“Amazingly, I was a citizen of the West and the East at the same time. Looking at it in a self-critical or humorous light, you could say I was the Wall Jumper.”

Interview 2021

Gabriel Heimler was born in Paris in 1964. He grew up in France and with his grandparents in Hungary. Heimler studied art in Paris before moving to Halle in East Germany, then in 1988 to West Berlin. His painting “Mauerspringer” (The Wall Jumper) addresses the possibility of overcoming borders.

Gabriel Heimler in the interview

On his painting

Who is Gabriel Heimler?

Roundabout relocation from Paris to West Berlin

First encounters between East and West Berliners

How did you get involved in the East Side Gallery?

Encounters with antisemitism

The "Wall Jumper" in the world

What does German unification imply?

A monument for the whole world

"The East Side Gallery is…"

Heimler’s painting “Mauerspringer” (The Wall Jumper) shows a man jumping across the Berlin Wall from West to East Berlin. To Heimler, however, the direction of the jump was less significant than the idea of surmounting the wall. The man in the painting symbolizes the possibility of transcending borders. He perhaps also reflects the artist’s own biography: Heimler has French and Hungarian nationality and lived in East and West Berlin. The artist often crossed international borders in Europe.

Gabriel Heimler, Mauerspringer, 1997
Gabriel Heimler, Mauerspringer, 1997
The Mover. Mural by Gabriel Heimler, Museum Hotel, Wellington, New Zealand, 2010
The Mover. Mural by Gabriel Heimler, Museum Hotel, Wellington, New Zealand, 2010

Heimler was raised a Jew in France and Hungary. He studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and first exhibited his paintings when he was 18. In 1988 he settled in West Berlin and became internationally known for his painting “Mauerspringer” (The Wall Jumper) in the East Side Gallery. In the early 1990s he founded Berlin’s first post-war Jewish artist group, Meshulash, and is editor of the Jewish magazine Golem. Confronted with antisemitism even in Berlin, he moved to New Zealand in 2010.


„Mauerspringer“ is part of the online-tour: The Berlin Wall in the Artwork

all artworks