Since 2013 it is tradition to honor one of the motifs of the East Side Gallery on the finisher shirts of the Wall Race. The idea to connect art and sport originated in collaboration with the Artist Initiative East Side Gallery, which is committed to the preservation of the longest retained piece of the Berlin Wall. And this year – at the 5th edition of the 100Meilen – one of the most famous Wall artists will leave his traces on the shirt, namely Thierry Noir.
Whenever there is talk about graffiti at the former Berlin Wall, his name cannot be avoided. The pictures of Thierry Noir are closely connected to the Wall Art, especially due to the typical colorful heads in profile, pictogram-like reduced to prominent nose, full lips, big wide eyes and circular head.
The artist from Lyon started painting the Wall in 1984 (of course on the Western side). Doing that Thierry and the other known and unknown artists had to be careful, since the west side of the Wall – although freely accessible – was claimed property of the GDR. Encounters with border patrols happened regularly. Thierry Noir once described it like this: “An eye painting while the other pays attention to the soldiers.”
And about the art at the Wall he thought: “We are not trying to make the wall beautiful because in fact it’s absolutely impossible. 80 persons have being killed trying to jump over the Berlin wall, to escape to west-Berlin, so you can cover that wall with hundred of kilos of color, it will stay the same. One bloody monster, one old crocodile who from time to time wakes, eats somebody up, and falls again back to sleep until the next time.“
Shortly after the opening of the border in 1989 Thierry together with other artists started painting the remains of the Wall near the Oberbaumbruecke on the east side. This was the hour of birth of the East Side Gallery. And Noir stayed active beyond this: He painted a piece of Wall scenery for the movie “Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders. For the rock band U2 he colored 6 Trabant cars for the cover of the single “The Fly”.
What the finisher shirt with Thierry Noir’s motif will look like, will remain our secret and is going to be disclosed at the finish line in the Jahnsportpark on 13/14 August.