VERNISSAGE on Thursday, 1st August 2019
FINISSAGE on Thursday, 22nd August 2019
in CULTURE POP STUDIO by Street Art Berlin, Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, Alte Potsdamer Str. 7, 10875 Berlin-Mitte
The remaining pieces of the Berlin wall right outside Street Art Berlin’s gallery and event studio CULTURE POP STUDIO right on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin-Mitte is a constant reminder of a time when our capital was divided into two cities: East Berlin and West Berlin. Nowadays, it is rare to see old pieces of the wall in their original, cold and strict colour: Gray.
Most of the still standing parts are now colourfully painted. – That was not always like that: Decades ago, in the 1980s, when the wall was meandering through Berlin’s city scape like a grey, sad and heavy mooded monster snake, two young artists could not stand the transmitted heavy weight and tristesse of those concrete witnesses of division and exclusion. They decided – against all odds, fully aware that painting it was highly illegal – to paint that monster nevertheless and make it their outdoor atelier: Thus, Kiddy Citny and Thierry Noir became icons of Berlin’s street art scene.
Now, 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, they are famous not only in Berlin and Germany, but worldwide for their art and and courage behind it. An excellent occasion for Street Art Berlin to show a fulminant selection of artworks by these two „Dinosaurs of Street Art“.
Painting in the wall’s shadow: Short bio of Kiddy Citny and Thierry Noir
Thierry Noir was born in 1958 in Lyon, France. In 1982, at the age of 23, Noir moved to Berlin, where he lived in the famous Georg von Rauch-Haus on Mariannenplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg.
Each day, Noir could see the oppressing wall as a silent and yet very present witness of opression and the Cold War, dividing people, families, ideas of unity. The sound he heard the most in that time, might have been the sirens of ambulances, he says. It was not a peaceful time, political tension was lying heavily above the city. GDR soldiers patroled the Death Stripe on the border of East and West Berlin. It bothered him.
But he was not the only one: The artist Kiddy Citny, born in 1957 in Stuttgart and thus, only minimally older than Thierry, lived in Berlin since 1976 and the wall was something he could not approve of in his desire of unity and love for people and the world they were imbedded in.
Both lived in wild times in the 1980s in West-Berlin, with connections to the new wave scene, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Kiddy even founded a band called „Sprung aus den Wolken“ and played some of the first tours with the German band Die Einstürzenden Neubauten. They were young, spirited human beings longing for freedom. The wall was literally in their way, opressing happiness, causing division and misery.
In 1984, Thierry Noir had enough: He decided to ridicule that stupid, grey wall. Eventually, he would collect leftover paint from renovation works in the Kreuzberg area and he started to paint each and every day, if rain or shine, more than 5000 metres within 5 years.
To cut a long story short: The artists met. They had a shared vision. They were risking their lives to paint that wall. Kiddy says about that time, that „(t)he wall paintings were created because Thierry Noir and (he) wanted to ridicule the so-called anti-fascist protection wall. (They) wanted to embrace Berlin with art and started to paint hundreds, thousands of meters.“
The risks of painting the wall gave birth to their motives, style and technique
Painting the wall was strictly and absolutely forbidden. Due to the fact that the wall was built 5 metres beyond the official border of West Berlin and thus, reached into the East Berlin territory, the East-German soldiers were able and allowed to arrest (at best) any person close to the wall.
That means: Both artists were risking their lives each and every day. Painting the wall made them activists, early pioneers of street art. They had to be as quick as possible. In a way, that risk helped the evolution of their individual, unmistaken and unique painting styles:
THIERRY NOIR mostly depicted abstract human faces that interact with one another in a silent communication, all individualized and he always used fat, simple black outlines which he filled with maximum three colours. He called it the Fast Form Manifest. The vivid colours showed a huge contrast to the sadness of the wall: They transmitted an innocence and should deliver joy and hope. Noir says, „They are a symbol of a freedom that does not come from the sky, a freedom that is not given to you, but a freedom that you have to fight for.“
KIDDY CITNY’s art shows expressive figures in motion – colours and shapes – a multi-faceted arrangement of bodies, spirits animated by love. The heart-shaped faces and the coronated heads, which Kiddy Citny painted on the wall, were intended to show love, unity and that basically every individual is a king or queen. Some figures hold the globe in their arms – a symbol and reminder of and to protect our planet from all harm. Kiddy Citnys‘ intensely coloured works are both the expression of a progressive awareness of life and allegories for a world of poetry. They stand for the longing for love and an optimistic belief in a promising future.
After the wall: The aftermath, reception of their art
The artworks of Kiddy and Thierry are regarded as voices of freedom in a time when the world was caught in the grip of two superpowers, Noir has left an enduring legacy of the power of individual acts of resistance. After the downfall of the Berlin wall in 1989, both artists gained not only German-wide, but international fame.
In Berlin, you have seen their artwork for sure: Might it be at the walls at famous East Side Gallery or pieces of the wall that are placed at the Märkisches Museum in Berlin and at a seat of honour at Berlins‘ Leipziger Platz, where Kiddy and Thierry renewed their paintings this August again to make it sustainable and accessible for future generations, with radio and TV-reporters present. You can even find pieces of the wall painted by Kiddy and Thierry in front of the UN headquarters in New York.
SPECIAL EXHIBITION, FINNISAGE and ART SALE at CULTURE POP STUDIO by Street Art Berlin
But: You don’t have to go as far as to New York, as by the moment, Street Art Berlin’s CULTURE POP STUDIO at Potsdamer Platz has the great honour to house over 70 of their artworks – swing by, be a part of Berlin’s history, enjoy seeing the artpieces and if that is not enough, you can even purchase it, as all the exhibited artworks are for sale.
After the vivid vernissage on 1st August 2019, we will celebrate the ending of the exhibition on 22nd August 2019 with a FINISAGE – again, as in the opening, both Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny will be present.
Do not hesitate swinging by – the artists are sympathic and lively human beings who will not hesitate to answer questions or communicate. On top of that, our gallery team is there for you, as well and gladly gives individual explanations and refreshments fro our bar for a small obolus. Entrance is free!
A big THANK YOU
…first of all, to the artists KIDDY CITNY and THIERRY NOIR for turning our space into a colourful, life-affirming space-and-time-ship!
Another no lesser thank you to all the visitors and everyone, who helped with the preparation of this exhibition.
Thank you also to German TV chanel ZDF for the documentation of the exhibition preparations. Check out the following videos:
Heute Journal 2019-08-02
Mahnmal für die Freiheit
Heute Journal 2019-08-02
Heute Journal 2019-08-02
Berliner Mauer wird restauriert
Heute Plus 2019-08-02
The exhibition DINOSAURIER DER STREET ART by KIDDY CITNY and THIERRY NOIR can be seen in CULTURE POP STUDIO until 26th August 2019, with a FINISSAGE on 22nd August 2019.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE EVENTS TO COME. – IN ART WE TRUST.