You can imagine my joy, as earlier in the year I saw the poster for the exhibition “Tanz auf dem Vulkan“, advertised at Alexanderplatz U-Bahn station. The exhibition promises to show the Berlin of the Roaring Twenties, or as they are called in German, die Goldene Zwanziger (The Golden Twenties) as reflected into the arts of the time.
Although I’m fascinated with all things Berlin old and new, nothing beats the attraction of Weimar Berlin, the most electric, exciting and contradictory decade in modern history.
The exhibition takes its title from a Berlin film production from 1938, but it also perfectly describes, as the museum states, the mood of the 1920s: a period between monarchy and dictatorship (without forgetting the 1918-1919 revolution), of poverty and luxury, and between war and peace. It was a period of excesses and cultural diversity, that is today romanticised. I could go on and on but let’s focus on the exhibition!
The exhibition is on two floors of the beautiful Ephraim-Palais. I went on a rainy Sunday and had to wait in line for about 5-10 minutes as the museum was full. It was definitely worth the short wait, and it was actually not overcrowded at all.
The good news is that each room has a different theme and the rooms are all independent of each other, so you can enjoy the lesser visited areas should they get overcrowded.
The themes of the rooms vary, from the 1918-19 revolution to prostitution, architecture and innovation to fashion, from circus to revue shows, flappers and finally what brought the Weimar era to an end. So there’s something for everyone, whether you’re into history, fashion, art, entertainment or politics!
Featured artists include George Grosz, Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz, Bruno Böttger-Steglitz (whose sad and intense work I really enjoyed), Max Grünthal as well as Max Beckmann and lots more.
The exhibition is well organised and easy to navigate, and with lots of useful information (in both German and English).
Some of my favourite parts have been the circus and revue rooms , full of colourful posters. It doesn’t get much better than this if you’re a fan of vintage poster art. Also as I arrived on the second floor, my sense have been overwhelmed by beauty: music is playing, there are beautiful posters and illustrations, shoes to die for are displayed, as well as beautifully preserved sparkly dresses. I guess that must have been the feeling of entering a Berlin dance hall for the first time! The prostitution-themed room was also fun, complete with an erotica corner.
So, the verdict: I enjoyed this exhibition very very much, both the artwork and the artefacts. I wouldn’t describe it as less than EPIC! Allow yourself at least 2 hours to see everything. You can’t miss it if you are in Berlin, and I would strongly recommend visiting Berlin between now and January for this alone.
You could also combine it with one of our vintage tours (still taking place in the winter) with our special vintage shopping tips, as well as attending one of many retro and vintage events our city has to offer.
Have you been to the exhibition? What did you think? We’d love to read your comments!!
Now for the nitty gritty:
Until next time…
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