Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Concrete poetry

The Boros Collection: Part 1
You’ve got a large private collection and it needs acres of secure storage and exhibition space. What are you going to do? When we visited the Rubells a couple of years ago they had solved the problem in Miami by using an ex-Vice Squad drug and weapons repository (it still had a possie for a machine gun). Here in Berlin advertising entrepreneur Christian Boros and Karen Lohmann hunkered their collection down in a five-storied concrete World War II Bunker designed by Albert Speer as part of Hitler’s Germania project. After the war as part of East Germany, it stored fruit imported from Cuba and was locally known as the Banana Bunker.

If there is a problem with keeping your art in a 3,000 square meter concrete bunker with 2 meter thick concrete walls, part of it is the reality that the bunker structure with its doors, shutters, vents, pipes, machinery and corridors is so evocative that some of the art struggles to assert itself. Artists who succeeded included Sarah Lucas (through mordant humour) and John Bock (via some sort of personal, energetic madness). The artists given the most space over the five floors of galleries were Anselm Reyle and the ubiquitous Olafur Eliasson. Works by Reyle included a stunning low hung light strobe light fixture and for Eliasson see part 3 of this post which we'll put up tomorrow, part 2 coming later today.

You can visit the Boros collection as part of their Saturday tours by appointment and online by applying for a password via their website.

Images: Top the Boros Collection bunker and entry. Bottom left Sarah Lucas gives an irreverent hand and John Bock falls out of a wardrobe.