We walk past this “display” almost every day when we stayed in Berlin. Located on Olof Palme Platz, right outside the aquarium, it is a most curious thing. The first day I saw it, I figured to myself, public road works have something to answer for here. It looked like they dug up an old road in Berlin and piled it up right in front of the aquarium. Probably in protest that the two thousand species of fish at the aquarium get more attention than they do and are fed very well to do nothing but look healthy. And they did not even bother to cordon off the area with red and white stripe tape and numerous hazard cones like they do here in Melbourne. Which by the way, over here they do religiously with no encouragement. Almost like it is a look at me fashion statement.
After a while, we realized that no one is going to come and clear this mess up. This was in fact a permanent thing. What we would call a public display object. A sculpture. A work of art. As you can guess by now, I am no high brow art critic. Considering I wander around Berlin looking at graffiti. But when something looks rubbish, I call it as it is. But wife would not have me do that. Something about throwing pearls before swine etc etc.
So I had to look it up and believe you me, this is not the easiest thing to find. But in the end, I did discover what it is. Believe it or not, it is put together by a prominent sculptor, Volker Bartsch. He was commissioned to do this piece in celebration of Berlin’s 750-year history. Completed in 1987, it is called the “Ammonite Fountain”.
Here is some trivia about it from Mr Googles. The slate are excavated some six hundred metres underground from Fredeburg in Sauerland. They are then broken into pieces that follows precise dimensions specified by the artist. Supplemented with bronze sculptures, the seemingly random pieces are then arranged stylistically. And the rest is history . . . . .
Apparently, he was dismayed by the modern facades of downtown Berlin and wanted something more natural . . . . . I have to hold my tongue here before I say something I am going to regret. I think it is still . . . . meh.