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Berlin
For a critical analysis of great art, choose an essay made by ArtAtSite.

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    Borofsky
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    Chamberlain
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    Dagenbach
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    Eisenman
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    Heiliger
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    Kollwitz
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    Lammert
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    Le Witt
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    Matschinsky
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    Meese
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    Sy
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    Szelinski
Johathan Borofsky, The Molecule Man, Click for more information

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Shape
Three male figures meet each other. In the athletic figures you can see small openings arranged in a regular pattern. The men are slightly different: one is standing little more straight, another has the hind leg slightly stretched and the third holds his front leg a little higher. The men are having fun; they have opened their mouths. The artwork raises a few questions: why is it called molecule-man? What would be expressed with the openings in the profile? Why are these three men indicates by the title as only one man?

Material
The shiny steel evokes the feeling of perfection. The statue is large; 10 meters or even 15 meters high. Why is the artwork standing in the water? Would the reflection of the figures in the water maybe important?

Location
The sculpture stands near the center of Berlin, on the edge of the wide river Spree, which flows through the heart of the city.

Impact
The artwork is so large and near the center of Berlin, that you would think that the Berliners appreciate the artwork.

Meaning
The image is optimistic and an ode to modern mankind. The men make close contact with each other, they are moving strong and they are having fun.
John Chamberlain, Turm von Klythie, Click for more information

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Shape
A monumental rectangular shape appears to be composed of car wrecks. This artwork by Camberlain is playing with ideas of eternity and transience.

Material
The artwork was made by a machine that compresses wrecks. The result is a work with a horizontal segmentation, with almost at random color combinations. Perhaps Camberlain is expressing ideas about the role of the artist and the creation of art also in a utilitarian situation.

Location
The attendance in a luxury department store are in continuous contact with the giant artwork. There is a great contrast between the luxury goods and the raw material for the artwork.

Meaning
I suspect Camberlain having fun playing with a large number of inconsistencies, without the intention to say much about it.

Compared with other works
Suspicion and anxiety come to me at the work Airplane Part by Nancy Rubin (Los Angeles, picture 1, more information) which is a kind of plane made of old airplane parts.

In Reflections From Sky, Helidon Xhixha (Milan, picture 2, more information) disrupts a shiny surface, the area is on a special reflected in the artwork and reflections and distortions occur in the area.

The role of vanity in our finite lives is made clear by Gino de Dominicis in his Calamita Cosmica (Milan, picture 3, more information) on a humorous way. (Reclycling of) everyday objects play an important role in the work of Suboth Gupta (Shanghai, picture 4, more information) and in this work this appear to be an essential necessity of life. Pots and pans flow out a mug like the water.
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Udo Dagenbach, Panoptikum, Click for more information

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Shape
A large, strong and open structure is standing between something like foundations. On the side of the park are paths between lovely rose gardens. This gives completely different atmosphere than the meter-high walls around the large flat green space. In this place that exudes warmth, harmony and peace, something special must have happened, but it is not sure if this was terrible.

Material
The cube is composed of rigid concrete elements. The picture is two persons high and stands on a long concrete 'carpet'. This demands respect.

Location
The artwork in the park is located near the center of Berlin. It was the location of prison during a century in which long-term locked prisoners during the Second World War, were sadly not allowed to experience freedom. The buildings were standing far apart and that is still visible. An original central route in the area is highlighted by the work of art. Perhaps, the cube in a central spot of the original prison but the work does not make this clear.

Impact
The Berliners will be familiar with the history of this location. The artwork is completely abstract and does point to any recognizable elements that refers to the context.
Peter Eisenman, Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, Click for more information

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Shape
Even if this artwork is known by pictures, it still makes a stunning impression. In a large space in the center of Berlin, surrounded by buildings Eisenmann laid down a great number of concrete cubes, between which you can walk. The cubes are of different format; there are perfectly square cubes and rectangular shapes. The surface is sloping so during walking the ground can change gradually or suddenly; downwardly, upwardly and also sideways. The rectangular shapes remind me of tombstones and so the artwork reminds me of a cemetery. The rolling nature of the surface brings continuous uncertainty; at one moment there is a spacious view across the terrain but this may change. Sometimes, the surface sinks deep and the cubes are high enough to darken the narrow corridors.

Material
The cubes are made of stone. It seems that they are concrete but not carved out of stone. The surface is smooth and the color is that of concrete. This gives the work some artificiality. To my taste, the use of an natural material (for instance hardstone) the artwork would have more meaning and be more aesthetic.

