“Visitors to the German capital over recent days may well have felt transported back to the heady weeks following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then, amid icy winds, blizzards and an inimitable spirit of euphoria, 117 artists from 21 countries gathered to paint works on a 1.3km (1,420yd) stretch of the concrete divide that had previously been out of bounds in the communist east.
“Twenty years on, most are back at the East Side Gallery (a 1.3km section of the Wall), poised on ladders, paint brushes in hand, to re-create their often provocative images – remember Birgit Kinder’s Trabant bursting through the Wall? – and to give the gallery a much-needed makeover.
“Their crumbling paintings look as though they have been attacked with acid, thanks to the weather and the traffic that thunders past the world’s largest outdoor gallery. There’s also the graffiti by tourists keen to leave their mark. This time around, more durable paints are being used and the murals will be protected with anti-graffiti spray.
“Dimitri Vrubel, the Russian who reproduced the passionate kiss – an expression of Soviet-era brotherhood between the Soviet dictator, Leonid Brezhnev, and his East German counterpart, Erich Honecker, is back on site, protected by a steel fence…”