Andarín Gallardo: Sketches of Berghain
ontinuing a recent trend of Berghain-themed posts, I wanted to draw some attention to the work of Andarín Gallardo, an artist and “travel junky” who recently posted a set of sketches about his first night at “the best club in the world.” Andarín gets his nickname from “El Andarín,” the brother of his great-grandfather, who went on a two-year journey on foot around Central America. And now, three generations later, a new Andarín is indulging his Wanderlust and recording his travels—most recently, in Berlin.
Yes, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing “the best club in the world,” but don’t forget that it DID actually get top billing by Resident Advisor (2008) and DJ Mag (2009). You can look at my earlier profile of Berghain/Panorama Bar for details, which is also how I found Andarín’s page. I noticed a spike in traffic to my Berghain profile from a particular website around Oct 16, and I followed that link to find that Andarín had linked to my profile as a verbal description of Berghain.
He, instead, presented a visual description. He posted a sort of narrative, comic-strip style series of sketches of his night out, which included some beautiful renditions of the place and the experience. Although the drawings are hardly photorealistic, they capture a lot about the movement and the intensity of a night out in Berghain, and they give an idea of what the “highlights” are. You’ll have to go to his website to see the full series of images, but I wanted to provide a gloss on a couple of them.
This is Sven, the tattooed, pierced face of Berghain, so to speak. He doesn’t always wear tuxedo garb, but he does have a rather New Romantic / Goth taste for velvet blazers, cuffed shirts, boots with heels, and complicated neckwear. My friends from Paris used to call him le sanglier (the wild boar), which was always somewhat ironic, since he has this rather thin, effete voice when he speaks. When he’s not turning people away from Berghain, he’s a photographer, who was once active in the anti-establishment art community of East Berlin under the DDR. There are other bouncers at Berghain and he is not necessarily the bouncer with the most seniority (Peter is, as far as I can tell), but from midnight to 6am most weekends, he is The Gatekeeper.
Based on the suspended speakers, the layout of the room, and the long windows, this is Panorama Bar. The DJ booth isn’t actually raised above the crowd in reality, and it’s also smaller and closer to the wall. The crowd density sure is accurate, though. The room extends to the right for about the same distance, where the wrap-around bar is located. To left, right next to the DJ booth, are the doors that lead to the washrooms and to the Berghain floor. Those long windows—easily two storeys high—have mechanized blinds that, during the day, can be opened and closed to let in sunlight.
And here is the entrance to the darkrooms on the Berghain floor, hidden behind a stack of loudspeakers and under the stairs that lead up to Panorama Bar. Note the leather harnesses and jockstraps on two of the men. This isn’t out of the ordinary on the Berghain floor, although the oral sex (which I assume is about to happen on the left-hand side of the image) usually happens inside the darkroom. Usually.
There are lots more lovely drawings to see on Andarín’s page, so go check it out!