Boros Collection: Art in a German Bunker | Berlin

My visit to a former German Bunker turned Art MuseumWhere to See an Art Collection inside a BunkerA Visit to the Boros Collection 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.

Sammlung Boros Bunker, Berlin, Germany

Inside the Boros Collection

An old telephone still rests of the wall of the bunker near its main entrance:

Telephone near entrance of the Boros Collection in Berlin

Works Boros Collection

Works Boros Collection

The most famous work of the collection by Danh Vo:

Danh Vo, Boros Collection

A work by Tomás Saraceno:

Tomás Saraceno Work at the Boros Collection in Berlin

An old photograph of the bunker hangs amongst the artwork:

Photograph of the old Bunker, Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

Boros Collection Popcorn Room

An oversized work by Michael Sailstorfer:

Michael Sailstorfer, Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

Rauchen Verboten, meaning “No Smoking” is mysteriously written on many of the walls.

Boros Collection

Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany

Finally reaching the end of the collection, I found mirrored furniture in a small reading room:

Reading Room Collection Boros, Berlin

Reading Room Collection Boros, Berlin

At the end of my ascent though the five levels of artwork, I walked back down the creepy, concrete staircase:

Boros Collection Staircase, Berlin Private Art Collections

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.

Sammlung Boros
Bunker, Reinhardtstr. 20
10117 Berlin-Mitte

September 27, 2015

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I’m an American photographer and writer based in Paris after living in New York for 7 years and then and spending a year and a half traveling. My work has been featured by the Paris and Nice Tourism Offices, Art Basel, and Refinery 29. Culture Passport is a place to share my travels and experiences in new places, with a focus on cultural attractions.

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