20 years later, major effort to repair, restore Berlin Wall





BERLIN – Stroke by stroke, Gerhard Kriedner applied pink acrylic paint with a small brush on a 14-yard stretch of the Berlin Wall, recreating the mural he first painted months after the Berlin Wall came down on Nov. 9, 1989.

Kriedner and 90 artists from around the world have gathered again to repaint their original creations on the concrete slabs, bringing new life to images that have been eroded by the elements over the last two decades, on the longest remaining length of the wall that once split Germany's capital.

"This is a very emotional thing for me," Kriedner, 69, said, adding that he escaped from communist East Germany to the West himself as a young man. "The Berlin Wall stands for the total lack of freedom we had at the time."

While Berliners were initially eager to tear down the city's most detested symbol, in recent months there has been a major effort to restore the 3/4 mile-long (1.3-kilometer) dilapidated East Side Gallery — a major tourist attraction with 106 different paintings and graffiti.

"The wall was rotten through and through," Kriedner said on a recent chilly, overcast autumn day as he put the finishing touches on his mural — a dark, barren landscape with bursting soap bubbles colored pink and light blue, his interpretation of the promise of Socialist dreams colliding with reality...

"In order to restore the wall, the entire artwork was scraped off, the concrete was chiseled down to the steel insides, and then everything had to be reapplied, but this time with waterproof acrylic paints," the Bavarian artist said, adding that he'd been working off a photo of his original piece to ensure the new version mimicked the original.


comments powered by Disqus