"The days are gone when I, as an artist, ask anyone for permission."
Birgit Kinder was born in Elgersburg (East Germany) in 1962. She moved to East Berlin to work and study art on the side aged 21. In 1990 she became a freelance artist and went on to become a successful wall painter. Her Wall painting “Test the Rest”, in which a “Trabi” is seen driving through the Wall, is known all over the world.
Birgit Kinder in the interview
In 1990, Kinder wanted to paint a picture on the Wall that could be grasped in passing. She chose her Trabant – the famous lightweight East German car – as a motif, breaking through the Wall without sustaining the slightest damage. Here, the “Trabi” stands for the revolution in East Germany, which peacefully broke the Socialist Unity Party’s rule. In 2009, Birgit Kinder changed the title of her painting from “Test the Best” (1990) to “Test the Rest” as a critique of the City of Berlin’s handling of the East Side Gallery at the time.
"I felt the years were years of milk and honey, [...] because the authorities allowed everything."
Birgit Kinder grew up in a small town in Thuringia (East Germany). When she was 21, she moved to East Berlin. She studied part-time to become a painter while working for the East German national rail. In 1987, with her employer’s permission, she started painting the entrances to industrialized apartment blocks. In 1990 she decided to make a career of art, achieving considerable success. She has completed 270 wall-painting projects to date and continues to work as a wall painter. The Trabi painting in the East Side Gallery, which she added spontaneously to the Wall, made her work known across the globe.
From "Test the Best" (1990) to "Test the Rest" (2009) – Photo gallery from Birgit Kinder: