IN COLLABORATION WITH BARTEL MEYER
It was twenty years after the fall of the wall when they were first seen on the rooftops of Berlin: eight winged beings. They embodied the fates of individuals from the time the Berlin Wall was built. Their stories were told to the people on the ground by curious angel experts and through installations: images which went round the world on 9 November 2009. A new version of the project was created for the opening of the European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010 in Essen, as well as versions in England and Spain. Theater Anu and Bartel Meyer will research new stories for particular places and events; the angels appear as figures of recollection and remembrance at each new site.
Show us your cities and we will show you your angels…
The return of the angels
Once they were people, their fates closely tied to the places they have now returned to – as angels. Now they stand here, figures of remembrance whose histories refuse to be forgotten. They linger high above us on the rooftops, observing the world and how it has changed. On the street below two eccentric characters appear. One has a pram full of spyglasses which she gives passers by to look through, telling them the stories of the winged beings. The other listens to the angel’s voices along with members of the public. These hours are filled with amazing encounters. The angels are back.
A site-specific, theatrical installation by Theater Anu and Bartel Meyer.
The angels appear three times each day the production is performed, for 45 to 60 minutes each time.
Background Information on the Theatrical Installation
They suddenly sit there
Wings spread wide
Up above on roofs and balconies
The make us witnesses of their grace,
Of their beauty,
And their calm.
Their gaze falls on us;
Is held. Silent dialogue.
A moment of happiness.
And when you return
You can say
I met an angel today.
Angels above Berlin
9 November 2009. Eight angels appear on the rooftops along the former path of the Berlin wall: eight stories of people whose destinies were inextricably linked to the wall’s construction in 1961, and who did not live to experience reunification personally. A bride who had to get married without her parents present, or a pensioner who continually replanted a sapling in his garden till he found the best spot to dig a tunnel. Now, twenty years since the wall came down, they have returned to see what has become of the once-divided city. A poetic image for a peaceful reunion.
Angels above the Zollverein
9 January 2010. The opening celebrations of the European Capital of Culture at the UNESCO world heritage site, the Zollverein, a former colliery in Essen.
The angels appear on the black face of the coking plant. They represent stories from former miners’ lives over the previous hundred years: a canary breeder who only discovered his love of the birds in the mine, where they were brought to test the oxygen levels; an Italian migrant worker who got lucky down the pit; a miner’s wife who worried for her husband’s safety every time he came home late…
The angel ensemble changes according to the project. Further information at www.land-der-engel.de
“I hope and wish that as many people as possible experience this gentle, unsensational performance and remember the era of the wall, when only the sky above Berlin remained undivided.”
Wolfgang Thierse, vice president of the Bundestag and patron of Angels above Berlin
“Yesterday I was one of the many visitors to the festival of reunification. The moment when I saw the angels was simply magical. I broke out in goose pimples and tears rose to my eyes. I was simply fascinated. They held me in their spell. What a great idea! I hope we’ll meet again soon. Thank you for this moment.”
a visitor from Berlin
Images of the angels went round the world on 9 November 2009. They appeared on the covers of countless newspapers in Germany and abroad as a poetic image for reunification.
France Info stated: “The Angels above Berlin are the most beautiful, coherent image at this 20-year aniversary for the end of the wall.” | 9 November 2009
The Berliner Morgenpost went with the headline “Angels watch over the city” | 10 November 2009
“As if Walter Benjamin’s ‘angel of history’ had alighted in Berlin.”
Die Welt| 10 November 2009