Location
Because the artwork is located in the center of a metropolis, it is immediately clear that this must be an important work. Berliners and Germans in general will probably assign historical significance to the artwork. Additionally massiveness has great impact: this makes clear that the presented theme will be meaningful to many people and for many decades. A large number of tourists are walking between the cubes. People react differently to the darkness and lack of visibility between courses. Suddenly a person can loom. Some people are in serious reflection and some are uncertain giggling. The tourists on the adjoining terrace strike the atmosphere. A number of people are waiting alongside the premises. The people do not seem familiar with Berlin.

Impact
It gives a special feeling when the ground collapses and the blocks become higher at the same time so the blocks stand well above the person. Then it gets even darker between the stones. This gives a sense of insecurity and fear feels like walking into a maze with no prospect of a way out. The lack of visibility on other hikers makes me feel lonely and desolate.

Meaning
This artwork is a masterpiece and is pointing effectively to major historical events and meanings, for Germans and also for mankind. A cube is a minimal element which refers to essential values, like peace and humanity. Scrolling between the blocks can bring this desire. A rectangle form refers to more specific symbols. I think in this case of a tombstone. It focuses strongly on the past, but is less meaningful to the present and the future. It recalls feelings from the past but provides less comfort for the future.

Compared with other works
In the Garden of Exils Daniel Libeskind (Berlin, picture 1, more information) the olive-trees refer to tradition, trust, hope and future. The olives are standing in a cube and thus refers to the essential role of the substrate, the base, the tradition. The slope refers to a continuous and positive development, in my opinion. Even when Libeskind makes use of comparable aesthetic elements (cubes, a non-flat surface), he added thereto essential elements (olive trees) and so the meaning of the work is entirely different than the artwork by Eisenmann.

The impact of natural elements (stone, water) as Water Feature Stephen Cox (London, picture 2, more information) is strong and by pointing to words like a comprehensive universal system, continuity, human nature, responsibility, tradition and hope.

The use of massiveness has a major impact in 1600 Pandas by Paolo Grangeon (Hong Kong, picture 3, more information) by the friendly looking pandas who activate to immediate global action to protect nature.

Massiveness can also have an absolute nature. The question in The Wolves Are Coming by Liu Ruowang (Beijing, picture 4, more information) whether the lone person can keep standing up against the wolves. The artis can refer to different matters. It is at least something violent which man fears. This can be anything; natural disasters, other people, the government, big compagnies, etc. This work brings in a general topic with a strong emotion but gives no direction for a solution.
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Bernhard Heiliger, Flamme, Click for more information

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Shape
From every angle the artwork is entirely different; the image is literally more dimensional. From the street-side lines are starting from a central point forming a wide area through a bend. This makes me think of a person with wings. A nice detail is the which on the bottom line makes a nod as if this is a knee. From the square-side lines remain closer together and create an open structure. From this angle the image of flames appear to me.

Material
A variety of techniques is applied to finish the structure: a flat, sloping or rough surface, holes or ridges, deep notches or protruding lines and large openings. These finishings and also the lines walk in a natural way into each other and serve the whole.

Location
The artwork is near a large roundabout so the depth and versatility of the shapes are clearly visible. The structure is standing in an area with universities and with many young people. In such an environment I taste purpose and optimism. And that is what conveys the artwork.

Meaning
Mankind is versatile, powerful and energetic, that's what Die Flamme says. This is a wonderful positive artwork.

Compared with other works
Why always in bronze, would Tony Burke say with his Helix Stacked Glass Structure (London, picture 2, more information). The fire that edited the glass still appears to me, and creates a powerful twisting motion.

The artwork Monumento Caduti by Carlo Ramous (Milan, picture 1, more information) has lines and spaces that lie along each other and may slowly move in the wind without a clear focus.

Power, energy, and elegancy has Monumento Arma made by Luciano Minguzi (Milan, picture 3, more information). To me some elementes are a little too explicit, like the bowl on the bottom of the work.

While clear lines croak the surface, they become long lines that give dynamism to the artwork Onda Victoria by Franceso Somaini (Milan, picture 4, more information). The artwork has a great power of expression in the transfer of a large number of meanings.
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Käthe Kollwitz, Pieta, Click for more information

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Shape
A touching small statue sits in a large square-tight space that is part of a kind of temple. A round woman is wrapped in a robe and holding a thin man. The man is holding his head turned up and resting against the breast of the woman. The man has closed eyes. Woman holds the hand of skinny man loosely in hers. The woman holds her right hand to her mouth, her eyebrows frown and she seems to cry.

