We've always heard that Berlin is a bastion of liberalism, but a new exhibit at the city's Galeria Casablanca has us aghast at just how open-minded some of its residents can be. The exhibit showcases the work of a 67-year-old taxi driver who photographs topless female passengers in the back of his cab, compiled together in a series aptly named "Flash Berlin 0.1."
We came across the exhibit in an article by Spiegel Online, which reported that the lucky cab driver/voyeur photographer is a man by the name of Hans-Jürgen Watzlawek. A self-proclaimed artist and "lady whisperer," Watzlawek has apparently turned his taxi into a studio on wheels, snapping shots of nude breasts whenever he gets the chance.
"It all began when I picked up one of my regulars and she confided in me that she thought she was pregnant," stated Watzlawek in the exhibition notes. "'My breasts are so big,' she said, and proceeded to pull up her top to show me." After this serendipitous flashing, an idea was born and so began one of the creepiest art projects we have come across.
The taxi driver turned artist devoted the next two years of his life to snapping willing passengers' boobs, and more women were up to bare all in the name of art than we'd expect. Watzlawek was able to persuade 40 well-endowed women to participate in his budding endeavor, all eager to expose their breasts right in the back of his cab.
But why are these women offering up their goods for an impromptu photo sesh? Clara Held, owner of a pair of Watzlawek's subjects, told the daily Berliner Zeitung that he had convinced her to take part in the project in minutes. Her explanation: "He's charismatic." Hmm.
The owner of the gallery showing Watzlawek's work, Zoltan Labas, defends the work, stating to Spiegel Online: "These pictures raise fascinating questions about what art really is...They're very powerful, and it's the details that are intriguing. The breasts are just incidental." Yes, the NSFW pictures (which you can see here), filled entirely with headless chests, are just incidental boob shots. Labas also adds that most of the women were not drunk when their photos were taken, they were all over 30 and, in some cases, their husbands were even present. So there's that.
Let us know what you think of "Flash Berlin 0.1" in the comments section. Is it art? If you think so, you're in luck. We can only guess the numbering in the title means there's more to come.
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