The Boros Collection

Once upon a time, in an era of war and genocide, a fat man in a tight uniform promised the people of Berlin, that as long as he lived no enemy bomb would be dropped on Berlin.

But all his guns and all his planes could not keep the other side from raining fire and death from the sky, turning the city slowly to ashes.

Therefore the head of the murderers ordered the construction of bunkers to protect the travelers of nearby train stations.

Sure of their victory the bunker close to Friedrichstraße train station was build to be used as a war memorial later on, so the architect let himself be inspired by renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.

But no effort was enough to stop the enemies from marching into the city.

Once upon a time, in an era of destruction and occupation the soldiers from the East used the bunker for their own purposes, imprisoning their enemies in a building constructed to defy them and their allies from the West.

Again world history swept over the city when a different kind of war emerged among the former allies, dividing the city that they had agreed to share and rule together.

Once upon a time, in an era of division and proclaimed equality of all people, certain goods were hard to come by in the eastern part of the city, cut off from world trade by an iron curtain that had come down in Europe.

The bunker, with its thick walls and its cool temperature inside became a storage for dried and tropical fruits. The people in the streets started to call the building the ‘banana bunker’ and they looked upon it longingly, knowing that for the majority of them its content was out of reach.

But while the head of the country declared that the wall protecting the regime would still stand in 50 and 100 years, the wind of change came back to Berlin, making walls tumble down and people reunite.

 

Once upon a time, in an era of rapid change and healing wounds, the empty bunker was taken over by the new party scene that established itself in Berlin. Hard beats of techno music were heard in the bunker, dark rooms gave anonymity to those who went inside for sex with strangers and days were turned to nights, while nights were turned into days.

But no party lasts forever and the scene moved on to new projects, halfway drawn by new promises from undiscovered parts of Berlin, halfway pushed by a neighborhood that became more and more posh.

Once upon a time, after the dawn of a new millennium, the bunker stood empty for some time, waiting for a new purpose, when a man called Christian Boros laid eyes on the building.

Born in Poland, but raised in West-Germany, Christian Boros had made his fortune with advertisement in the era of rapid change. Being fascinated by contemporary art and having the funds to back up his passion he had started to build up a collection from a young age on. But his collection had grown quite big already and he searched for a place able to house it.

He bought the bunker, renovated and rebuilt it to be a home for his art as well as for himself and his family. Walls were broken in, floors were opened up and a penthouse was added to the top.

But Christian Boros did not want to keep it all for himself. He wanted to share his passion with others interested in contemporary art. So he decided to open his private collection to the public on the weekends in small, guided tours.

But in limiting the spots he caused long waiting times and people registered month in advance to be able to see the works of Olafur Eliasson, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and many more.

Christian Boros says that he collects art that he does not understand. A feeling that many share, but few admit. This was specially shared by guests in the hotel next door that looked from their hotel room upon this wax figure of a sick man in a hospital bed.

Regularly worried people called the reception asking them to tell the people in the hospital next door that one patient wasn’t moving anymore!

But contemporary art does not stand still and the collection grew on and on. Therefore the collection is closed right now for the first time in years to change the exhibition and make way for new objects inside a bunker that has already seen so much during its existence.

The art bunker of Christian Boros will open again at the end September this year. Reservations to see the changed exhibition have already been done by many people and spots are starting to become rare again.

 

If you want to visit the Boros Collection during your next visit to Berlin, go to http://www.sammlung-boros.de and make a reservation beforehand. There are guided tours in German and in English from Friday to Sunday, starting at the 21st of September.

Dennis Behnke

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