Brooklyn Bridge makeover

These German born artists have literally shaken up the US through their art these last couple of months. Wermke and Leinkauf focus on urban environment through performances, this is all captured and exhibited by video installations. 

Cover image:Photo courtesy of Iris Ranzinge

They also do some dangerously risky stuff.

 

Wermke and Leinkauf’s similar upbringing in East Berlin and hunger for a rich graffiti scene brought them together. With Wermke having studied Fine Art and Leinnkauf having pursued Film Studies the two make a dynamic duo. But dynamic duos aren’t anything new, Gilbert and George, D&G, Bonnie and Clyde etc. What makes these two different are the daredevil techniques employed to capture the niche beauty of public space that grab the public eye. That and sometimes you cannot avoid Wermke swinging from an architectural landmark.

Photo courtesy of Wermke and Leinkauf 

The duo have often been referenced to Philippe Petit. The tightrope daredevil who graciously walked between the Twin Towers in 1974. Coincidently Petit is stated to be one of the duos early inspirations.

In the late hours of July 21st the artists replaced the iconic American flags of the Brooklyn Bridge for white replicas. The following morning the work of art was spotted by commuters and hell broke lose. Some were speculating potential terrorist threats and anti-americanist acts whilst others were debating whether Brooklyn had “finally surrendered to Manhattan”.

Photo courtesy of Wermke and Leinkauf and Wikimedia

Officials began their search for the mysterious culprits. The process included many discoveries. At one point a Californian based ‘pro-pot’ activist surrendered. The alleged culprit, “I came up with the idea. We’re trying to shake people up. Nobody else has the balls to do this,” claimed the member of the so-called POT Party (People Opposing Tyranny). It is safe to say Wermke and Leinkauf had different intentions.

Photo courtesy of Paul Martinka

Although the young artists often attract fans because of their reckless behaviour, it is important to establish what they are trying to achieve is not a collaboration of stunts but a collaboration of celebrations of beautiful public spaces brought together via video.

 

The Brooklyn Bridge was engineered by German born John Roebling, who recognised the beauty of public spaces. Wermke has spoken about Roebling who “moved to the States because he couldn’t realize his dreams here in Germany, and the bridge for us is a symbol of freedom and creative opportunity.” Roebling died on July 22nd, 1869. Wermke and Leinkauf intended for the flags to make an appearance on the 145th anniversary of his death.

 

To be honest they have offered us more of an explanation as to why they are pulling these stunts in the face of art than Philippe Petit. Petit when asked why he did Tightrope, responded with that there is no why in the face of art.  

 

The artists currently face an uncertain fate as to whether they will be able to ever return to the States.

Photo courtesy of Paul Martinka

Check out more of their work including Berlin metro stations and Japanesse skyscrapers at: http://www.wermke-leinkauf.com/en/