The lure of pre-war Berlin

25 August 2008

The lurid colours, the florescents greens and glowing pinks, the sickly yellows and shining blacks of Kirchner’s prostitutes grip you in the gallery, inviting you into their world of sensuality and sin, as slidy-eyed men glance at them askance with desire in the street. We are in pre-war Berlin, a place now that is a metaphor for that anything-goes-feeling when a fascist apocalypse is just around the corner. Ernest Kirchner’s paintings, woodcuts, lithographs, sketches were a revelation to me up close, totally intense, with an amazing sense of the female nude amidst the harsh shapes of Berlin, the tram tracks, the workshops, the heaving streets, the sad rivers and back alleys. (’

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