West Berlin at night:
“Yellow Wall”

Rainer Fetting (*1949)

Painting by Rainer Fetting, dispersion on canvas, 140 x 160 cm
© Rainer Fetting

The brushwork in this painting creates shallow planes. The dominant plane is the Berlin Wall in the lower half, glowing in vivid yellow with a narrow strip of green below. The Wall ends at a building. This and the housing alongside are purple with shining pink and yellow windows. The shimmering night sky is dark blue.

Rainer Fetting was still in the master class at the Hochschule der Künste (as the art college in West Berlin used to be called), when he and some fellow artists opened their Galerie am Moritzplatz in 1977. The “artists' self-help project” by the “Moritzboys” in Kreuzberg was the embryo of the Neue Wilde, whose boisterous paintings woke the art world with a start. It had been dominated up until then by Abstract and Minimal Art, but these new-fangled fauves wanted the very opposite – back to the object and expressive, emotional brushwork.

Fetting’s painting “Yellow Wall (Luckauer Straße / Sebastianstraße)” is one of a whole series featuring the Berlin Wall. It asserts its dominance here by stretching almost across the frame. At the same time, the unreal yellow hue deprives the Wall of its threat effect. It exudes a lurid glow against the night-blue sky. This Wall does not constrain the island city of West Berlin. It creates a protective space for the alternative lifestyles and social models confidently unfolding in its shadow.

Yellow Wall (Luckauer Straße / Sebastianstraße)
Emulsion on canvas
140 x 160 cm
Acquired with funds from the Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin by the Senate Department of Culture 2009

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