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.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

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

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