I've been in Berlin now for five days. What a great city. It's has a the feel of a new city - it's vibrant, young, growing, accepting and creative. In many ways it is new since much of the city really came into existence after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.
Having just come from London, I can say that the mood is much much different here. London is posh. Well dressed. Mature. Conservative. It's a clean city with the rough edges smoothed over.
Berlin is still rough on the edges but that's what makes it so fun to be in. It's still discovering itself. As a center for art, I've never been in a city like it. So many young people here and they all seem hopeful. Because the city is relatively inexpensive compared to the rest of Europe, artists have flocked here to create work and form collectives.
The gallery scene is second to none. Touring the galleries is an education in contemporary art. It's all here: installation work, painting, photography, mixed media, film - you name it. The galleries come in all shapes and sizes too. From the massive white cathedrals to back-alley hidden gems. The art is accessible and the gallery inhabitants friendly.
That's not to say that the art is always friendly in the decorative sense. I'm guessing most people who have no art background wouldn't find much of it terribly interesting. This is art for astute collectors and people who live and breath art. For every Anton Corbin pop show for the masses, there's ten featuring something like the video I saw today at the Daimler Collection - a tight shot of a speed skater's feet wearing skates being dragged behind a car on a city street and hearing the sound of the screeching skates on asphalt. Oh yeah, and it was from China. What the hell?
But that's art - pushing the boundaries and keeping us guessing.
I came to Berlin because my focus has shifted from commercial work to contemporary art - and not the pretty picture kind of art. I don't come from the art world so I'm immersing myself in it to experience it and better understand it. As a primer for art, I can't imagine a better place to be than Berlin.