The painting by Peter Lorenz at the East Side Gallery will be the theme for the finisher shirt in 2015. Alexander von Uleniecki met the artist at the gallery in December and talked to him.
Hello, Mr Lorenz! For those who don’t know the picture at the East Side Gallery: What does it depict?
It is painted quiet realistic, which is actually untypical of me since I am rather attracted to the abstract art. The mural painting shows on the one side how great nations, which were involved in the re-union, interconnect. The Brandenburg Gate, the Soviet Star, the US flag, but also the German colors are visible. In contrast the other half of the picture is dominated by collapse and reorganization, actually a chaos.
Has the painting got a name?
No, it does not have a title. Everyone standing in front of the picture is supposed to make a mind of his or her own. I think that’s more interesting.
You were living in the West back then, in Leverkusen. How did you learn about the fall of the Wall on 9 November?
Yes, it was a special incident to such a degree that I would never have visited Berlin without it. On 9 November 1989 I had a big exhibition in Muenster. At first I wondered why nobody visited – despite sent invitations. Till I was informed about the incidents in the East. And later on as well about the plans to design the Wall artistically.
First stroke of the brush was carried out in 1990. What are your memories to this day?
It was really hot. And it smelled like twin-stroke engines which used to be driven over here. I can still smell them. But it was a great experience to be part of it and to design such an object.
Did you have a presentiment of the East Side Gallery being as famous as it is today?
No, not at all. This was not foreseeable, especially since we were fighting great resistance back then. Not everyone accepted artists at the Wall.
What else relation do you have to the Wall?
Of course, I have concerned myself quite a lot with the history of the Wall, especially now for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. And as well through my daughter Katharina, who is an actress and contributed to the movie “Bornholmer Strasse”. She acted as a GDR citizen in the movie, who was one of the first few being allowed the visit to the West on 9 November.
Now the picture finds its way to the finisher shirt of the Wall Race 2015. How did you react when Kani Alavi from the artistic initiative East Side Gallery approached you with this request?
I was and still am very proud and very happy. I have been living in Berlin for two years now and I like it when things I have created are adopted by the Berliners.
But the Wall Runners are not the first ones who are allowed to slip over the artwork…
Udo Lindenberg has been slightly faster. The leather designer designed a jacket, my picture from the East Side Gallery is shown on the back. The leather jacket was supposed to be sold later on by auction for the good cause.
And a last question: Participating in the Wall Race?
Of course, I will be at the course. Maybe doing some music in front of my picture at the East Side Gallery, because the Blues is one of my other favorites. By the way, I have been running in my life, at least a half marathon in Leverkusen. For this event I once designed a finisher shirt. But in private: Sports are not really my thing…