Press Release

Press Release | Berlin, 10/01/2018

‘BAU X KUNST’: Bertelsmann and Berlin Underground Builders Transform U5 Station into Underground Gallery

  • Large-format oil paintings by the plein-air painter Christopher Lehmpfuhl document the complete construction cycle of the Humboldt Forum
  • Free admission to the exhibition in the future underground station “Unter den Linden” on two “Open Construction Site Days” at the end of October

The international media company Bertelsmann and Projektgesellschaft U5, the project company responsible for the construction of the subway, are transforming Berlin’s future junction station “Unter den Linden” into an underground gallery. On October 27 and 28, under the heading “BAU X KUNST,” large-format works by the Berlin-based plein-air painter Christopher Lehmpfuhl will be on display, dedicated to the spectacular construction activities on nearby Schlossplatz: Over a period of ten years, Lehmpfuhl documented first the demolition of the former Palace of the Republic, and then the gradual reconstruction of the Berlin Palace including the Humboldt Forum. Several of his paintings were created on the rooftop of Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1. Lehmpfuhl’s open-air paintings will now make their public underground debut for a short time. The already well-advanced underground station “Unter den Linden” will be open to the public during the exhibition. Besides art, the two “Open Construction Site Days” will feature information on six years of underground construction, as well as insights into the tunnel and the three-story construction built by the project company U5 on behalf of the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG, Berlin Transport Authority).

Christopher Lehmpfuhl, who has accompanied Berlin’s transformation in his art over the decades, has also been following the major architectural changes at Schlossplatz since 2008, producing more than a hundred expressionist oil paintings of the various construction phases to date. 37 works from the cycle “Schlossplatz im Wandel,” from the artist’s as well as a private collection, will now be exhibited in an unusual setting. Bertelsmann has supported Lehmpfuhl’s creative work for many years, repeatedly letting the artist use the rooftop of Unter den Linden 1 as a studio “en plein air.” Bertelsmann’s Berlin premises are located around 200 meters from the new underground station “Unter den Linden”; it is also located directly above the most technically demanding construction site of the U5 line, the future “Museumsinsel” U-Bahn station.

The cooperation between Bertelsmann and the project company U5 was born of the residents’ dialog. It has resulted in a further highlight in the calendar of the Berlin art scene, which is currently being redefined by the many exciting building projects in the historic city center.

Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe commented: “Bertelsmann stands for creativity and constantly teams up with creative people for cultural projects in the fields of literature, film, music and art. Christopher Lehmpfuhl has documented the transformation of Berlin in general, and Schlossplatz in particular, like no other painter. I hold him in very high regard and am delighted that we are able to offer his art such an extraordinary stage.”

Sigrid Nikutta, BVG’s Chairwoman of the Management Board and Operations, added: “At our ‘Unter den Linden’ junction station, we expect more than 50,000 passengers a day will board, change, and disembark from the U5 and U6 trains starting at the end of 2020. I’m very pleased that even at the construction stage, this underground station can already offer a highlight like ‘BAU X KUNST’.”

The U5 gap closure is an elaborate and complex construction project right across the center of Berlin. Two new traffic junctions are being built along lively Unter den Linden boulevard: the junction station by the same name and the “Museumsinsel” (Museum Island) station. On home stretch, before the stations commence operations at the end of 2020, the public is to be given a one-off opportunity to view the progress of construction at the Unter den Linden underground station. The photographer Antonio Reetz-Graudenz was commissioned by the U5 project company to capture the various construction phases on camera over the years; his photos will also be shown at “BAU X KUNST.”

Bertelsmann has for years been engaged in a variety of cultural initiatives both in Germany and internationally. The Group’s “Culture@Bertelsmann”  activities comprise exhibitions, readings and concerts, the “Blue Sofa” literary format, as well as a commitment to preserving Europe’s cultural heritage. For instance, Bertelsmann owns the Archivio Storico Ricordi  in Milan, a music archive that contains a wealth of unique testimonies to Italian opera history. As a company with a long cinematic history of its own, Bertelsmann also champions the restoration, digitization and screening of important silent films  .

BAU X KUNST – ‘Open Construction Site Days’

When: October 27th/28th, 2018
Where: Future U-Bahn station Unter den Linden
Entrance: Unter den Linden / Friedrichstrasse
Event host: Projektrealisierungs GmbH U5, Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA
Artist: Open-air painter Christopher Lehmpfuhl
Photographer Antonio Reetz-Graudenz
Lenders: Artist; Würth Collection
Opening hours: October 27, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
October 28, 2018, 09:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Note: Access is free, but not accessible for people with disabilities.

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 119,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.2 billion in the 2017 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for entrepreneurship and creativity. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world.

About Projektrealisierungs GmbH U5:
The U5 project company is an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary of Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). It was founded in 2014 as a GmbH (limited liability company) with the purpose of successfully carrying out the “gap closure U5” project. The “gap closure U5” merges the U5 (U Hönow <> S+U Alexanderplatz) with the U55 (S+U Brandenburger Tor <> S+U Hauptbahnhof) opened in 2009. The large-scale project comprises 2.2 kilometers of tunnels and three new underground stations between Alexanderplatz and Brandenburger Tor: Rotes Rathaus, Museumsinsel, and Unter den Linden. The entire line is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2020. Passengers on the extended U5 underground line will then be able to travel directly all the way from Hauptbahnhof to Hönow.