Baselitz, Immendorf, Polke, Richter – the names of Germany’s greatest contemporary painters, written in black paint on the concrete wall of an inspection chamber by a pedestrian bridge crossing a massive entanglement of S-Bahn tracks in Berlin’s Wedding district. Two of the names crossed out, in bright if thinly applied orange spray paint…
Apparently the orange paint was not applied by the same person who wrote the names. Even if the names look oddly out of place on that bridge there’s probably a simple reason for their existence, maybe an alcohol-infused art lover put them there on his way to Mauerpark, but with the names of the two already deceased artists crossed out it looks like a to-do list created by some assassin (or even by Death himself?), and that is just as freaky as the question the sight inevitably imposes on the viewer: who’s next, Baselitz or Richter?
And: should we warn them?
Maybe Baselitz and Richter can escape their fate if they start to make sculpture – after all, the name of Günther Uecker is not on the list. And maybe that list holds the key to another mystery: the mystery of the lack of great German painters of the younger generation. Maybe the young ones know about the list and deliberately sacrifice the chance to become great painters in order not to end up on that list. They will not be famous, but this will save them from death. But then, they also sacrifice the chance to become immortalized. Because this is what happens with great painters like Baselitz and Richter. Even if only on a bridge in the middle of nowhere in Berlin.