Hamburger Bahnhof

It was a stormy day over northern Germany when we decided to wait it out in the Hamburger Bahnhof. Built in 1846, this railway terminus became am exhibition hall in 1906. It was massively damaged in the second world war. Although it lay in the British zone of Berlin, it was given to the East German government at the end of the war, but passed back in 1984. The current building was made to the plan of Josef Kleihues in 1996, when it opened as part of the Berlin State art collection.

The oldest pieces of contemporary art on display are probably the pieces by Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. We moved from these into more recent works, notably a few of the more interesting works by the German conceptual artist Josef Beuys. Our eyes snagged on an incredible work by the Chinese artist Qin Yu Fen. There were some remarkable works by Raimund Kummer on display in a special exhibition.

One of the most interesting works by Beuys on display is the piece called Tallow, which is a cast of the bottom of a pedestrian overpass in Muenster made in mutton fat. The physical properties of this medium were unknown since they had never been used on this scale before. Physicists were brought into this effort to compute the cooling rate and stresses on the framework made to contain the material. The disassembled pieces on show have thermometers inserted into them which indicate that your body heat changes the work slightly.

It would take more than a day to see everything here. So we made our departure from the place as usual when we found our legs beginning to ache. The storm had cleared, but it was decidedly colder outside.