Shattering The Myth Of The Boros Bunker Tour

Entering the mass of concrete on Reinhardtstrasse also known as the Sammlung Boros Bunker, I am teeming with anticipation. As I crank open the heavy metal door I am greeted by long pieces of wood lying in an eerie hallway (actually artwork by Olafur Eliasson). I step over these on the way to the main hall and am welcomed by my tour guide, Clement Rognant, a charming French man who is already assembling the rest of the English speaking tour about to take place.

History behind the Mass of Concrete

Originally a bunker used during WW2 for the nearby train station of Friedrichstrasse, the building itself is an imposing piece of architecture. Its exterior was built in Renaissance style, and the original plan was for the whole of the outside to be covered in marble. This never happened, and the result is the building you see today – robust and concrete, made all the more unusual by the penthouse belonging to its owners perched on the top level.

Although it is easy to get carried away with the impressive architecture of the bunker itself, this was not what I had come to see, and we begin our art tour with a collective anticipation and excitement. The first room did not disappoint.

Behind Door Number 1 

Housing two of Thomas Saraceno’s sculptures, the first room is divided by the cables on which the pieces are suspended. My favourite is “Flying Garden” (pictured below), an eye-catching sculpture made up of elliptical plastic pillows filled with air and bound together, creating an almost molecular structure. Winding our way into the next room we are greeted by a maze-like arrangement of black steel plates making up Alicja Kwade’s sound installation. This work does not excite me as much her other work shown on a higher floor – a train station clock encased in metal, every moment, every second amplified and resonated inside the space.

Thomas Saraceno's Flying Garden Thomas Saraceno’s “Flying Garden,” a favorite art piece of the author . Photo: Chris Phillips

Also housed on the lower level are three impressive pieces by German photographer Thomas Ruff, which according to the artist himself are “perfectly on the border between art and science.” Developed from the negatives taken from scientists’ telescopes, the images depict incredible glimpses of the cosmos around us, sprinkled with stars millions of lightyears away.

Kate Moss + Broccoli

Ruff is not the only photographer exhibited in the bunker, and the work of photography heavyweight Wolfgang Tillmans also lines the walls starting on the bottom level and creeping its way upwards, included on every floor. Amongst his pieces are his distinctive portraits and still lives, such as the image of a sausage cooking in a frying pan and the vivid portrait of Kate Moss holding broccoli. 

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