“In 2009 it was like [painting] a commission.”

Interview 2021

Gábor Simon, born in East Berlin in 1973, is an IT-consultant living in Berlin. Around 1990 he worked in the Narva lightbulb factory, not far from the East Side Gallery. Aged 17 when he painted his work in the East Side Gallery, he was the youngest contributing artist. His abstract painting “Space Magik” was inspired by the electronic music of Kraftwerk.

Gábor Simon in the interview

On his art and "Space Magik"

Who is Gábor Simon?

Childhood in East Berlin

9 November 1989 and the ensuing period

Continuities after the fall of the Wall

Painting action in 1990

Berlin: No longer a divided city

Renovating in 2009 and painting in 1990

New opportunities after 1990

"The East Side Gallery is…"

Simon’s Wall painting “Space Magik” depicts imaginary spaces and figures in black and red checkerboard patterns – his favourite motif around 1990, which he also painted in other places. Simon was inspired by electronic music. The title of his unpolitical work is taken from a track by the electro band Kraftwerk: Simon thought he heard the words “space magic” in its metallic-seeming synthesizer sounds. In fact, the track in question is titled “Space Lab”.

Gábor Simon, Space Magik, 1997
Gábor Simon, Space Magik, 1997

After leaving vocational school, Simon trained at the Narva lightbulb factory close to where the East Side Gallery now stands. He continued working there for a time after the fall of the Wall. Now an IT-consultant, he lives with his wife and children in Berlin-Neukölln. His mother encouraged him, aged 17, to apply to paint his work “Space Magik” in the East Side Gallery. He has said that it was a specification to paint an unpolitical work.

all artworks