Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

The new Berlin

Hauptbahnhof in Berlin                                                                         November 13, 2011


View over to the Chancellory

People queing up to enter German Parliament

Glasroof atop of the Parliament

The symbol of a new transparency


View from atop of the German parliament in the direction of East Berlin


Brandenburg Gate



Instead of 'Erinnerungskultur' - memorial culture - there prevails now a new need, namely to heed what people experience while visiting the Holocaust monument. Many are deeply affected, become deeply emotional, even cry or else re-visit the monument at night, that is when no one is there. Some wish to simulate by being lost in a maze of just stones what those Jews felt when they perished in the concentration camps. Noticable is also during day time that a guard makes sure the monument is respected and the stones not perceived to just to jump from one to another. Yet it is very tempting to do so. It reminds of stepping stones which Arthur Koestler used as a metaphor to describe creativity as being not a linear process but one created by taking this risk and to leap over to the next stone.

Given that sober dictum by Adorno who said that "no more poetry after Auschwitz" was possible, there is a need to interpret this new silence by not forgetting the colours of the rainbow. Reflecting what the sun can do, the monument says a lot about new Berlin.

Jad Salman at the Holocaust monument near Brandenburger Gate




Unter den Linden

The new Berlin can be experienced after having gone through Brandenburg Gate and entered the Pariser Platz. There exists to the right the 'Akademie der Künste' (Academy of the Arts). 
Tremendous changes in Berlin can be noticed everywhere. When passing by the Soviet now Russian embassy, it is possible to think how it was back then, when East Berlin the Capital of DDR - East Germany and the Soviet Union ruled with an iron fist.
Now the 'Unter den Linden' seeks to be again that once famous promenade. The mixture of official or public buildings, museums and shops for cars as much as for books is a sharp contrast to the purely shopping atmosphere along Friedrichstrasse.
Unter den Linden can be found the Einstein Cafe. It was designed by the architect Jürgen Eckhardt who took special care about the leather used for the chairs. He obtained that from one manin Paris. I met the architect at a Klaus Heinrich's seminar with the title: 'Fascination of the Line'. Klaus Heinrich understood it to be the wish by architects to see in the buildings they designed again those 'creative lines' they imagined when working on the drawing table. Unfortunately those lines are only then visible, if the building remains half finished or half destroyed like the Memorial Church in West Berlin or in the etchings by Piranesi.
Naturally when walking along 'unter den Linden', it takes one past Humboldt University towards the museum island. There can be found especially 'das Neue Museum'. It is much praised due to a marvellous restitution of a completely destroyed building. It gives recognition to a past which was back then already breath taking but is now all the more since interventions were as little as possible to leave the former state untouched or at least so it seems.
To this can be added the historical and the Pergamon Museum. As at the Holocaust monument, so a Greek person can cry but this time for a different reason. It is an unexpected moment to see the Ancient History not back in the Mediterranean landscape but here in Berlin, way up north. It is said that a photographer has created in the upper level of the Pergamon something like a pan-opticum to see the ancient site.
Naturally there are always the so-called tourist attractions. Mixed in with all kinds of advertisement, there has to be also a bit of vanity. The latter is made most explicit when passing by Madame Tussauds Place. People passing by are invited not merely in, but are advised to make known in advance via Facebook 'whom they would like to meet'. After all Berlin is known through many famous and less famous people who all once strolled down 'unter den Linden' to come face to face with what remains today a wax figure.

In November 2011, there was shown in one of the huge buildings located on this avenue a Polish-German exhibition. It underlines what has flourished under the leadership of Merkel. She has understood the need to serve notice to the Polish side whenever she is about to take decisions to receive advance notice or be consulted beforehand. That special consideration has touched off something in the Polish soul. This German-Polish relationship shall become ever more important in a future Europe and European Union right now beset by numerous challenges, including a huge financial one to the Euro. It is an expression of policy that numerous cooperation projects are financed to make this German-Polish collaboration become the corner stone of a good neighborhood policy.
The 'Deutsche Guggenheim' showed around the same time period the special exhibition 'Almech' by Pawel Althammer. The works of art are linked to the factory of his father. Instead of making plastic bottles, the son turned to art rather than pursue management. By using the same equipment and materials of his father's factory to make not bottles but special sculptures, he has created a garden of Eden for what people wish to take shape if they had a chance to elongate their presence in life rather than pass away and then never to be seen again.

When Jula Dech and Jad Salman saw these sculptures, they felt as if a clinical approach was taken to express art. Any person could apply to have his or her face taken for making a mask which would then be linked to a structure the person can chose among the various models made available. Then, face and basic body would be covered by plastic strips made like in the factory to create a human shape. The variations were from being Indian to some god like figure or just a person sitting there to read a book. It made transcendence into a living experience since the desire to elongate one's life beyond death is always a deep driving force behind the arts, and not only. Still, the very material used reminds of how mankind envisions life in that transcendental sphere with figures having turned white and still.

Jad Salman, artist in Paris together with Jula Dech Nov. 14, 2011

Beside and behind the two, there can be seen the skeletons that people pick to make up the body to their face.

More could be said about this exhibition but time pushes one on, eager to see not so much the formal institutions for the arts as linked to world famous museums like the Guggenheim, but to the countless art galleries existing in various districts of Berlin.

