Boros Collection_Overwhelmed by the special space

Berlin, Germany. Step into a building with a strange atmosphere, admire contemporary art in a special space, and remember the history that once unfolded in this place.

Private gallery in Berlin. There are so many contemporary art galleries in Berlin. Therefore it is hard to decide which one to go, but in terms of impact, this gallery is the “must” to go.

The location is about 20 minutes walk from Berlin Central Station, the center of Berlin. As walking along the street, admiring the 5-story buildings that line up along a typical street in Europe, coming across a gigantic concrete building with an unusual atmosphere. This is the Boros Collection, which contains this gallery.

As soon as I saw this building, I thought it was some kind of place that established during the war. I decided to take a look around it first. The exposed concrete building has small windows. They are four layers, so it inferrs that it is a four-story building. The structure looks like another box on the roof, and can see the branches of a tree. There are four entrances and exits : front, left, right, and back, all of which are iron doors.

This gallery can view on a guided tour by reservation. Reservations is online. Gather in front of the iron door at the main entrance a little before the reservation time. When the time comes, the person in the gallery opens the door and invites the visitor inside. When entering through the iron door at the entrance, there is the second iron door on the right. Going through it, there is the third one. Going through its third iron door, it is inside the building. These make me feel suspicious.

There is an old locker space on the right. This also has a suspicious atmosphere. There is a stone-shaped bench in the back, and a table in front of it has books about the artists in this gallery and books from the Boros Collection. I sit on a bench and wait. There were 19 people on the tour when I joined.

The guide is a woman in late 20s to 30s. The first explanation begins. During the Nazi era, Jews were kept in this building before transported to concentration camps. After the war, it functioned as a storage facility for fruits from Cuba. Apparently bananas mainly stored. This is because that the temperature inside the building was constant. At the time, the fruit was expensive, so it was secret around, but the local residents discovered this place and called it “Banana Bunker”. The explanation continued that this place was “Club” since the 1990s, and then the Boros Collection began.

The exhibits changes once every four years. This was the fourth time, therefore it is 15 years since 2008 started. The building is five stories high, and displays artworks in small rooms from the first to fourth floors. The guide explained the space above the fourth floor as Rooftop/Penthouse. There were stairs leading to this Rooftop/Penthouse, but no guidance. When I checked later, it seems that the owner’s residence is on the 5th floor.

Each room exposed concrete. At the locations visited this time, there were no rooms undergoing maintenance such as repainting the walls. The building erected in 1942. Approximately 80 years have passed since then, but it seems like nothing has been done to it. There are no items installed in each room other than the artworks. Room space is different, some small, some large, but I could only imagine what had happened in this place in the past.

Now, regarding artworks, I thought it was just an installation based on the structure of the building, but there were also paintings. The guide explained that there are two owners of this collection. She explained the number of items in the collection as 600 or 800. The owner decided what to display from among these items. There were between 10 and 20 artworks on display (the homepage lists the names of 27 artists, though).

Artworks did not appear to be by a well-known artist. As usual with contemporary artworks, you will not understand the meaning of the artwork unless you listen to the guide’s explanation. If the exhibited artworks is in a normal building, it might be a high probability that people would have walked past them. Also, the uniqueness of this building destract me and I was conscious of how the rooms look.

I could say that 90% of the uniqueness of this building is in this place. The impact of the artwork was lost to the uniqueness of this space. I reminded once again of the importance of the exhibition location. It would be great if exhibit artworks surpass this space, but unfortunately I felt that none of the artworks on display this time could reach this level.

The guide explained that in the beginning, they allowed to view the artworks freely. However they realized that it was difficult to understand the intentions of the artworks without explanations, and therefore they changed to the current guide method. Without a guide, it is difficult to understand this complex building. However, I have heard from other museums that “the concept is to let visitors walk freely and feel the atmosphere”. After that, I thought it would be better to adopt the concept of free viewing.

Maybe if applying the guiding scheme, there will be so many people there and therefore, it is difficult to feel the best of the artworks. I feel that allowing time for free viewing, a space creates just for the artwork and the viewer, which may bring out the best in the artwork.

By the way, photography prohibit. Since there are time constraints when using a guiding method, this is probably the only way to go. However, I feel that if allow 15 minutes of free time in the end to walk around and allow visitor to take photos, visitors appreciate the quality of the artwork.

This gallery is a place where you can step into a special building, recall the history that took place in this space, and feel the space in the name of viewing contemporary art. If display a group of excellent and persuasive artworks, it will be the fame as a gallery of a higher level.

Visited in 2024.

Basic Information

​■ Name : Boros Collection
■ Address : Reinhardtstraße 20, 10117 Berlin, Germany
​■ Homepage :

■ Others

  • The viewing is in the form of a guided tour. Online reservation requires. There are guides in German and English. Reservations starts 1-2 months in advance, but they are often full, so it is the best to check and make reservations early.
  • On the website, the number of participants for each guided tour is 12, but when I visited, there were 19 people. The tour duration is one and a half hours.
  • Photographs prohibit, but there is no clear description on the homepage. Although someone personally check at the reception, the initial instructions for the guided tour did not mention that photography prohibit. However, there was no one to take photos during the guided tour. The photos of the artworks posted on this page from the homepage.
  • This place can reach on foot from Berlin Central Station. About 15 to 20 minutes walk. It is possible to get there by train and bus, but they stop at far away places, and threfore, walking on this place might be the best.