MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
Looking back to when the Europa Center was Berlin’s only shopping center, Solveig Steinhardt visited the new exhibition at the Ephraim Palais.
The new exhibition at the Ephraim-Palais tells the story of the segregated West Berlin.
Ever heard of ecospheres? You know, those closed and supposedly selfsufficient aquatic ecosystems enclosed in a glass sphere, sold in toy stores and usually containing a couple of plants and a few shrimps? Well, back in the day, West Berlin felt a bit like one of those. Highly subsidized by West Germany, the Wallenclosed metropolis lived isolated from the rest of the world, a lonely cosmopolitan giant with a unique symbolic aura.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Wall, the Ephraim- Palais museum (p. 43) has brought this aura back with the exhibition WEST:BERLIN, An Island in Search of Mainland. Starting from
“West Berlin was associated with creativity,
self-discovery, and freedom of thought.”
9 November 1989, the day the Wall fell, the exhibition travels back in time to 1948, focusing on Berlin’s inhabitants and on the city’s mentality rather than on its history.
A mixture of creative minds, outcasts, traditionalists, immigrants, and soldiers who were all free to travel wherever they wanted while being trapped inside 112 kms of wall, West Berliners were considered a “rare species,” and their attitudes and lifestyles reflected the horrific events previously witnessed by the city. Although gray and segregated, West Berlin was associated with creativity, self- discovery, and freedom of thought. Based on these concepts, the show tells stories about the Allied forces and their interactions with the local population, explores subcultures in the various districts, and examines the oddity of city transit to the “other side” and daily life in a divided city.
Until 28 June at EphraimPalais, Poststr. 16. www.stadtmuseum.de