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PRINT December 2005

Matt Saunders

MY YEAR CAME INTO FOCUS in someone else’s flashback. At a summer party in a socialist-era tower on Karl-Marx-Allee, the British artist Mark Wallinger reminisced about one of his performances at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie the previous October: It’s sometime after midnight, and he’s shuffling about inside Mies van der Rohe’s iconic structure in a mangy bear suit, his sight framed by a snarling mouth (which is the only family resemblance between this creature and its intended cousin, Berlin’s mascot, ursus rampant). The suit is sweltering, and Wallinger pauses his performance for clandestine time-outs in his boxers to escape his private sweathouse. Tonight he can see no audience as he stands looking over an empty plaza at the stagy skyscrapers (lit up but largely unleased) of the new Potsdamer Platz, where, presumably, people crowd the few tourist restaurants and twin megaplexes. Suddenly,

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