East Side Gallery

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East Side Gallery
Segment with Graffiti of the Berlin Wall (3 of 4) (cropped).jpg
East Side Gallery is located in Berlin
East Side Gallery
Location within Berlin
LocationMühlenstrasse (Mill Street)
Berlin, Germany
TypeArt gallery

The East Side Gallery (German: East-Side-Gallery) memorial in Berlin-Friedrichshain is a permanent open-air gallery on the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall in Mühlenstraße between the Berlin Ostbahnhof and the Oberbaumbrücke along the Spree. It consists of a series of murals painted directly on a 1,316 m (4,318 ft) long remnant of the Berlin Wall,[1] located near the centre of Berlin, on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.

In the spring of 1990, after the opening of the Berlin Wall, this section was painted by 118 artists from 21 countries. The artists commented on the political changes of 1989/90 in a good hundred paintings on the side of the Wall that was formerly facing East Berlin. Due to urban development measures, it is no longer completely preserved, and instead of the originals from then, only the replicas from 2009 exist today.

The actual border at this point was the Kreuzberg bank of the Spree. The gallery is located on the so-called hinterland wall, which closed off the border area to East Berlin. Mühlenstrasse, one of the main arterial roads to the south, ran along these border installations. Due to the spatial conditions, the previously usual concrete pipes were already installed here, so that the interior wall in this area was atypically optically, but somewhat elevated, resembling the outer wall.

The gallery has official status as a Denkmal, or heritage-protected landmark. According to the Künstlerinitiative East Side Gallery e.V., an association of the artists involved in the project, "The East Side Gallery is understood as a monument to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful negotiation of borders and conventions between societies and people", and has more than three million visitors per year.[2]


The Gallery consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. The actual border at this point had been the river Spree. The gallery is located on the so-called "hinterland mauer", which closed the border to West Berlin.

It is possibly the largest and longest-lasting open air gallery in the world. Paintings from Jürgen Grosse alias INDIANO, Dimitri Vrubel, Siegfrid Santoni, Bodo Sperling, Kasra Alavi, Kani Alavi, Jim Avignon, Thierry Noir, Ingeborg Blumenthal, Ignasi Blanch i Gisbert, Kim Prisu, Hervé Morlay VR and others have followed.

The paintings at the East Side Gallery document a time of change and express the euphoria and great hopes for a better, more free future for all people of the world.

East Side Gallery, Berlin

The East Side Gallery was founded following the successful merger of the two German artists' associations VBK and BBK. The founding members were the speche of the Federal Association of Artists BBK Bodo Sperling, Barbara Greul Aschanta, Jörg Kubitzki and David Monti.[3][1]

In July 2006, to facilitate access to the River Spree from the Mercedes-Benz Arena, a 40 m (130 ft) section was moved somewhat west, parallel to the original position.[4]

A 23-meter section was scheduled to be removed on 1 March 2013 to make way for luxury apartments. None of the artists whose work will be destroyed were informed of these plans.[5] The demolition work actually started on 1 March 2013. According to German news FOCUS, authorities were not aware of the start of the demolition. Due to the involvement of protesters, demolition was postponed until at least 18 March 2013.[6]


Two-thirds of the paintings are badly damaged by erosion, graffiti, and vandalism. One-third have been restored by a non-profit organization which started work in 2000. The objective of this organization is the eventual restoration and preservation of all the paintings. Full restoration, particularly of the central sections, was projected for 2008. Remediation began in May 2009.

The restoration process has been marked by major conflict. Eight of the artists of 1990 refused to paint their own images again after they were completely destroyed by the renovation. In order to defend the copyright, they founded "Founder Initiative East Side" with other artists whose images were copied without permission.[7] Bodo Sperling launched a test case in the Berlin State Court in May 2011, represented by the Munich art lawyer Hannes Hartung and with the support of the German VG Bild-Kunst. The Court will address the question of whether art should be listed as destroyed and then re-copied without the respective artists' permission. The outcome of the trial will be a landmark declaration for European art law.[8][9][needs update]

Future of the East Side Gallery[edit]

As of 1 November 2018, the State of Berlin will be responsible for the "Park an der Spree" and "East Side Park" plots with the elements of the former Berlin Wall known as the "East Side Gallery" from the property of the State of Berlin in the Transfer of ownership to the Berlin Wall Foundation. Parliament approved a proposal from the Senator for Culture and Europe that had passed the main committee. The Berlin Wall Foundation received the mandate for the structural maintenance of the East Side Gallery monument, the maintenance of the associated public green space and the mediation of the historical site of remembrance.

