Aah, the U-Bahn: savior of the drunk, the lost, the daily commuter––an essential part of Berlin's infrastructure we would not be able to live without. Although we expect many things of this underground network, one thing does not immediately pop into my mind when someone mentions it: art. Sure, the brightly colored station interiors are aesthetically enjoyable, and typography aficionados like myself enjoy the various lettering at each station, but apart from this (and the posters for various exhibitions around the city) I did not think that art particularly lived underground. I was wrong.
Last year a competition was launched in association with NGBK and others to showcase art around Berlin's underground. From hundreds of applicants 18 successful artists were chosen to take part in "FRONT Fahn: Art in the Underground." The chosen artists have each realized their art proposal for the underground in a number of locations. Here we bring you the final nine art pieces and a list of our favorites from the project, giving you an incentive not to nod off the next time you find yourself stuck on a long U-Bahn trip.
Schönleinstraße U8 – Irena Eden / Stijn Lernout
Go one stop past the ever-busy Kottbusser Tor to admire the photography of Vienna-based artist duo Irena Eden and Stijin Lernout.
Exploring art underground- Hana with the work of Eden and Stijin Lernout. Photo: Chris Phillips
Their performative travel and mapping project "We Want The World (And We Want It)" is based on interviews with refugees from different backgrounds, the snapshots of migrant life portrayed beautifully in their photographs. Berlin is no stranger to a migrating population, and it seems appropriate that the home for this piece is in Kreuzberg.