GERMANY – Being one of the most diverse and culturally flourishing countries in Europe, Germany has become a popular destination for artists originating from every edge of the world. Each of its cities is poise for an art form; Berlin’s contemporary art scene, Düsseldorf’s postmodernism and Saxony’s famous hub of design and architecture. These words will form the guiding hand you need to hold as you plan your next train to the center of aesthetic canons in progress. This is my takeover on art in Germany through my eyes. 

Frank Gehry Buildings – Neuer Zollhof, Düsseldorf:

The Frank Gehry Buildings, image courtesy of lifeinanalogue and

Situated along the Rhine River, Düsseldorf is one of Germany’s fastest-growing industrial cities. The headquarters of many transnational companies are located there, such as Fortune Global 500. Most of the infrastructure comprises of post-modern architecture, making it a city that celebrates deconstructionist style. One of the NRW’s architectural landmarks is the Gehry building at Neuer Zollhof, which is part of a renovated port. The three conjoined buildings have a similar structure to that of leaning towers. 

K21 Museum – Ständehausstrasse, Düsseldorf:

Tomás Saraceno, In Orbit, as seen at the K21 Museum, courtesy of museum website.

During my short yet unforgettable stay in Düsseldorf last winter, I was constantly advised to check out the K21 Ständehaus in the central area. For those interested in the development of independent, performative and interactive art, this is the place for you. At the last floor of the Museum, you can find a permanent installation by Tomás Saraceno called In-Orbit. It is made up of transparent inflated spheres hung within a firmly placed net structure, and is 25 meters high from the ground floor. Everyone is welcome to move around freely between the spheres. 

Akram Zaatari, To Retouch, Pigment inkjet print on Photo Rag Hahnemuehle paper, 100 x 150 cm, 2017.

Among Middle Eastern artists who participated in exhibitions at the K21 is Akram Zaatari, a Lebanese visual creator and the founder of the Arab Image Foundation. Zaatari tells his stories through photos and how their perception, form and characteristics change with time. He sparks a necessary conversation about the political division and conflict happening in The Middle East through his films and video installations. Through this medium he teaches us that the constantly shifting social environment affects the way we comprehend photography. 

The venue is also a part of the K20, which is located about ten minutes away. Its spacious exhibition halls are an invitation for contemporary artists worldwide to freely set up their installations.

Museum der bildenden Künste (MdbK) – Katharinenstrasse, Leipzig: 

Views from the Leonardo War Nie In Leipzig exhibition at the MdbK, courtesy of lifeinanalogue.

Moving onto Saxony on the East side of Germany, I revisited the MdbK last week for a one of a kind reinterpretation of Leonardo DaVinci‘s collection titled: Leonardo War Nie In Leipzig (Leonardo was never in Leipzig). The event was led by scholars who have been studying Renaissance art for years, and showed spectators how other artists from our time understand Da Vinci‘s work. 

Views from the Leonardo War Nie In Leipzig exhibition at the MdbK, courtesy of lifeinanalogue.

What I personally loved about this showcasing was that it directed the focus onto his scientific sketches, and showed the side of him that went deep into neuroanatomy and mathematics. The Vitruvian Man came to light once again, so we could be reminded that Da Vinci contributed to many scientific revolutions and inventions. The Mona Lisa was also replicated using a harsher tone of oil paint by artist Jochen Plogties; a Leipzig-based painter who founded the Baumwollspinnerei, a respected art space in the city. 

