On the banks of the Rhine, Dusseldorf is a city where pockets of high quality urban art can be seen and explored. Much of the works are products from street art festivals and events held over the years. The street of Kiefernstraße meanwhile stands alone as once of the most unique streets of its kind anywhere in Europe.
Urban art gallery Pretty Portal sits at the heart of the cities street art scene. Active for the past 12 years they’ve been instrumental in arranging many of the walls which can still be seen. They also do street art tours which are useful in tying many of the spots together. The street art can mainly be seen in the south of the city but as there’s a bit of distance between each one. Having a guide can be handy.
Dusseldorf Street Art
Much of the art is also quite long lasting. Works from 2011, 2013 and 2015 form the core of what there is to see in the city. At least that’s the case in terms of the large scale murals. In many cities the walls will have been recycled to allow other artists to paint the spots. Not so in Dusseldorf. The view here is that they would rather new spots be opened up than paint over existing works.
The street of Kiefernstraße meanwhile sits to the east. Independent of any of the organised mural activity, each of the tenements along the street has a painted facade. Inside and out, each building is covered with different murals. The street has a long history of squatting from since the early 80’s and it is this legacy which lives in the street to this day. Certainly walking along Kiefernstraße is an experience not to be missed.
Pretty Portal – Brunnenstr
A gallery with a distinguished history of supporting urban art in Dusseldorf. They have been key in terms of attracting many of the events and the artists to the city in the past. Working closely with the likes of international artists Findac, Ardif and Jana & JS they also have a key focus in terms of supporting local artists. You can book onto a street art tour hosted by the gallery here.
Boui Boui Bilk – Suitbertusstraße
Murals dating from the 2013 ’40 degree’ festival overlook each other across a courtyard. Standout works from Italy’s Pixel Pancho on one side and from a collective of artists on the other. The latter is a re-imagining of the Battle of Worringham. Fought on 25 June 1288 it is famous in the history of the city and gave Dusseldorf its city rights. The Pixel Pancho piece is a good example of his work which represents the fragility of life.
A fine example of street art from Jana & JS overlooks the park. Their work focuses on how humans live in the city. Usually showing people interacting against a backdrop of brutalist buildings. Their work is about the way that people can live so close to one another yet barely interact. We’ve been fans of the French / Austrian duo for a while now and you can read more about them here.
Brause – Zimmerstraße
Every city needs a street art hangout and this is the place to be in Dusseldorf. Sadly closed for some refurbs when we visited. This is a place for pop up exhibitions with a focus on the work of local artists.
A dark road underneath the Autobahn. The panels lining the underpass are filled with art. The majority painted as part of a mass paint jam in 2011. They have been left pretty much alone ever since. Many of the artists showing here are local and the jam was an attempt to reclaim some colour to the streets. The underpass is, even now, quite a dingy affair and the art only serves to cheer it up.
A series of panels running along the Helmholtzstraße, these were organised as part of a street art event in 2015. Featuring local artists who had only been given a colour scheme to work with. The result is an eclectic mix of styles. Slightly unusually for a street art paint jam, the works were actually part of a research project. The aim of which was to see how people interacted with the work and to see what impact it had on the community.
A unique street to the east of the city. Each building is covered with large murals. Not only the buildings either but also construction cabins left behind for some unknown reason and which still occupy the street. The road has a long history of revolution and rebellion. Squatted for many years it is that legacy that lives on in the street. It’s an anarchic oasis in the middle of a serene and organised city.
Dusseldorf was visited on 18 May 2019. We were taking on a tour of the area which was hosted by the Pretty Portal Gallery. We were also massively helped in terms of where to go by Strassenmaid a local artist based in Dusseldorf whose work we first saw and loved in London.