Mural on the rear wall of Stattbad, Berlin-Wedding, Germany. © Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.
Stattbad was a former public swimming pool turned into a hub for urban art. It was home to artist studios and a club and provided an international and interdisciplinary space for contemporary art, music and culture. When I re-visited the website of Stattbad while updating this post from 2013, I was dismayed to learn that not only had the venue been closed in May 2015 due to the owner’s failure to secure and modernise the building, but in September 2016, it was even decided to demolish the historic building. It left me speechless so I won’t add anything to this post apart from this photo posted on Stattbad’s Facebook page and a comment left by one Paul Messe.
“I hope that every single euro they will get from this cruel action [will] bring them just [as] much pain as I felt when I saw this pic.”
The name ‘Stattbad’, lit. ‘instead of a swimming pool’, is a play on the word ‘Stadtbad’, which means ‘municipal swimming pool’. When I was a kid, I did my first swimming certificate, the ‘Freischwimmer’, at this Stadtbad. It involved swimming for about 15 minutes and diving for some rings from the bottom of the pool. Scenes of the 1956 film Wolfpack (Die Halbstarken) with Horst Buchholz were filmed at Stadtbad Wedding (see clip below). Buchholz (1933-2003) was a German actor, remembered for the role of Chico in John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven and Otto Ludwig Piffl in Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three. You can watch Die Halbstarken for free online at the non-profit digital library Internet Archive: English version / German version