Boros Collection: Art in a German Bunker | Berlin
After spending six hours in Oslo, I arrived to Berlin on Saturday night completely exhausted. After sleeping a good 10 hours, I awoke early the next morning to eagerly visit the Boros Collection, a private collection of contemporary art located in the Mitte district of Berlin.
Founded by art collector Christian Boros, the collection has become immensely popular since it opened in 2008, and typically requires a two-month wait for a reservation time, as only 12 people are allowed into the building every 30 minutes. I got lucky this time around because in honor of Berlin Art Week, the Boros Collection was open to the public without a reservation! So naturally, I used my jet lag to my advantage and arrived before anyone else at 10am to beat the line.
Boros Collection History
What makes the Boros Collection so special and unique is that it is housed in a real, pre-war German bunker, with 5-foot thick concrete walls built to withstand explosives. It’s literally a fortress. The history behind the building is multifarious. Constructed in 1942 as a bomb shelter for civilians, the bunker was built entirely through use of forced labor. After the war, it became a facility to store imported fruit from Cuba, and became known as the “banana bunker.” In 1990, the building was taken back by the reunited German government, and just two short years later, the bunker became the host of numerous techno and fetish parties – earning itself a reputation as the hardest club in the world. One erotic trade fair and one independent art exhibition later, the bunker was finally purchased by Boros in 2003. Since then, Boros has built a glass penthouse on top of the bunker as his private residence.
Inside the Boros Collection
An old telephone still rests of the wall of the bunker near its main entrance:
The most famous work of the collection by Danh Vo:
A work by Tomás Saraceno:
An old photograph of the bunker hangs amongst the artwork:
An oversized work by Michael Sailstorfer:
Rauchen Verboten, meaning “No Smoking” is mysteriously written on many of the walls.
Finally reaching the end of the collection, I found mirrored furniture in a small reading room:
At the end of my ascent though the five levels of artwork, I walked back down the creepy, concrete staircase:
The Boros Collection is likely my favorite private art collection that I’ve ever visited, so of course, I do highly recommend checking it out if you find yourself planning a trip to Berlin! Many of the works in this showing of the collection were spatially related, meaning they depended on the space itself to exist. It’s certainly an interesting collection where many themes can be found.
Plan Your Visit to the Boros Collection
As I said earlier, try to reserve your space two months ahead of time as this place books up fast! Tours are offered from Thursday to Sunday and on the half-hour in English. The entry fee is 12 euros, 6 euros reduced student rate.
Bunker, Reinhardtstr. 20