East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is an international memorial for freedom. It is a 1.3 km long section of the Berlin Wall located near the centre of Berlin on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The Gallery consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. The East Side Gallery was founded following the successful merger of the two German artists' associations VBK and BBK. The founding members were the speche of the Federal Association of Artists BBK Bodo Sperling, Barbara Greul Aschanta, Jörg Kubitzki and David Monti. It is possibly the largest and longest-lasting open air gallery in the world. Paintings from Jürgen Grosse alias INDIANO, Dimitri Vrubel, Siegfrid Santoni, Bodo Sperling, Kasra Alavi, Kani Alavi, Jim Avignon, Thierry Noir, Ingeborg Blumenthal, Ignasi Blanch i Gisbert, Kim Prisu, Hervé Morlay VR and others have followed. The paintings at the East Side Gallery document the time of change and express the euphoria and great hopes for a better and free future for all people of the world. In July 2006, to facilitate access to the River Spree from O2 World, a 40 meter section was moved somewhat west, parallel to the original position
Two-thirds of the paintings are badly damaged by erosion, graffiti, and vandalism. One-third have been restored by a non-profit organization which started work in 2000. The objective of this organization is the eventual restoration and preservation of all the paintings. Full restoration, particularly of the central sections, was projected for 2008. Remediation began in May 2009.
The restoration process has been marked by major conflict. Eight of the artists of 1990 refused to paint their own images again after they were completely destroyed by the renovation. In order to defend the copyright, they founded "Founder Initiative East Side" with other artists whose images were simply copied without permission. Bodo Sperling launched a test case in the Berlin State Court in May 2011, represented by the Munich art lawyer Hannes Hartung and with the support of the German VG Bild-Kunst. The Court will address the question of whether art should be listed as destroyed and then re-copied without the respective artists' permission. The outcome of the trial will be a landmark declaration for European art law.