Angels in Berlin - Der Himmel über Berlin

Let's join Sergey as he shows us his illustrations of the angels who watch over the city of Berlin. Come take a look!

Published by Sergey on 29/01/2018

My Berlin story started 8 years ago. I was still studying journalism in Saint-Petersburg, making my first attempts of individual travel and suddenly bought tickets for a U2 show in Helsinki. I never was a fan of the band, but the show was sold out for quite a while and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see it.

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This is how I ended up in the cabin of a ferry boat between Helsinki and Stockholm listening to 'Achtung Baby' on my iPod for the fifth time in a row. I got obsessed with the album and after some home-googling, I discovered that it was recorded in Berlin and that it is also a bit about Berlin, Zoo Station and One (but I guess the interpretations would be a story for another article).

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U2 and their Berlin videos became my window to the visual world of the greyish, black-and-white West Berlin by Wim Wenders. His magnum opus about Berlin - Der Himmel über Berlin or Wings of Desire - came out in the end of October of 1987. Berlin was still separated at that time.

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Image courtesy (screenshot) of the movie 'Der Himmel über Berlin or Wings of Desire'

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When I came here for the first time, I was travelling through the city with locals and asked them to show me the places from the movie. Some of them haven’t changed a lot, some of them changed completely and proofing that the places really were the movie’s locations was worth a separate research.

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Image courtesy (screenshot) of the movie 'Der Himmel über Berlin or Wings of Desire'

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My story about Berlin and its Himmel (the sky) continued last year. We have left Bucharest, which gave me a big creative punch (check my visual notes from my time there in the Issue #2 of A City Made By People) to live here in Berlin. Our exhausting searches for a flat gave us an opportunity to discover the city and it was here and there that I found the places of the movie.

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A City Made By People Berlin Angels Illustration 10

Image courtesy (screenshot) of the movie 'Der Himmel über Berlin or Wings of Desire'

That’s why on one grey and gloomy day, when not-new Berliners, such as I am, complain about the weather and dream about spending months of winter somewhere in Sicily or Bali, I took my camera with me and went to the city to find the traces of the dark and poetic city from Wenders’ movie.

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In result, I got a series of pictures of modern Berlin, where my pen brought back the heroes of the eternal story about angels and love. As you can see - Berlin changed, but its soul stayed the same, and somebody will still say somewhere about time «when the child was a child, it walked with its arms swinging. It wanted the stream to be a river, the river a torrent, and this puddle to be the sea. When the child was a child, it didn't know it was a child. Everything was full of life, and all life was one. When the child was a child, it had no opinion about anything, no habits. It often sat cross-legged, took off running, had a cowlick in its hair, and didn't make faces when photographed.»

Words & Illustrations by Sergey Poliakov

Want to keep up with Sergey and his wonderful illustrations? Check out Issue 2 of A City Made By People, your perfect coffee date for that café around the corner!

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