Exhibition Kiss. From Rodin to Bob Dylan is another stellar offering from the Bröhan Museum. It explores the meaning of kiss through many different art forms and covers the period from the late 19th century onward.
Through the exhibition you can see the political and social meanings of the act, as it also covers subjects of identity and feminism. Some of the artists on display include Bob Dylan, Edvard Munch, Cornelia Schleime, and Marina Abramović.
It is open until October 3rd and every first Wednesday of the month the entrance is FREE so definitely have a look if you find yourself around the Charlottenburg area, or plan ahead even.
The last museum space from my Bulgarian trip is the city gallery. It is one of the most important cultural places of the capital. The gallery only opened in its current location in 1977.
The exhibition Viva Italia! was nearly over when I visited, but it was one of the most colourful and diverse exhibitions I have seen in a while.
Both museums are located in Sofia Palace dating back to the 19th century. It is a Turkish administrative building that was remodeled into a palace. It has been a heritage site since 1978.
Even though the exhibitions that I saw are not active anymore, the building itself is a very interesting space to explore.
I was one of the few visitors that day, but perhaps everyone was preparing for the exhibition opening that night – The Highlights of Croatian Art – 20th and 21st century. They simply must have known that I would be in town that day to see my people’s art.
As soon as you walk into the building you notice the beautiful glass windows in the staircase.
On the ground floor was an excellent exhibition of B&W photography by the family Karastoyanovs. It was a great introduction to Bulgarian history and folklore, with a big focus on the destruction of war. There was also a short documentary about the family and its most prominent members.
Upper floor was designated for paintings and a few modern installations in the most lavish space of the entire building.
Across the hall is the entrance to a small collection of the Ethnographic Museum. Unfortunately a lot of the artifacts got destroyed in the fire during the Second World War.
From all the things on display I was mostly excited about the clothes, its craftsmanship and the meaning behind its elements.
For anyone not familiar with Balkan traditions, it would be a nice little introduction to visit this museum.
This lovely gallery is situated in a cobbled street uphill from the city centre, and when you pass these gates you can feel a wave of calm while walking up the stairs to the entrance.
Me and my dear friend were the only people inside the gallery and it was nice having the whole space to ourselves, to roam around in silence.
The gallery has three floors of exhibition space and it displays mostly paintings and sculptures.
Here are some of my favourite pieces.
While researching museum offerings in Sofia, I read some great reviews of this museum and decided to pay a visit, especially because it is so specific and unusual.
Already in the courtyard it felt like I was entering a land of towering concrete and bronze figures from a bygone era, but it somehow seemed familiar as well.
A pair of Lenins
Inner part of the museum provided a much needed cooling down from the hot Bulgarian sun. The exhibition space is rather cohesive, showcasing totalitarian art through different themes and art techniques.
Some of my favourite were black-and-white paintings of suffering.
Not only were there artworks expressing what life was under these regimes, but there was also historic video footage in the little separate building that is used as the gift shop. The footage showed Sofia during the communist regime.
I highly recommend visiting this museum, it was one of my favourite in Sofia.
One of the coolest museums in Berlin, so vast I regularly get lost in its hallways.
The building, as its name would suggest, used to serve as one of the oldest train stations in Germany. It was built in 1846 and it is the only train station in Berlin remaining from that time. Because of increasing traffic, it had to close its doors in 1884. Now it serves as the Museum for Contemporary Art.
It currently displays my favourite exhibitions in all of Berlin, and I highly recommend you to visit, because not only will you be enchanted by the art, but by the building itself, especially the grand hall.
Walking around I stumbled upon some famous names: Warhol, Rauschenberg and Lichtenstein.
Another great exhibition is the retrospective of German sculptor Rudolf Belling. It displays about 80 items from 1920s to 1960s. His work ranged from stage and costume design all the way to fountains and monuments. What comes across in his work is the use of empty space as a compositional element.
Another brilliant exhibition currently on is called Moving is in every direction. It traces the history of installation art from the 1960s until today. It is not setup chronologically so it is a full surprise as you walk from one exhibition room to another. I have captured some of my personal highlights.
Museum of Prints and Drawings is the largest of its kind in Germany. Current exhibition shows works from Maria Sibylla Merian, who was a naturalist and scientific illustrator from the second half of the 17th century.
There are plenty of lovely flower illustrations and ugly bugs to look at. If you like this type of illustration, it’s worth to have a walk around, and you can learn more about its historical development.
Bröhan-Museum is also known as the art deco museum. Besides the lovely collection of art deco and art nouveau pieces, ranging from furniture to decorative vases, on its first floor you can currently see a retrospective of works by the Dutch artist Jan Toorop.
Although he is rather an unknown artist outside his native country, this exhibition is most definitely worth visiting, and not only for the impressive 200 works on display, but because the range of materials and art techniques he used to create his art are so wonderful to look at and admire from the other side of the glass, or even whilst you’re looking at your own reflection in the mirrors he created.
His work in this retrospective includes drawings, pastels, paintings, ceramics, glass, poster and book cover design; just to name a few. It is such an inspiring and dreamy exhibition. My particular favourites were drawings the lines of which extend onto the frames that he also created.
Some of the works from the exhibition include:
The last floor of the building showcases an exhibition of music posters by Günther Kieser. Considering all of them were done without using any computer tool to modify the images, they are pretty amazing. Two of my favourites were:
The admission is free every first Wednesday of the month and Toorop exhibition is open until May 21 so be sure to visit!
Ephraim-Palais is called the most beautiful corner in Berlin. It is one of the few old buildings saved from the destructions of the war. Its current exhibition is about the forming and the growth of the city of Berlin, but more particularly about its castle that is being rebuilt and which will become a cultural centre and will host the vast collection of the Dahlem ethnographic museums in the future.
Learning about Berlin’s history past the point of the Berlin Wall and WWII is always so interesting. We rarely think about what was happening with the city in its beginnings and how it became a metropolis. The exhibition is shown on 3 floors and covers the historic period from the first castle being built in the area of today’s Berlin.
Each floor has elaborate models of the city in different periods. This one shows Berlin in the 17th century.
It is an exhibition worth visiting if you like history and if you like Berlin, and lavish castles.
axe that used to hold the lantern
interior of the old castle
Kunstbibliothek is one of the museums at Kulturforum. They regularly have interesting small scale exhibitions. The latest one displays Chinese poster and book design.
It is usually very quiet as there are not that many visitors so you can spend your time in deep contemplation over poster design without being distracted with commotion around you.
The most poignant poster I’ve ever seen about global warming blew my mind when I made the connection in my brain.
Some of the other beautifully designed posters include a play on Magritte:
and more traditional elements of Chinese culture:
The exhibition is open until May 28th.