Table and Chest with Striped Chairs

Here is the last piece from the Evidence exhibit I have to show you. I hope you've enjoyed this short tour through the show this week. I am still contemplating what I can show for tomorrow's these day, Zest. Guess I need to work on that! Here is some additional information about this work:

"Table and Chest with Striped Chairs: 2007, Wooden table and chest, chairs from the Ming dynasty
Old furniture that has been used over time gains a patina which gives these items a beautiful sheen as well as showing the furniture's age. Following the removal of a 1mm layer from the original surface, the Ming dynasty table and chairs as if they were brand new. By eliminating traces of use and their history, Ai Weiwei asks viewers to consider questions of authenticity and the value and meaning of antiques and original artworks."

He Xie

The river crabs were another piece that I really liked. Here is more information on the work from the sign:

"He Xie: 2011, Porcelain
In recent years, Chinese government propaganda has used the term hexie or "harmonious" to describe an ideal contemporary Chinese society. The undertones of the word, however, imply absolute conformity, and serve as an excuse for violence in "stability maintenance". Internet activists quickly latched on to the term as a threat to plurality and freedom of speech. The river crab is a homophonic pun on the word he xie, a fitting image for a society where criticism must be indirect and language takes on highly encoded meanings to evade censorship.

In 2010, in order to protest the Shanghai government in unreasonably demolishing his newly-built studio, Ai Weiwei held a river crab feast for online followers who went to the site to voice their support. He was illegally placed under house arrest for the first time."


Although I suppose a coffin is a pretty dark symbol, I really like the way the light is coming into this room, making everything so bright. Information from the sign:

"Coffin: 2005, Tieli wood
Made of wood salvaged from dismantled temples of the Qing dynasty, Coffin resembles a set of furniture consisting of a table in the form of a bent casket, with two long benches on both sides. By designing furniture for the living in the form of funerary objects, Ai pokes fun at the meanings of life and death and our associations with daily rituals."


Many of the exhibit rooms were lined with "IOU" wallpaper. These official papers were drawn up for Weiwei's many supporters who sent in donations following the artist's arrest for tax evasion - a case which was never fully proven. For more signs, take a look at Signs, Signs.

Souvenir from Shaghai

Here is another piece that I especially liked from the Ai Weiwei exhibit in Martin Gropius Bau. Apparently Weiwei was invited to build an art studio in Shanghai. In a cruel twist of fate, the government then destroyed the studio without giving the artist any reason as to why.

A closer look at the stamping details on some of the bricks that were saved. For more "rubbish" take a look at Rubbish Tuesday. Here is some additional information on the work from the sign:

"Souvenir from Shanghai: 2012, Concrete and brick rubble from Ai Weiwei's destroyed Shanghai studio,  rosewood bedframe from Qing dynasty
In mid-January, demolition of the building started without warning. The work Souvenir from Shanghai is made from material from the site."


I recently went to see the Ai Weiwei exhibition Evidence at the Martin Gropious Bau here in Berlin. Although I found the show on the whole a little disappointing, I still enjoyed it and I'm glad I saw it, especially since I missed the exhibit at the AGO in Toronto that took place just before I left. What was most surprising though is that visitors were allowed to take photos. This week I'll be taking you on a short tour of some of my favorite pieces from the exhibit.

Stools was definitely one of my favorite pieces. It's the first thing you see when you walk into the beautiful, old atrium of the building and it's very impressive. Here is the information from the sign:

"Stools: 2013, Wooden Stools
Stools features over 6,000 wooden stools from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the Republican period, gathered from villages all over China. They are a basic staple in many Chinese households. Each stool reveals traces of regular use, with a simple design and a solid structure which speak to a design structure that remains unchanged for hundreds of years.
The work forms a surface by connecting individual stools, covering the tile floor of the atrium of the Martin Gropius Bau. It harkens back to Soft Ground, 2009, an exact replication in carpet of the travertine floor at Munich's Haus der Kunst."

Bear in the window

I can never resist a shot with the Berlin bear! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. For more reflections, visit  Weekend Reflections.

Looking up at spring

Springtime in Berlin was unusually mild and beautiful in Berlin this year. I have been looking through my archives and realized I never showed some of my best blossom shots. Here is a cherry tree taken somewhere in the Prenzlauerberg district.

I feel like my photos somehow don't do the tree full justice, but trust me, it was beautiful. It's Friday again, for more skies visit Skywatch.

