It seems spooky: As if by magic, the children’s orthoses by the Mexican artist Berenice Olmedo, which are otherwise used for learning to walk, straighten up. The transparently shimmering body shells with straps and splints toddle a few steps, only to collapse a little later on long threads on the concrete floor as if exhausted. The bunker in which the bizarre performance takes place adds to the shudder, as all light and natural life seems to be absorbed by the meter-thick walls.
The fourth presentation of the Boros Collection in the high bunker on Reinhardtstraße is also a finely tuned spectacle: works that shock, hurt or make you feel happy when you suddenly stand in front of a painting by Wilhelm Sasnal that you haven’t seen for a long time. Like its predecessors, this bunker exhibition also touches the heart, as the passion of a couple of collectors is behind it, who set their own themes with an exquisite hanging.
This time it’s about the body, what we expect of it, what traces Corona has left behind. Olmedo’s orthotic marionette theater goes well with the violent optimization of body and soul that children already experience. At the same time, her dolls suggest that the Ukraine war will catapult the issue of injuries much more drastically into the center of our society. The icy, dead sad self-portraits of Bunny Rogers, in which she morphs into an artificial figure, also seem like a preview of the mental consequences of current events.
Christian Boros, who leads up and down the stairs through the bunker, doesn’t bother him. He knows the works in his collection only too well. A selection of 20 artists can be seen in the 80 rooms. The US artist Bunny Rogers is one of his favorites. He also stops enthusiastically at the works of Anne Imhof and points with gleeful glee to the giant scratch that the artist has made through two high-gloss lacquered panels that have been hung next to each other.
Ouch! Every car freak must get chills down the spine, it feels like a welt on a glossy driver’s door. In the next moment, the collector is again a fine spirit and points out that the merging black and red of the diptych is also reminiscent of Rothko’s abstract paintings.
Or Anna Uddenberg’s mannequins: the twisted women’s bodies bend their arms back so far that they can photograph their sexy behinds with a selfie stick. Boros admits that he was initially disturbed by Uddenberg’s sculptures, but his wife Karen remained convinced. Now four trolley and selfie girls by the Swedish artist are also in the bunker. Your preparations make you shiver more than the walls around.
Anyone in Berlin who wants to know what is most coveted at the moment, such as the elegiac pictures of friends by the New York painter Louis Fratino, should book a ticket and be guided through the rooms in the company of eleven other art lovers. Since the bunker opened 14 years ago, this edition of the fire brigade has developed into a brand, the branding expert and agency owner is even more pleased.
“In museums one is a visitor, in private collections a guest,” he says later over a glass of wine in the private apartment, which is set as a loft on top of the bunker. After the Cologne couple Erika and Rolf Hoffmann, he was the second collector to move from Wuppertal to Berlin and strengthen the reputation of the art city with the spectacular conversion of the bunker.
Since then, Boros has accompanied the ups and downs, the departures and new arrivals. He calls Erika Hoffmann’s decision to send her collection to Dresden a failure of the Berlin museums. He believes that a lack of appreciation is the reason why the collection of Berlin’s best-known collector is leaving the city. “Appreciation is a currency,” emphasizes Boros. “Private engagement should be taken more seriously.”
And yet, according to his observation, the wind is turning. The best sign of this was the invitation of all art actors to a “giant table”, which the Senator for Culture and Economics had jointly announced. The economics senator proved to be surprisingly culturally affine and promised gallerists support if they presented Berlin artists at fairs outside the city.
Boros is now talking himself into action, enthusing about Berlin’s “wonderful mixture”, the great museums and galleries. Unlike in Munich, there is a “congenial mix” here. Everyone just has to support each other, let them work, like a diamond whose radiance only unfolds through the multitude of facets. You can tell it’s working in him, he likes the picture. Who knows, maybe the next campaign will already be in there.