Art in public spaces
In conjunction with the Office for Art in Public Spaces of the Senate Department for Science, Research, and Culture, the Berlinische Galerie offered an art award for the design of the outside area. The goal was to artistically enhance the forecourt and the museum’s entrance area in order to define the building as a center for art and culture in its surrounding urban space. The central task was to make the museum building behind the office building recognizable as a museum from as far away as the road. A sizable jury recommended that two of the altogether ten competition entries should be carried out. After closely examining the feasibility of the project, the Berlinische Galerie, along with the Senate Department of Science, Research, and Culture, decided in the beginning of October 2003 to realize both drafts and to include them in the planning of the building.
The artistic contribution or Fritz Balthaus: "Marked Space – Unmarked Space"
A resident of Berlin, the artist Fritz Balthaus designed a project that deals with the entire building complex. He works with the given measurements of 5 x 11 meters of the big hall, corresponding with the width and height of the wall sections between the supporting columns of the external walls. He marks these sections by painting the entire front of the big hall with grey and white bands of these measurements. At the same time, he widens the emergency exit staircase next to the entrance to five meters, and aligns it to the level of the big hall, so that the front wall of the emergency exit staircase also measures 5 x 11 meters. Raising the wall connects the emergency exit staircase to the museum hall and transforms the airspace above the entrance hall into an outward-folding white cube that reflects the interior of the museum. The key and central element of Balthaus’s artistic contribution is a newly-erected freestanding white wall, also measuring 5 x 11 meters, that creates the impression that the museum’s exterior wall extends to the road. In this way, the actual museum building, which is covered by the office section in front, visually extends to the road and prepares visitors from a distance for the dimensions of the building behind. Optically designed by Balthaus as an exhibition wall, the plain white plaster concrete wall is not an architectural element, but rather an artistic and sculptural one. It represents a continuation of his past artistic work, which deals predominantly with materials and presentation methods in museums by quoting, analyzing, critiquing, and distancing himself from the traditional strategies. In this way, subordinated functional elements, procedures, and materials developing in the exhibition process - here, the exhibition wall and the museum area - conceptually become the starting point and endpoint of artistic design.
The Artistic Contribution of the Kühn Malvezzi Architectural Team "The Marking of the Glass Warehouse"
The project concerns the design of the forecourt as well as the procuring of seats and the planting of trees. The focus of the work consists of marking of the museum’s forecourt with an 80 meter-long shining yellow field of letters on black asphalt. In this way, the length of the forecourt is stressed and the observer is visually directed from the road to the museum. What from the roadside appears to be an unsorted letter field becomes upon closer inspection a list of the names of artists represented at the Berlinische Galerie. The project includes a bench extending along the property’s border. The bench is interrupted by a row of trees and a passage at the rear end. The space thus takes on an inviting quality and stands out from the adjoining property. In addition, the Kühn Malvezzi architectural team sketched the furniture in the library as well as the cash and cloakroom counters.
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