Street art in Germany
Art in the public space
Graffiti, street art and murals: large-scale wall art is something that’s become an intrinsic part of the streetscape in many towns and cities. We take you on a quick tour through Germany.
By Johannes Zeller
They used to be mostly illegal but are in great demand nowadays: artistic graffiti and elaborately designed murals provide interest in many German towns and cities. In subways, under bridges or on building façades – the number of specially commissioned open-air street art projects is on the increase. These works of art are carried out by a diverse international community that is growing constantly, consisting of street artists, collectives and groups committed to revitalising the urban landscape.
What if we don’t need to be afraid of the “big bad wolf” at all? Little Red Riding Hood and seven wolf pups adorn the façade of building number two in Helenenweg, Schmalkalden. “Not every wolf is bad (it’s just that we’re often too lazy or cowardly to realise it)”, says the writing next to the work entitled “Once upon a time”. Those in the know will quickly spot the unmistakeable style of Herakut, a duo consisting of Hera (Jasmin Siddiqui) and Akut (Falk Lehmann) from Frankfurt am Main, who are well-known for their visual storytelling. There are more murals to marvel at in Wittenberg and Berlin, but also in Sacramento, New York and London.
Artist: Herakut | Title: Once upon a time | Location: Helenenweg 2, Schmalkalden
Christian Böhmer is from Bad Kreuznach in Rhineland Palatinate and not only has he been a graffiti artist since the early days of his youth, he has also now become a sought-after portrait painter. He is most famous for his “paper bag heads”, with which he questions the digitalised world from the streets of Germany – including a building on the corner of Hackländerstraße 2 in Cologne.
Artist: Christian Böhmer | Title: Unsuccessful Amor | Location: Hackländerstraße 2, Cologne
A vase, beautiful yet fragile, decorated with hand grenades, tanks and fighter jets: this at first glance innocuous mural is emblazoned on a façade at number 20, Paul-Heyse-Straße in Munich – just a short walk away from the headquarters of two of Europe’s largest arms suppliers. Designs by artist ESCIF from Valencia in Spain often have a social criticism theme and can be found in cities all around the world. The Munich work “Durch die Blume gesagt” (Say It With Flowers) was commissioned by the organisation Positive Propaganda e.V. and funded by the Munich Department of Culture.
Artist: ESCIF | Title: Durch die Blume gesagt | Location: Paul-Heyse-Straße 20, Munich
Case Maclaim, whose real name is Andreas von Chrzanowski, grew up in Schmalkalden, and was probably involved to some extent in the colourful transformation of the small town. His motifs usually combine photo realism with surrealistic elements. One of his biggest projects in terms of cost is a mural covering 700 square metres on an old warehouse in Mannheim. The rectangular division of the faces is a play on the architecture in the “city of squares”. Further murals by Case Maclaim can be admired in Heidelberg, Berlin and Munich – and of course in Schmalkalden too.
Artist: Case Maclaim | Title: Unknown | Where: Rheinvorlandstraße, Mannheim
It isn’t just that there’s a long tradition of collaborative works by different artists on the graffiti scene – you could even say that community projects are one of their cornerstones. No less than 17 artists were involved in the creation of Nuremberg’s largest mural, entitled “Gostenhof lebt” (Gostenhof lives). New artworks both large and small are constantly appearing all around the mural, some of them during the street art festival “Betonliebe” (concrete love).
Artists: Jeff Soto, joemadethis, disko, cubr11, KL52, Zolar7, Felixpensel, KidDBow | Title: Gostenhof lebt | Location: Fürther Straße 63, Nuremberg
“CARE” is a visual statement on the symbiosis of the environment and society, which emerged from the aerosol of Daniel Westermeier aka Mister Woodland. It was created for the festival “Goch history meets StreetArt”, organised by the local history society Goch e.V.
Artist: Mister Woodland | Title: CARE | Location: Neustraße 20, Goch