Rituals of Disappearance—the huge mural at the entrance of the legendary temple of techno, the Berghain club in Berlin—has been dissembled to make way for renovations, and the artist who created it, Piotr Nathan, is selling off the artwork one square at a time to ensure no one will ever own the complete work again.
From today and until April 17, the individual squares of Rituals of Disappearance can be bought via a website conceived by Nathan and set up by Berghain, at €500 ($538) a pop.
Given the history and cult status of Berghain, it is safe to assume that Rituals of Disappearance (2004) will be snapped up very quickly. 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.
“The work Rituals of Disappearance 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,” said Nathan in an statement.
“To me it is therefore conclusive to dissolve the work and distribute it primarily among the people who have a connection with the Berghain. The work as a whole is constructed of single plates and will be dissolved and sold in fragments.”
The work was inaugurated at Berghain’s official opening in 2004 with a performance by German actress Inga Busch.
The black-and-white drawing depicts a fantasy landscape of stormy waters and other powerful forces of nature, 16 feet high and 82 feet wide. Made up of 171 lacquered square aluminum panels, the mural was hung with small gaps between the panels, fragmenting the drawing. Over the years, some of the panels were further fragmented as sweat from the bodies of club-goers leaning against it slowly eroded some of the details.
“As with a puzzle, the single panels [together] form a panoramic scenario of four natural phenomena: a volcanic eruption, a desert storm with sand tornadoes, a sea storm with water tornadoes and the rising of northern lights above a nocturnally resting village,” Nathan explained. “The sequence of motives creates the work’s narrative.”
The exciting news also brings another question with it—what will replace the now-iconic piece?
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