Russian illegal prison on IZOLYATSIA premises has been operational for 10 years.

Hanging Posters Is Forbidden

23 November 2013 — 26 January 2014

Building’s walls are keeping silence. One cannot see through walls, passer doesn’t notice that walls stand with their back to him, he doesn’t see well known walls at all. On the contrary, the poster on the wall screams for attention, it wants to be a surprising flash of something new on the routine way of the passer. However, it's just how things exist in the idealistic imagination of marketing executives. In practice, posters have rather humble existence in the city: they hang in specially assigned places for a week or so, looking jealously at huge billboards, not surprising anyone and, indeed, not attracting any attention by their trivial looks. 

In this sense Berlin considerably differs from other German cities. In Berlin and in the whole Europe as well, one cannot glue posters without permission, and everybody usually follows this rule. But there's one exception – Berlin's district  Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg-Neukölln, where creative, anarchist and hipster public lives, where there are a lot of cafes, clubs and concert halls with a lot of tourists from all over Europe coming there every weekend to dance and hang out on the isle of freedom. This is the place where the paradise of unlicensed poster-gluing blossoms. People glue posters on walls, fences, trailers for builders, columns, big grey boxes with a lot of telephone wires and jacks. When there appears a new object on the sidewalk, let us say old washing machine, next day its sides are covered with techno party posters. This happens only on ant trails of hipsters looking for entertainment. 

On this trails there are places where legal posters are glued, they also want to be noticed. So many posters are placed in the legal zone as well as in the illegal. Self made posters and flyers (favorite technique is black and white copy) are glued everywhere, passers tear them off, make graffiti, stick street art works on them. So there is kind of unique atmosphere of radical orgy of graphic design and anti-design. Along the leading to the popular clubs streets the layer of posters updates several times during the day. The new person glues up old posters which were there just in the beginning of the day. Then the previous person comes and sees that his posters are glued up and sticks his posters again. The layer of paper on the columns and walls grows very quickly. The poster should be glued over and over again in order to stay at list for some time on its place. 

Andrey Gorokhov is curator of the exhibition Hanging Posters Is Forbidden. He tore off posters from walls in Berlin during the 2013 and has created a large collection. There are posters about concerts and posters which are announcing release of new CDs; posters which are calling to dance; theatre, cinema and exhibition posters also. The shock moments of the exhibition are posters of FAVE RAVE parties. There are also 16 original serigraphs of Berlin gallery Bongout and the wall which is glued over with hundreds of stickers.

One could hardly speak about one graphic style, but there are some trends there, for example, trend of faint posters, which don't attract any attention at all (maybe it's a feature of hipster's timidity). There are minimalistic posters, posters only with text without any pictures. Punk posters create their own niche. And there are also many posters made by people who, as it seems, have no any idea of graphic design and without any will to have it. Despite all this, Berlin's posters one really could perceive as a whole thing, as wildness, as display of people's initiative.

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