Deutsche Guggenheim
Unter den Linden 13/15
10117 Berlin





At the S-Bahn Station Friedrichstrasse, there can be found a relaxing moment when looking down on a boat just passing by during summer months,


or else


just read and smoke outside the Cafe 'Zimt und Zucker' during the cold November month.

When continuing along Friedrichstrasse, it is possible to reach the most famous cemetery where lies buried Hegel, but also Bertold Brecht.


Grave of Bertold Brecht

Often nostalgic feelings overcome those who look back to the date of 1989. Then the Berlin Wall came down and people had to say good-bye to the DDR - East Germany.


The contrast between East and West continues to exist since the socialisation processes differed. Still today, it is hard for some children who were twelve at the time when the wall came down. It was for them a traumatic experience that the public figures, fore mostly the teachers they had grown up to trust, were all disavowed. Even to be suspected to have collaborated with the Stasi was enough to put them into a quarantaine of doubt. The film 'in the life of the others' was, therefore, a first sign of some kind of reconciliation, but even a figure like Christa Wolf was a controversial one. She had remained a party member until 1989 and had worked at one brief time for the Stasi. Already long before the wall came down, this need to deal with betrayal especially at a personal level - a wife informing about the activities of her husband, a then famous painter - left many wounds and unresolved questions about how to deal with that past. Many who had grown up in the East and believed in one way or another in a 'better' system when compared with Capitalism, they felt that the new system of the West encroached upon them and left those who had lived and worked in the East without any other alternative.

Transportation plays a role in marking differences. For a long time West Berlin taxi drivers did not wish to take routes to East Berlin; vice versa, East Berlin taxi drivers adapted better. Strange for some time was the rule that in East Berlin it was still possible to turn right even if the light was Red!

Boarding a bus at Bahnhof Zoo in West Berlin - Charlottenburg


Bahnhof Zoo used to be the main train station of West Berlin as long as the city was divided. It is located in Charlottenburg and close to the Gedächtniskirche. Nearby is as well the entry into both the Zoo and into the Tiergarten. The latter stretches all the way to Brandenburg Gate. The Tiergarten was until 1989 the home of countless picknicks but now a decree forbids that even the last remaining public spaces in the park can be used for grilling. It is an extension of the public mile drawn invisibily around parliament as the main institution of democracy needs protection against the very people it supposed to represent and to protect their freedom especially to gather. Johannes Agnoli, a critical political scientist who taught at the Otto-Suhr Institute of the Free University, said this reversal from no one being allowed to be arrested once within that one mile zone to now being arrested if violating this zone shows what he means by 'transformation of democracy'.


Berlin - the city of administration  

Berlin was the capital of Germany until 1945. As such it housed a lot of administration. After 1989 the decision was made to move the capital in Bonn back to Berlin as indication of German reunification requiring something to bridge the East and West divide. 

Administrative building of German Government

Graffiti in a niche: sometimes saying nothing says a lot more!


Hamburger Bahnhof - former train station now a museum




Berlin Wall - images preserved by Heinz J. Kuzdas

While the film maker Alexandra Zanne interviews artists who had painted murals along the Western side of the Berlin wall, Heinz J. Kuzdas had captured the ever and fast changing images as new painters came to transform this side of the Berlin wall into a living expression of freedom. That differs greatly from how now the West Side Gallery can be perceived, namely as a kind of tourist attraction to remind and to give evidence to what it was like to live in Berlin when the city was divided by the wall. But art is not the same as those who lost their lives while fleeing or what became a Cold War experience with confrontations between the East and West often a stand-off between two superpowers armed to the teeth with nuclear warheads. At the same time, 'the spy who came in from the cold' or the James Bond movie 'From Russia with Love' showed in the way film can touch upon reality and propaganda at one and the same time what it meant to live the unresolved riddle whether Capitalism or Socialism were the better systems. Alone the wall many stories unfolded prior to people becoming woodpeakers and finally when it wall came down Rostroprovic playing on his much beloved Cello once again Bach as he had done so in Athens 1966.
The work by Heinz J. Kuzdas is to capture these fleeting images like shadows dashing along the wall with the setting of the sun. Now he displays these photos in new forms of a small or large exhibition while linking up to numerous efforts not to immortalize the wall as such but to testify to this artistic movement which meant free expression in what became public art on display and in constant change. The exhibition space belongs to the cooking school Palladin in the Pallasstreet.

Heinz J. Kuzdas is not only kind and most helpful when it comes to connect people and to take them to places they may not have known, but he is also adapt in photography so as to link personal stories with what catches the attention of his eyes. His materials of the art works which developed over time along the Berlin wall, and all of this before the wall came down in 1989, is a unique documentation of the art scene before 1989. And it breathes still today that aspiration to become free and to live in freedom.

Heinz J. Kuzdas
Lepsiusstr. 69
12163 Berlin
T. .49(0)30 791 3910
TMob..0170 800 9601





Unusual Architecture in every district

In Kreuzberg auf der Bergmannstrasse sind diese Häuserfronten zu sehen.


Das bunte Haus in Kreuzberg auf der Zossener Strasse vertreibt jenes grau auf grau der alten Berliner Hauswände


Art in the underground - Metro Station for Pfefferwerk


Boudewijn Payens in U-Bahn heading to Ernst Reuter Platz



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