It’s hard to miss the towering sculpture on the river Spree near Treptower Park. Visible from far away Jonathan Borofsky’s “Molecule man” stands tall in the water. I always thought that the three imposing giants were fighting maybe even boxing in a ring? Their many holes even struck me as bullet holes. In actual fact the three men come together as one man, creating one existence and the piece is about unity. Despite being made of strong metal the three humans are full of holes which represent the molecules which we are all made of. This is something we all have in common, we are all human, and deep down all made of the same stuff, to put it simply!
Borofsky has created other molecule men around the world, but the Berlin molecule man has a particularly poinigant meaning due to its location. Placed on the spree, a symbol of the division between east and west berlin, the man is made of three men all facing different directions but joined together, thus relinquishing the divisions of the people and the cold war. Even so, they still look aggressive to me!
At 100ft the molecule man is pretty impressive close up but one of the best places to see berlin’s molecule man is from afar on the Oberbaumbrücke where you will also find Thorsten Goldberg’s hands. Not his actual hands of course, but two hands which play the game rock, paper, scissors throughout the night right into the early hours of the morning, lending the piece its name “Stein-Papier-Schere”. The piece looks boring and is easy to miss in the day time but at night it comes alive, lit up by colourful and changing lights which flash between the hand signals of the game.
Looks boring right? Wait til nightfall! Photo: Thorsten Goldberg “Stein-Papier-Schere”
The bridge used to be a border crossing when the city was divided and some have said that the hands on this bridge show the rivalry between the two sides, East and West, reiterating the stupid game the powers were playing during the Cold War which affected the lives of so many. Others say it’s about the lack of thought with which the powers chose who could cross the border and who could not. Either way you look at it, this piece lights the night. This area is full of street-art and right near the East Side Gallery, but this kind of art is generally restricted to daylight hours whilst “Stein-Papier-Schere” owns the night meaning you don’t have to stop your art-appreciation after sunset!