Material
The silk-shiny material has some depth because of the variations of dark gray colors.

Location
The space has a sacred atmosphere although tourists coming in and out continuously. Most people arrive cautiously, waiting to get used to the darkness and when they see the picture they walk cautiously closer. Cheerful children fall silent almost immediately.

Impact
The artwork has a big impact even if it is small. It is immediately clear that the man suffers seriously. It is also clear that the woman gives everything that she has. This statue comforts. The artwork expresses pain and love and uses all means to transfer these feelings. The picture is so clear that it touches almost everyone.

Meaning
A pieta with such strong imagery in the heart of Berlin is an important sign that testifies to humanity, sincerity to history, wisdom and vitality. This artwork and this space is important for German history.

Compared with other works
The Pieta by Fritz Koenig (Berlin, picture 1, more information) can not be read easily. Proper examination reveals that the carrying person is watching attentive to the suffering person. The large flat areas, the schematic lines and the reserved attitude gives me some aloofness.

The woman in the Pieta by Jurgen Pansow (Berlin, picture 2, more information) is in shock and she holds a lifeless man in her arms. It’s not possible to make contact with the woman and the situation for the man is hopeless. This artwork can not give any comfort.

In the work of Una Maternità Pieta by Vighen Avetis (Florence, picture 3, more information) does not move because of the woman and the kids who doesn’t make enough contact because of the attention elsewhere or there play.
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Will Lammert, Jewish Victims of Fascism, Click for more information

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Shape
A group of hollow people of different age are standing close to each other and looking worrisome ahead. A number of people carrying a small bag with him. Perhaps they have no more possessions than they carry with them.

Material
The artwork has been created in an artistic way of laborious editing bronze. Eventhough the finishing is rough and dark, the shapes are recognizable enough when looking closely at the artwork.

Location
The sculpture stands in front of a Jewish cemetery next to a synagogue in the center of Berlin. Apparently there have been many people and this is evident from the number of pebbles that lie in front of the image. This is a Jewish gesture that shows that people want to be close to their beloved descents and will remember them.

Impact
The murder of 16 million Jews can not be grasped. An image like this brings there feeling of fear closer. This is perhaps the reason why the artwork is almost explicit. The people do not seem to move, the situation seems not willing to change. To me it is not entirely clear what contact is between the people, I see no interaction. It is a static image.

Meaning
The artwork makes present the Big Killing in WWII but this does not make the image topical. The almost static image reflects this elusive and terrible fact. However, to me the work is focusing too much on that moment. I wonder what the artist wants to tell to people nowadays and in the present situation. The Great Murder is such a grand and tragic fact that it is difficult to make it current. Because the life-to-date is standing that far ahead, the transmit of the message is not completely successful.

Compared with other works
The artwork Züge in das Leben, Züge in den Tod (Train in the Live, Trains in the Dead) by Frank Meisler (Berlin, picture 1, more information) is placed next to a subway station. This puts the Great Massacre of WWII next to the small, recognizable, everyday travel by subway.

The monument Denkmal für die Verfolgten of Dritten Reiches by Gertrud Bergmann (Berlin, picture 2, more information) takes the viewer into the fall of one person. The hand is the only thing that goes up, the arm is a straight line to the face that can still be seen in the sharp snapshot of the lapse. This short moment of this one person is clearly expressed. It is an artwork that evokes compassion and makes us longing to help a lonely person.

The bronze artwork Skulpturengruppe by Christa Biederbick (Berlin, picture 3, more information) is wonderfully tactile and emotional. It is not instandly clear what the statue is telling us. What tells us a child who reclines to a woman, three men who surround the woman and the child, two men looking worried and one man who is looking bright in a certain direction? It suppose it is a frightning situation and I see that every person has a different reaction.
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Sol le Witt, Würfelskulptur, Click for more information

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Shape
The artwork consists of an open perfect cube, which is divided in multiple perfect cubes. Le Witt uses nothing but cubes; no separated lines, bowl, triangle or other.

Material
The strict and white shapes evokes me a sense of beauty and perfection.

Location
The artwork is placed along busy main streets. The square pattern also appears in the building behind it.

