Artful rabbits where the Wall once stood

Berlin public art: Kaninchenfeld installation on the Chauseestrasse

Once you've spotted one, you'll quickly notice another. And then another. Life-size brass rabbits set into the road and pavement of a small stretch of the Chausseestraße in the district of Wedding.

Although bunnies aren't exactly an uncommon sight in Berlin, they tend to be of the living, breathing variety.

But real rabbits once roamed this area in abundance, and there's something else that used to be here, too: a border control for the Berlin Wall (below).

Border control on the Chauseestrasse, Berlin
Checkpoint at the Berlin Wall, Chauseestrasse

The installation Kaninchenfeld (Rabbit Field) by artist Karla Sachse muses on the fact that when the Wall still stood, rabbits flourished in the wilderness of its death strip.

They dug their tunnels directly beneath the barrier from one part of the city to another, and their presence, although beloved by East and West Germans alike, served as an ironic reminder of the freedom of movement denied to Berlin's human inhabitants.

'Rabbit Field' where the Berlin Wall once stood: Kaninchenfeld art installation, Berlin
Rabbits in Berlin's Wedding - a reminder that a Berlin Wall checkpoint once stood nearby

When the Wall fell, the rabbits' homes were swept away, and today, the metal silhouettes provide the only clue as to their former habitat (as well as, of course, a reminder of the location of the border checkpoint itself).

Sadly, this wonderful meditation on Berlin's years of division is itself in danger of disappearing. First installed in 1999, it initially comprised 120 metal plaques, but roadworks and rebuilding have considerably depleted the field of gleaming bunnies. In a final twist to the tale of the Kaninchenfeld, the continuing construction of a new Berlin may finally deprive them of their second Chausseestraße home.

See also:
A street of urban art
See the world without leaving Berlin
Illuminating art on the Oberbaumbrücke

Kaninchenfeld / Field of rabbits: Chausseestraße, between Wöhlertstraße und Liesenstraße, 10115 Berlin.

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