11/05/2014

The east German punks behind the Berlin Wall's most radical art stunt


On Monday 3 November 1986, a group of five masked men drew a white line on the Berlin wall. The line started at Mariannenplatz in the capital’s alternativeKreuzberg district, heading west via the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing in the city centre. At points, the line was so thick the paint dripped all the way to the bottom. Where police guarded the wall, it ran thinner, snaking down to the pavement and then back up.

After around 5km (three miles), just south of the Brandenburg Gate, opposite the square that now hosts architect Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust memorial, the line suddenly stopped. At 11:30 on Tuesday morning, border guards from the eastern side of the wall had ambushed the line-painters and put an end to their project.

The wall collapsed almost exactly three years later. This November, Germany and the world will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its fall. The murals and graffiti painted and sprayed on the western facade are likely to feature heavily in the commemorations; the contribution of French street artist Thierry Noir has already been feted at a recent retrospective in London...more