoor surface. From the bare walls dawns the weight of a past that holds the invalicable power of historical events. Epitome of the changing German architecture, the fortress was conceived by Nazi architect Albert Speer in 1942 as a shelter to aerial bombing and majestic symbol of the Greater Germany. After the fuhrer’s defeat, the bunker assumed dark shades, becoming a Soviet jail, then turned into a fruit warehouse during DDR; and after the fall of the Wall it became the temple of hardcore techno in the Berlin scene. Ended up in the hands of collector and entrepreneur Christian Boros, the place once built in reaction to Berlin degenerate art became the cradle of contemporary art’s extravagance, and the host of one of the richest and most precious private collection in Europe.
Under the surgical coldness of neon lights, the thin three-dimensional web woven by Tomás Saraceno challenge the strict and menacing setting, reverberating as if covered in small drops of wet dew. Following the noise of the light, we go through Alicja Kwade‘s labyrinth of sound. A series of speakers connected to light sources hanging from the ceiling, amplify and project the otherwise inaudible buzz made by the room’s neon-strip lighting onto curved plates of lacquered and polished steel. A door heavily shuts behind us. The Teenage Room by Klara Linden has no escape. We are in prison, stuck in the years of humiliation, suffering and unbearable dependence, which marked the life of every human being. Everything, from the objects dyed in black, to the bunk bed similar to a tool of torture, cruelly replicates the angst of adolescence. We feel we would rise against it, tearing apart the rarefied atmosphere, but we are unarmed. As it was, we left outside the sharp ax, hanging on the door as a counterweight.
The daily life, subverted and proposed in brutal and unusual relationships constitutes the work of Michael Sailstorfer. Zeit ist keine Autobahn is comprised of an electric engine that moves a tyre at an high speed. The pressure exerted on the wheel causes a gradual abrasion, to the point it finally requires the replacement of the wheel itself. The progressive consumption, testified by traces of rubber left on the floor, bitterly alludes to the condition of modern men where the extreme acceleration produces a fake feeling of progress, while what really remains it’s a continuous self-destruction. Time’s lack of sense and caducity are investigated again through 1:43, a machine programmed to spit out a stream of popcorns every minute and forty-three, forming a mountain of exploded corn seeds that insanely grows and grows all over the floor. The fierce and useless circular movement of contemporary society is embodied in the suffering treetop hanging from a metallic arm that dramatically scrapes its branches upon the ground.
Also Tree by Ai Weiwei denounces the rape of nature by materialistic consumerism. The knotty wooden studded fragments rise up, almost touching the ceiling of the stifling room, to launch a desperate cry to a blind mind. Organic and craft coincide in a short circuit deep of questioning meaning.
The ephemeral narcissistic optical illusion of The sky will sink by Dirk Bell concludes one of the many possible reading path of the exhibition. In an obscure room, a mirrored rectangular surface instead of showing the image of the curious viewer who approaches its sides, reveals a surreal, incredibly beautiful sky, where the human figure is reduced to a feeble glow into a tiny moon surrounded by soft mythical stellar memories.
Slaves of the sadistic logic of the building, we reluctantly left its attractive oppressiveness. The longed wish of getting lost again in its maze of corridors, stairwells, concrete walls, accompanies us on in our return to reality. Along with this desire we feel in our hallucinated minds the sense of a new weight: the physical weight of an acquired piece of history.