The MdbK takes pride in German Romanticism, which is why as you walk its halls and climb up its stairs, you will be lead onto an excursion of paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. Art collectors based here in the 1800’s were fond of Dutch art, which is characterised by marine subjects, sailing ships, and life at sea. You can also get a taste of the Classism age and the bourgeois era through sculptures such as Damnation by Balthasar Permoser

The Panometer – Richard Lehmann Strasse, Leipzig:

Views from Carlos Garten courtesy of lifeinanalogue

This one of a kind dome is a mystery to discover, but will absolutely fascinate you. The Panometer is a 360 degrees designed building, showing you a panoramic view of exhibitions at a height of 32 meters. Starting from January and running through summer, artist Yadegar Asisi put Carolas Garten on display. Carolas Garten talks about Carola, one of the Panometer‘s most beloved co-workers, who passed away back in 2015. As a tribute to her, Asisi decided to go to the garden in her house that she looked after during her lifetime, and turned it into a world of magic for visitors to wonder at. The Panometer is immersed with photos of flowers, bees, and watercolour paintings made by Asisi himself derived from his observations.  Once you enter the main dome, you immediately blend into a part of Carola‘s life routine, with sounds of birds and the clutter of plants in the background. I found it to be a touching experience that beautifully showcased how human relationships can be translated. 

Berlinische Galerie – Moritzplatz, Berlin:

Scenes from the Lotte Laserstein exhibition, courtesy of lifeinanalogue.

Heading back to the West means walking through the alley of Germany’s political past. Berlin has always been one of my favorite cities, because it witnessed a number of social revolutions and massive changes that made it the cultural melting pot it is today. One of its must-see destinations is the Berlinische Galerie. It is technically a mix of recurring exhibitions, modern art, landscape photography and classical portraits from the Weimar Republic. However, this month’s theme caught my eye the most, and made me wonder how frequently we need to be reminded of certain European art icons. That would be, for me, Lotte Laserstein

Scenes from the Lotte Laserstein exhibition, courtesy of lifeinanalogue.

Born in 1898 in Poland, Laserstein was half-Jewish. She studied at the Berlin Art Academy, a few years after women were allowed to enroll. The 1920’s were the time of the New Woman; when women started favoring more practical attire, and adopting a masculine aesthetic. It was empowering, and she never failed at making just that her core interest. Later in the 1940s, she immigrated to Sweden during the emergence of Nationalism. Her paintings started to sway in terms of color scheme, facial expressions and lighting. She captured the little dialogues friends, family and even strangers would have about the social situation, political predictions and opinions. The personas she represents in her work are mostly female, or aiming to shed light on the female concerned. 

Museum Ludwig – Cologne:

Views from Museum Ludwig, courtesy of museum website.

Across its federal states, there is an abundance of discoveries yet to be made. North-Rhine Westfalia is known to be one of the youngest areas in Germany, with 2.24 million students scattered around Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn and Dortmund.

Museum Ludwig lies just minutes away from the star of historical Gothic architecture, The Cologne Cathedral. It is a house of modern art, with the work of Warhol, Dali and Lichtenstein on display.

The Hamburger Kunsthalle – Hamburg:

Interior views of the venue, courtesy of official website.

If you happen to be in Hamburg, The Hamburger Kunsthalle turns 150 this year and is celebrating it with a festival called The Video is A Message. It talks about the foundation of the Hamburger Kunsthalle and an aggregation of all the installations and works it ever held. If Rembrandt is a favorite of yours too, you might consider stopping by on August the 13th for a Dutch visit to one of the oldest museums in Germany. 

The Pinakothek der Moderne – Munich:

Interior views of gallery, courtesy of their official website.

When you stop by Bavaria, The Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich located in the city center offers a diverse range of 25,000 Bavarian paintings. It is also part of a series of museums consisting of The New Pinakothek, The Old Pinakothek, The Schack Collectionand the Brandhorst Museum. 

These spectacular galleries were only pieces of stories that Germany told me from train to train. My takeover here was merely my own envisioning of my journey across the country. As a student abroad, it is only expected to be incredibly eager to see all Europe has to offer. One of the most interesting realizations I’ve come to was that every city establishes an instant communication with visitors, and introduces itself differently. That is where the greatness of it all lies. 

Zina Qabbani (lifeinanalogue)

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All images courtesy of Qabbani except where indicated in captions.