What do you see?

On the way to the station, we walk past this monument almost every day in Berlin. Located on Olof Palme Platz, right outside the aquarium, it is a most curious thing. The first day we saw it, we figured public road works have something to answer for here. They forgot to clean up after themselves when they finished digging up the road. Or maybe it is still going and they forgot to cordon off the area. Or maybe it is a protest and they left it in front of the aquarium. Whichever it is, we really, really thought it was rubble.


Then we realized we were wrong. This was actually a sculpture, a work of art!! The man of course still insists that it is rubble but what does he know. So, to remedy the situation, he had to go look it up for us. And apparently it was not the easiest thing to google. But in the end, we did find out 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”!

Made up of slate, they are specially 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 into what you see before you. Apparently, he was dismayed by the modern facades of downtown Berlin and wanted something more natural. After looking at it a few more times, we still can’t get on the same page as Mr Bartsch. And I guess, the council putting those two orange bins next to it really just ruins it altogether!

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