My most recent trip to Berlin is already over a month in the past. A week is far too little time to capture it all, but this collection of favorites should give a pretty good indication of the level of graffiti saturation present in Berlin. Big, highly visible blockbuster rollers have been supplemented by an array of equally as impressive extinguisher pieces. A new addition to the visual landscape are colorful, vertical tags reminiscent of pixação, sprayed by rappeling down the sides of buildings. I finally had the opportunity to ride the Ringbahn once around the periphery of Berlin, an experience I recommend to anyone interested in the intersection of graffiti, architecture, and rail infrastructure. I’m itchin’ to go back.
The city of Vitry-sur-Seine lies within the southeastern suburbs of Paris. Historically, this commune has been home to a large, diverse immigrant population, a background that contributed to Vitry being on the forefront in the development of the French hip hop movement in the 80s. For some time now, the city has supported a cultural policy of bringing art to all, for example, opening it’s Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne in 2005. The city has actively embraced public arts programs, installing contemporary sculptures throughout public spaces as well as supporting large-scale mural projects. Thanks to initiatives by artists such as C215, Vitry’s walls bear the work of an international roster of street artists such as Nunca, Nychos, Roa and Ethos to name but a few. I spent an afternoon in Vitry earlier this summer and only caught a fraction of the many murals on display.
Missing artist attributions welcome in the comments.
My job unexpectedly took me back to Berlin for a second visit this year and I arrived just in time to experience a flurry of activities in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall being built. I had in fact just gotten off an overnight flight from New York and blearily made my way into the U-Bahn when the transit system ground to a halt at exactly noon on Saturday, August 13th and the entire city paused in remembrance.
A little over a week later at a location alongside the eastern bank of the river Spree, I came across a far more tangible memorial. The Freedom Park exhibition features numerous original segments of the Wall, painted by Nunca, Miss Van, Superblast, McBess, Funny Fun, Low Bros, Dave the Chimp, Kouka, Kiddy Citny, Thierry Noir, Chor Boogie, Erika Eiffel, Pius Portmann, Ezra 1, Mij.k.d0 and Jakob Wagner.
If you can help clear up any of the artist attributions, please leave a comment. I’ll be posting more favorites from Berlin in the coming days.