In the Vorona Gallery in Charlottenburg, the Berlin artist Andreas Geißel presents his exhibition entitled "Heaven over Berlin", in which he shows paintings from 1989 and 2023.
In his works, Geißel reworks Berlin's history, especially the history of division, separation, longing and change. This exhibition serves as both a dialogue with Wim Wenders' famous film "The Sky Over Berlin" and a narrative of Geißel's personal story.
Andreas Geißel, who was born in Berlin in 1955, comes from a family that was separated by the Berlin Wall in 1961. Even at a young age, his West Berlin grandfather encouraged him to be artistic and praised his drawings. When Geißel was six years old, his grandparents remained behind the wall in the western part of the city and he was never allowed to visit them again. Despite his talent, he was unable to exhibit in galleries because he was not accepted into the artists' association due to his oppositional stance.
Even if he had been accepted, his art would not have corresponded to the ideals of socialist realism. Geißel's 1989 paintings could be described as political surrealism as they depict the Berlin Wall as part of the landscape, surrounded by wasteland and a multitude of surveillance antennas (see "Ballooner" appendix). However, they also radiate hope as the wind blows from the west and two balloons float over the wall.
Geißel sold his paintings on the street, mostly to diplomats and a few tourists from the West, which increased his desire to move to West Berlin. His application to leave the country was rejected several times until he finally received permission shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The exhibition "Sky over Berlin" is of a personal nature.
The Berlin city views from 1989 before the fall of the Wall and from 2023 are not only two different cities, but seem like two different worlds.
The paintings from 2023 are in an impressionist style and show the city in different moods - sometimes permeated by the humidity of the morning mist, sometimes by the sunlight of dawn. This city appears lively, joyful and free (see "Brandenburg Gate").