Red door and bench

Taken in a courtyard somewhere in Prenzlauerberg back in March...

Street sign and lamp

It's good to be on the lookout for details. For example, I love the Berlin Bear symbol atop this street sign. Although I have to admit, I originally took this photo to show the old East-style streetlamps. Hope you enjoy both! For more signs, take a look at Signs, Signs.

Super decayed

It's a little sad to see some of the beautiful old buildings of Berlin in such a state. But they make for such great photos, especially in black and white. For more "old stuff" take a look at Rubbish Tuesday.

Crazy eye owl

I found this really cool owl somewhere on Schönhauser Allee in Prenzlauerberg. It's only unfortunate so much of the original mural has been tagged. It's Monday again and you can see more murals at Monday Mural.

Benches at the altar

If you are coming down the stairs of the Pergamon Altar, you would be faced with these benches. Unfortunately, the freize lining the wall was not intact when it was found, but there are still lots of really nice pieces. 

Here are a few details from the freize. 

As you can imagine, you could really spend a lot of time here studying all of these pieces. It's such an impressive museum. I hope you've enjoyed this short tour through the main exhibits. I still have a few detail shots, but I will probably post them some time in the future.

Floating head

This scale model of the city of Pergamon gives visitors to the museum a better understanding of how all the pieces were laid out. Sometimes you get more than you bargain for with photos through glass, like that floating head behind the young man in the Oregon sweatshirt. More reflections can be found at Weekend Reflections.

Happy Friday! Hope you've got some nice plans for the weekend. I'm sure mine will include more planning and shopping for the apartment renovation. Exciting stuff!

Missing something?

I'm afraid this cherub seems to be missing something... 

Dreamy statue

Somehow I find this scene amusing, like that statue is directing the people on the bench to stop their dreaming, get up and move out. Hope you find some humor in this shot too!

At the market

One of the other big draws of the Pergamon is the Market Gate of Miletus. This was taken when the museum was still open, so those people milling around give a sense of the size of the gate - it's HUGE! Unfortunately, I couldn't even get the whole thing in my shot - the next time I'm there I will definitely bring my wide angle lens. 

All of the pieces I've shown you so far are the real deal - not reconstructions. Back in the early 1900's archeology and anthropology became very popular and the scientists (or hobbyists) found things at dig sites, they typically packed them up and brought them back to Europe for everyone to enjoy. I'm pretty sure none of this would fly in modern times, but the Pergamon is really special and if you're in Berlin it's a must-see. This is my take on "decay" for Rubbish Tuesday.


Here is another look back at antiquity from the Pergamon Museum. This particular work can be found on the Ishtar Gate - there are rows of different animals, such as dragons and goats but the lions were my favorite. I know this isn't exactly a mural, but I think it's close enough. For more "wall art" head to Monday Mural.

Almost empty

I was looking through some photos and I realized that I never showcased a trip I made to the Pergamon Museum back in March. I took a guided tour which was so interesting, we got a bit behind, but the guards were nice enough to let us finish up about ten minutes after the official closing. Otherwise it would be very rare indeed to see the Pergamon Altar so empty - usually it's a real traffic jam of tourists! I find the Pergamon one of Berlin's most interesting museums and I'll be showing more of it over the next few days, so please stop by.

Famous first

This is another post that was supposed to publish during my absence. Although it may be hard to believe, this is one of Mies van der Rohe's first commissions. It's worlds away from his later work on the TD building in Toronto  or even the New National Art Gallery right here in Berlin, but you can see the symmetry and the big windows that became so important in his later works are already apparent here. I've also got a bonus look at his gravesite over on Halcyon Travels today.

Doorway decay

Graffiti and general decay in a doorway near Rosenthaler Platz. Sadly, I think there are actually people living in these apartments. Although what is even sadder is once they are renovated, the current residents probably won't be able to afford to live there anymore. And then where will they go?


I found this giant LIEBE installation at the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg. It somehow reminds me of the LOVE sign in Philadelphia and I think it looks fantastic in black and white. For more signs, take a look at Signs, Signs.

Easter benches

Some of the posts I had scheduled to run during my time off didn't publish. So here is another look at the Arcades shopping center on Potsdamer Platz. The Easter decorations were fabulous, including loads of real flowers from the Sans Souci gardens. 

I've got suitcases to unpack and clothes to wash, but I am happy to say I'm back from vacation fully relaxed and rested. Now it's time to put my full energies into the apartment renovation and job search. And of course, I'll be back to regular blogging too!
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