Impact
The impact is limited because the artwork can be seen only by driving alongside it. The drivers hardly have the opportunity to see the object, let alone to enter into a relationship with it. The art and architecture of the building behind it are clearly related. It is not clear to me social context is connected to the (sense of beauty and perfection of) the artwork. That’s why I have the feeling that the artwork lacks context and meaning.

Meaning
This artwork is minimalist carried to extremes. Erasing meanings from previous traditions and generations had gone so far that no meanings are left. What remains is an abstract object with sophisticated mathematical precision without much emotion. The artwork is important in the intellectual sense that art without meaning is possible.

Compared with other works
Last I heard someone say that the melodies and rhythms of J.S. Bach art so sophisticated and precise that it evokes emotions but no images. Something like this is true with the artwork of Solomon le Witt: it is sophisticated and precise while it evokes images. The lack of emotions in the artwork of Le Witt is the difference with the music by J.S. Bach.

In the Golden Cross by Goan Lim Han (Amsterdam, picture 1, more information) the minimalism went slightly less far, not in the form, and also not in the material. The statue is standing on a roundabout so the dynamics by the lines is better reflected.

A fusion is made in the artwork by Ben Zegers (Amsterdam, picture 2, more information) between the minimal form (cube) and everyday objects (a chair and table). To me it’s difficult to combine perfection and triviality. In this case, it feels like a collision.

Arjan Veldt comments the severity of minimalism in his Jonker's Night (Amsterdam, picture 3, more information) on a humourous way. Here's a perfect cube made by an ordinary transformer-hous on a residual space in the city. A picture on the house makes this place feel like a place of gold.
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Brigitte and Martin Matschinsky-Denninghoff, Berlin, Click for more information

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Shape
The artwork consists of two large curved shapes which almost touch each others ends. The artwork is so large that it dominates the boulevard.

Material
After a close watch, the forms turn out to be a shiny perfectly round shape with a fine structure of lines.

Location
The sculpture stands on a green line in a centale boulevard in the center of city. Inhabitants of Berlin are walking underneath, sitting along side on a bench and let there children play. The statue is part of the social life in the city.

Impact
The forms have some reference to persons. It seems to me that the persons are about to embrace. The ends of the round shapes seem to "look at each other." This wakes up emotions in me of desire and tenderness. The artwork can also refer to two links which are open, but wherein the compound is not broken. This recalls rather the feeling of tension.

Meaning
The statue refers to the unification of East- and West-Berlin on a gentle way. This is a powerful artwork with multiple and important meanings referring to a crucial historical moment. It will remain meaningful because of the multiple possible ways to interpret the artwork.

Compared with other works
As the title Kiss by Jeroen Henneman (Amsterdam, picture 1, more information) suggests two people meet each other in a loving way. Because the forms are specific, this can only refer to this kind of specific happenings. That’s way the artwork don’t have to power to give meaning to other kind of experiences.

Grosser Würfel is another work by Brigitte and Martin Matschinsky-Denninghoff (Berlin, picture 2, more information) which shows how strong the visual language is of the couple. Here, the round shape is combined with a cube. This minimalist element is in conjunction with embracing forms. This artwork evokes in me the feeling of cherishing something precious.

The artwork Joie de Vivre by Mark di Suvero (New York, picture 3, more information) makes use of practical components (structural steel), it expresses a sense of joy or even victory in a convincing way.

Although this artwork by Dennis Oppenheimer is entitled Engagement (Hong Kong, picture 4, more information), I think this artwork rather indicates of two people with a similar nature that are next to each other instead of connected with each other.
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Jonathan Meese, Humpty Dumpty Diktatur der Kunst Maschine der totalen Zukunf, Click for more information

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Shape
This artwork has bizarre shapes; a funnel, a kind of coin, some exhaust pipes, a platter, some flags. The artwork is standing diagonal on a tripod. Scattered on the surface are letters and numbers.

Material
The artwork consists of different materials: rough and colored bronze, glossy peeling and rusted flags. The parts are welded together on a 'careless' manner while durable and valuable materials are used like bronze.

Location
The artwork is exhibited at large and important exhibitions.

Impact
The traveling nature of the work does in my opinion benefit the meaning of the work. Because the artwork can be placed in different surroundings, it can hardly reflect on a specific way on locations, rulers and situations.

