The 25-meter (82-foot) black and white mural installation by Piotr Nathan that lined the entryway of Berlin’s famous Berghain night club, was sold in individual pieces for $500 a pop. The 171 separate panels of the piece – with the rather self-fulfilling title of Rituals of Disappearance – were sold off one by one, and the progress of the installation disappearing was tracked on a website as the pieces were sold and removed, leaving behind an empty wall.
Since it was necessary for the artwork to be removed because of the upcoming renovations due to take place at the techno temple of Berghain, the artist who created it decided to sell it in fragments, ensuring that nobody could lay claim to owning to the full work. Nathan wants those who danced under the mural to own it, and for the lasting impression of the complete work to exist only in the minds of those who experienced it at the club.
Nathan commented in a statement: “The work is only to be fully understood in the context of the music at the club, the people who celebrate there, and the unique aura of the space.”
The mural, which was created in 2004, depicts a black and white landscape of storms, tornados, water and rural times; a mysterious representation of a natural phenomenon and an ancient connection to nature. It’s no surprise that given the cult status of Berghain – which is considered to be more of a institution than a club – the pieces, which only went on sale on March 17, have now sold out.
For the dedicated dancers of Berghain, opinions are split between the loss of having to bid farewell to an artwork symbolic of their weekend experience, and the excitement to see what new wonder might exist after the renovations. Watch this space!