In the future, visitors to the East Side Gallery should receive more information and historical classification. For this purpose, the foundation has launched an extensive management program. The aim of all new mediation offers is to illustrate the unique dual character of the historical place: On the one hand, as an artistic testimony and symbol of joy over the peaceful overcoming of the German division; as a testimony to the GDR border regime on the other hand. Both narratives need to be related in a common narrative.


Last winter days 1990, painting #17 Siegfrid Santoni, painting #18 Bodo Sperling
Condition of the Mural on July 25th 1991
Condition of the mural in 2005
Dimitri Vrubel during restoration in June 2009
Condition of the mural in 2009 after restoration
Featured here is a depiction (painting #25) of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing as painted by Dmitri Vrubel. On the left is the condition of the painting in 1991 and at the right is the condition after restoration in 2009. The Russian words at the top read "God! help me stay alive"; and continue at the bottom "Among this deadly love."
Detour to the Japanese Sector in August 1990 while a watchtower still stands in the background
Please respect this historic work of art (A note of 2005)
Some heads by Thierry Noir
A popular slogan graffitied on one of the sections of the East Side Gallery, reading: "No more wars. No more walls. A united world."
A slogan stating: "Many small people, who in many small places, do many small things, can alter the face of the world."
  1. Oskar: (Hans Bierbrauer)
  2. Narenda K. Jain: Die sieben Stufen der Erleuchtung
  3. Fulvio Pinna: Hymne an das Glück
  4. Kikue Miyatake: Paradise Out Of The Darkness
  5. Günther Schaefer: Vaterland
  6. Georg Lutz Rauschebart
  7. César Olhagaray: untitled
  8. Jens-Helge Dahmen: Pneumohumanoiden
  9. Gábor Simon: Space Magic
  10. Siegrid Müller-Holtz: Gemischte Gefühle
  11. Ursula Wünsch: Frieden für Alles
  12. Oliver Feind, Ulrike Zott: untitled
  13. Ana Leonor Rodriges
  14. Muriel Raoux, Kani Alavi: untitled
  15. Muriel Raoux: Les Yeux Ouverts
  16. Ditmar Reiter: untitled
  17. Santoni: Trilogie-Maschine Macht
  18. Bodo Sperling: The Trans-formation of the penta gram to a peace star in a big Europe without walls
  19. Barbara Greul Aschanta: Deutschland im November
  20. Willi Berger: Soli Deo Gloria
  21. André Sécrit, Karsten Thomas: Du hast gelernt, was Freiheit ist
  22. Theodor Chezlav Tezhik: The Big Kremlin's Wind
  23. Catrin Resch: Europas Frühling
  24. Irina Dubrowskaja: Die Wand muss weichen wenn der Meteorit der Liebe kommt
  25. Dmitri Wrubel: Mein Gott hilf mir, diese tödliche Liebe zu überleben
  26. Marc Engel: Marionetten eines abgesetzten Stücks
  27. Alexey Taranin: untitled
  28. Michail Serebrjakow: Diagonale Lösung des Problems
  29. Rosemarie Schinzler: untitled
  30. Rosemarie Schinzler: Wachsen lassen
  31. Christine Fuchs: How's God? She's Black
  32. Gerhard Lahr: Berlyn
  33. Karin Porath: Freiheit fängt innen an
  34. Lutz Pottien-Seiring: untitled
  35. Wjatschleslaw Schjachow: Die Masken
  36. Dmitri Vrubel: Danke, Andrej Sacharow
  37. Jeanett Kipka: untitled
  38. Gamil Gimajew: untitled
  39. Jürgen Große: Die Geburt der Kachinas
  40. Christopher Frank: Stay Free
  41. Andreas Paulun: Amour, Paix
  42. Kim Prisu (Joaquim A. Goncalves Borregana): 1990 O povo unido nuca sera vencido 2009 Métamorphose des existences
  43. Greta Csatlòs (Künstlergruppe Ciccolina): Sonic Malade
  44. Henry Schmidt: Vergesst mir die Liebe nicht
  45. Thomas Klingenstein: Umleitung in den japanischen Sektor
  46. Karsten Wenzel: Die Beständigkeit der Ignoranz
  47. Pierre-Paul Maillé: untitled
  48. Andy Weiß: Geist Reise
  49. Gabriel Heimler: Der Mauerspringer
  50. Salvadore de Fazio: Dawn of Peace
  51. Gerald Kriedner: Götterdämmerung
  52. Christos Koutsouras: Einfahrt Tag und Nacht freihalten
  53. Yvonne Onischke (geb. Matzat; Künstlername seit 2005 Yoni): Berlin bei Nacht
  54. Peter Peinzger: untitled
  55. Elisa Budzinski: Wer will, daß die Welt so bleibt, wie sie ist, der will nicht, daß sie bleibt
  56. Sabine Kunz: untitled
  57. Jay One (Jacky Ramier): untitled
  58. Klaus Niethardt: Justitia
  59. Mirta Domacinovic: Zeichen in der Reihe
  60. Patrizio Porrachia: untitled
  61. Ines Bayer, Raik Hönemann: Es gilt viele Mauern abzubauen
  62. Thierry Noir: untitled
  63. Teresa Casanueva:[10] untitled
  64. Stephan Cacciatore: La Buerlinca
  65. Karina Bjerregaard, Lotte Haubart: Himlen over Berlin
  66. Christine Kühn: Touch the Wall
  67. Rodolfo Ricàlo: Vorsicht
  68. Birgit Kinder: Test the Rest
  69. Margaret Hunter, Peter Russell: untitled
  70. Peter Russell: Himmel und Sucher
  71. Margaret Hunter: Joint Venture
  72. Sándor Rácmolnár: Waiting for a New Prometheus
  73. Gábor Imre: untitled
  74. Pal Gerber: Sag, welche wunderbaren Träumen halten meinen Sinn umfangen
  75. Gábor Gerhes: untitled
  76. Sándor Györffy: untitled
  77. Gruppe Stellvertretende Durstende
  78. Laszlo Erkel (Kentaur): You can see Infinity
  79. Kani Alavi: Es geschah im November
  80. Jim Avignon: Miriam Butterfly, Tomas Fey: Doin it cool for the East Side
  81. Peter Lorenz: untitled
  82. Dieter Wien: Der Morgen
  83. Jacob Köhler: Lotus
  84. Carmen Leidner: Niemandsland
  85. Jens Hübner, Andreas Kämper: untitled
  86. Hans-Peter Dürhager, Ralf Jesse: Der müde Tod
  87. Jolly Kunjappu: Dancing to Freedom
  88. Susanne Kunjappu-Jellinek: Curriculum Vitae
  89. Mary Mackey: Tolerance
  90. Carsten Jost, Ulrike Steglich: Politik ist die Fortsetzung des Krieges mit anderen Mitteln
  91. Brigida Böttcher: Flora geht
  92. Ignasi Blanch i Gisbert: Parlo d'Amor
  93. Kiddy Cidny: Ger-Mania
  94. Petra Suntinger, Roland Gützlaff: untitled
  95. Andrej Smolak: untitled
  96. Youngram Kim-Holdfeld: untitled
  97. Karin Velmanns: untitled
  98. Rainer Jehle: Denk-Mal, Mahn-Mal
  99. Kamel Alavi: untitled
  100. Kasra Alavi: Flucht
  101. Ingeborg Blumenthal: Der Geist ist wie Spuren der Vögel am Himmel
  102. Youngram Kim