Meaning
This is one of the few artworks with humour. And above this: it can expose many meanings and issues. To understand this, it is necessary to study the symbols on the artwork. Jonathan Meese does with Humpy Dumpy no effort to create a "beautiful" artwork but is convincing critical on the transience and futility of power and violence.

Compared with other works
The artwork William by Rebecca Warren (London, picture 1, more information) is touching for its ugliness. Because of the lack of humor, eloquence or aesthetic value it’s hard to be positive about the artwork.

Willem de Kooning created with Reclining Figure (Rotterdam, picture 2) an artwork that is attractive, three-dimensional, raises many associations by the experienced viewer. This is a good piece of art that fits in a city where functionality and sobriety is important, yet whith an alternative subculture within the artistic scene.

These ugly giant Öffentliche Rose by Rolf Szymanski (Munich, picture 3, more information) shows himself as he is. If you look closely, a rose might become visible. Don’t you think that fading flowers are aesthetically? Vulnerable, rich in color, after years familiar with the house on the backside. Besides, this artwork is surrounded by ancient trees and mansions.

Another ugly cyclope Meeresgrund by Otto Petri (Berlin, picture 4, more information) looks fascinated at an attractive sleeping woman. This is not a good work of art, but the simple natural material evoke a primal force and sensuality.
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Hartmut Sy, Drei Würfel, Click for more information

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Shape
After a close look, we see three perfect cubes which are intertwined in one another. None of the cubes is exactly horizontal. The artwork is quite dynamic. Let alone that only elements are used which are static par excellence. A cube refers to an essential intellectual value; this is not associated primarily with dynamics.

Material
The matt, shiny and strict material makes me think of the skills by people to make a perfect and technical element. Location

The sculpture is standing in a park near a clinic and is accessible to a relatively small audience. By placing a piece of art in a park, gives it standing, an aesthetic function which is strengtend by the pleasant and soothing environment.

Impact
The impact of the work is limited because of the difficult accessibility, the modest size and the conventional material used. The special feature of this artwork is the tilting because of the playful use of straight lines and shapes.

Meaning
This artwork is especially significant for specialized art lovers who are familiar with the meanings of a cube, of the lack of horizontal lines, the open forms and who love to look closely to art.

Compared with other works
A perfect cube made of natural material (steel) like Nobody, Niemand by Micha Ullman (Berlin, picture 1, more information) evokes in me words like essence, intellect, nature. I’m thinking of dissecting an element until its’s base-material. Square and rectangle openings are made in this artwork. This has a general meaning and becomes a little bit concrete after extensive analysis by an art critic. My first association is that the recesses could have a practical function. It does not call on an aesthetic pleasure to me.

The artwork Block For Charlie by Richard Serra (Berlin, picture 2, more information) is that abstract and without specific elements that it has barely aesthetic qualities or meanings to me. Minimalism is to my liking implemented too far by using only as a basic form made by a homogeneous natural material. The inclined position of the artwork is not convincing to my taste.

A disc is a basic form with meanings completely different from a cube. Untitled by Niels Keus (Amsterdam, picture 3, more information) brings into my minds words like femininity, cosmos, cohesion, togetherness, whole, complete. These words and there meaning fit well by the nature of the structure; it’s finished by hand. The deep notch makes the work exciting. Could this suggest that's something drastic has happened? The tapered shape gives the disk more volume and makes it more grounded. This is a nice and good artwork.

Art works are all related to each other. That’s what you can say after comparing it to this artwork that is maybe titled Geometric Sculpture, but without known artist (Shanghai, picture 4, more information) Or would the artist be Sy? The artwork is an accumulation of open worked truncated elements. This reminds me of words like atoms, physics, intellect, movement, openness. It is sad that in Shanghai (direct link), but also in Beijing (direct link) and Hong Kong (direct link) the name of the artist and the title of so many works are unknown after checking internet.
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Singer Szelinski, Trümmerfrau, Click for more information

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Shape
A woman looks at you while she sits around boulders and has a sickle on her lap. It appears to be a tribute to the Berlin women who worked after the bombing in WWII between the heaps of stones to make them usable again and started the reconstruction.

Material
The artwork is carved from a simple hard stone.

Location
Around the sculpture, every year a memorial service is hold in the park. When I asked a woman who was passing by for the meaning of the statue, she gave me a touching explanation.

Impact
It appears that the inhabitants of Berlin find support in this statue of this recognizable woman. It is an image that is relevant and important.