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The Neues Museum, Berlin
The state of the building around 1990. Photographs by Andres Kilger

10.10.2009 to 28.02.2010

Alte Nationalgalerie
Alte Nationalgalerie

The Old National gallery is currently hosting a small exhibition of photographs by Andres Kilger to mark the occasion of the reopening of the neighbouring Neues Museum. The photographs depict the building as it was in 1989/90 and are a recollection of its intermediary state between being a safeguarded structure and a ruin, between preservation and reconstruction. They show how much of the original structure had survived and how fragile the rest of the building was.

Bizarre, quirky and poetic insights into the weathered, but still dignified, ruins bear witness to the process of dilapidation that has since been halted by the reconstruction effort, now completed in 2009. The photographs principally document the architecture, however, they are taken with an observational skill which pays particular attention to incidental narratives. The fight against the ravages of time, which was sorely needed after the structural damage suffered in the Second World War, can clearly be made out in the pictures, as can the first major efforts by the GDR to protect and safeguard the building. A sense of timelessness is heightened through the use of traditional black-and-white photography. The play of light, the variety of perspectives, the range of various materials and surfaces depicted and the visible remnants of the original museum's fittings all combine to form a memorable series of pictures.