  • 2010: 1st special prize “Lived Unity” “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas” under the patronage of Federal President Horst Köhler, sponsored by the Federal Government.[11][12]

In popular media[edit]

East Side Gallery photos[edit]


  1. ^ a b Danicke, Sandra (2009-04-07). "Kunst Unter Wasserdampf". art: Das Kunstmagazin (in German). Hamburg: Gruner + Jahr. ISSN 0173-2781. Archived from the original on 2010-03-25.
  2. ^ "East Side Gallery Berlin". Künstlerinitiative East Side Gallery e.V. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  3. ^ East Side Gallery: Description MuseumStuff.com
  4. ^ East Side Gallery Berlin Guide in English
  5. ^ The Wall falls in German
  6. ^ "East Side Gallery: Developer halts removal of Berlin Wall | DW | 04.03.2013". DW.COM.
  7. ^ Monument or Disneyland? FOCUS Online
  8. ^ East Side Gallery artists battle over rights and compensation Deutsche Welle, May 16, 2011
  9. ^ Berlin Wall artists sue city in copyright controversy The Guardian, May 3, 2011
  10. ^ Teresa Casanueva was involved in the United Buddy Bears project as early as 2002.
  11. ^ "East Side Gallery: Die längste Open-Air-Galerie der Welt – Nachrichten Sonderveröffentlichung – Land der Ideen – DIE WELT". 2012-10-21. Archived from the original on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  12. ^ "Schmitz gratuliert zur Auszeichnung für East Side Gallery". www.berlin.de (in German). 2013-12-05. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  13. ^ "Berlin, Germany". CBS. Archived from the original on December 16, 2004. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  14. ^ Caruso, Nick (November 18, 2020). "Amazing Race Recap: Them's the Brakes — Which Teams Stalled Out in the Week's Double Dose of Episodes?". TVLine. Retrieved November 19, 2020.


  • Mauerkatalog „East Side Gallery“. Oberbaum-Verlag, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-928254-02-2

External links[edit]