New Deutsche Bank Symbol Unveiled in Berlin

A “political sculpture that speaks about freedom in public space” is how Dirk Bell described his design 2FREE SPACE with which the artist won the competition “Macht Kunst! Ihr Skulptur für Berlin" (Make Art! Your Sculpture for Berlin). Following elaborate preparations, 2FREE SPACE has just been unveiled in a festive ceremony. The 6 x 6 x 6-meter-large, seven-ton steel-girder construction is the artistic emblem of Deutsche Bank’s new office complex. Situated in front of the building on Otto-Suhr-Allee in which more than 2,200 employees from 65 countries will work, the signal-red sculpture, which has a lightness that makes it almost seem to hover, sets a marked emphasis.

For “2FREE SPACE,” Dirk Bell doubled the word FREE and then joined together the individual letters of the two words. His minimalist design was inspired, among other things, by the history of Berlin – the longing for freedom, the fall of the Wall, and reunification. “Creating freedoms is the task of a democracy,” said the Berlin-based artist.

“Dirk Bell’s design is impressive due to the coupling of an idea with a clear geometric shape. Situated between a historic high-rise and a new building, it marks the passageway that arose with a clear visual presence. At the same time, it creates a nexus to the sculpture Berlin by Matschinsky-Denninghoff on Tauentzien, which was also enabled by Deutsche Bank,” said Friedhelm Hütte, a Deutsche Bank art expert and a member of the “Macht Kunst” jury.

In his sculptures, installations, and drawings, Dirk Bell does not commit to a particular style.  The artist makes use of Art Nouveau as well as Minimal Art and pop culture. In his works, in which buzzwords such as “LOVE” and “FREE” recur, he creates complex systems of meaning that address social and philosophical issues. The artist, who was born in Munich in 1969, has had solo exhibitions at important institutions, including the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the Modern Institute in Glasgow, and Schinkel Pavillion in Berlin. This year Dirk Bell had gallery exhibitions in New York and Berlin.

“Macht Kunst! Ihre Skulptur für Berlin” is the result of an initiative that the bank launched in 2013 to mark the opening of the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle. Under the motto “Macht Kunst!" (Make Art!) artists and art enthusiasts were invited to submit a painting, a drawing, or a photograph for a 24-hour exhibition in the then still empty rooms of the new KunstHalle in Berlin. In the end, more than 2,000 artists took part. Their works were presented to the public in two 24-hour shows.

For the competition “Macht Kunst! Ihre Skulptur für Berlin,” Deutsche Bank and Art-Invest Real Estate, the project developers of Otto-Suhr-Allee 16, wanted a large sculpture to be installed in front of the new Deutsche Bank building. More than 400 designs were submitted and were promptly shown on November 7 and 8 in the atrium of Deutsche Bank on Unter den Linden in a 24-hour exhibition that drew 1,500 visitors. On November 8, the jury announced a short list of 16 sculpture designs, of which Dirk Bell’s concept was chosen as the winner.