Sammlung Boros, Berlin

This private gallery is housed in a Nazi-era bunker, which was built in 1940 for Berliners to shield themselves from bombs.

Interestingly it is above ground, rather than hidden away underground, so in order to fortify it they made the walls two metres thick and the ceiling thicker. The bunker is quite monumental and striking, and the plan was that after the war they would cover it in marble in celebration.

Over the years obviously this never came about, and it was used for various things after WWII including as a fruit market, Russian prison, sex club and for fetish parties - it was known as the 'hardest club in the world'. They would have knocked it down if they could, but it was built to not be knocked down.

Anyway along comes a wealthy German art collector in the 90s who is in the advertising game and he and his wife had an architect redo the interior to make it fit for art showing, and then put a penthouse on the top level, with amazing city views. Nothing was added, they simply took out a lot of walls and ceilings to create bigger spaces and light shafts. There are still bullet holes, turbines, old fixtures and concrete walls bearing the history of this place.

So now, by appointment only, you can see parts of his remarkable contemporary art collection on display as part of a guided tour. Currently the exhibition focuses on contemporary conceptual art, and has works by Sarah Lucas, Kris Martin and others dealing primarily with light and space.

Above: Anselm Reyle, 'Ohne Titel'
Below: Olafur Eliasson, 'Berlin Colour Sphere'

Above: Kris Martin's 'For Whom' is a bell he reclaimed from a church in his home country of Belgium. He took out the dinger, so it is silently swinging - something that you once heard but never saw, now you see and don't hear. It also swings randomly with varying velocity, as opposed to a church bell which is regular and keeps time.

I have not really done this justice as there were way richer ideas in some of the pieces, but I was unable to photograph them. One of the most striking was an artist whose work included getting poor people to do things for money (often just fifty bucks). Things that were unnecessary and degrading. And documenting this or showing it in front of an inevitably richer audience. For example, he got some Cubans to tattoo a line across their backs, some other men to masturbate on camera, and some Mexicans to hold up a heavy wall at a certain angle for an extended period. So he was playing with high and low culture, capitalism and economic disparity, who art is for and the bourgeois nature of art, and walking the line (well walking over the line) of degrading others for art's sake and to make a statement, which in some misguided way is a statement trying to defend those he is degrading. Weird.

Another favourite was photographs documenting how one artist had gone to a number of differnet hotel rooms and taken apart the furniture and moved it around to create little cubby houses. Often he dismantled furniture. And then at the end put the room back together. So exploring a really ununique space, which he had not say in designing, and redesigning it to make it his own. They were very cool cubbies, too!


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Anna Metcalfe is a content maker, word writer and editor of things.