The Knight Foundation

Dig into Dimensions Variable’s new space

By Anne Tschida

Dimensions Variable.

Berlin has become one of the world’s top art centers, a deserved place that it lost during some dark years in the 20th century. After the horrendous destruction and death of World War II and the debilitating years of the Iron Curtain, when the divided city sat east of the free world, a phoenix rose from the ashes. After 1989, artists from East and West flooded the city, finding affordable studios in buildings that carried incredible history, both good and bad, jump-starting what has become one of the most lively and progressive art scenes.

Erik Smith was one such artist who was drawn to the edgy excitement of Berlin, moving there in 2003. Anyone familiar with that city will know the bullet holes that still pepper some buildings, imprints from war that almost destroyed it; the remnants of the infamous wall; the new construction that constantly reveals much older constructions, from decades and centuries ago. Smith was captured by this, and began excavating a section of a dead-zone —the areas around what once was the Berlin Wall. With a shovel, he dug up an old spiral staircase, bringing back to life something that was literally buried and forgotten.