Bonn The large Beethoven graffito of the artist group Lackaffen on Kölnstraße has been painted over by previously unknown perpetrators - completely covered with black paint and a political message.
The wall at the Bonner Kölnstraße is pitch-black now. The gradient colour of the white lettering testifies to a fast nighttime job. "Black Lives Matter" is written on the black background. Just a few weeks ago, the eyes of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven looked down on the passers-by on Kölnstraße. Nothing of Beethoven can be seen now anymore.
In August 2019 the artist group Lackaffen had sprayed the Beethoven graffiti on the wall. In early June, the group from Münster received the news that the graffiti had been illegally painted over. A surveillance camera of the neighbouring kiosk recorded the action. Five hooded figures armed with black paint buckets, brushes and spray cans can be seen painting the wall.
The fact that the works of the Lackaffen are painted over to such an extent is an unprecedented exception, says the head of the artists' group, Philipp Scharbert. "We've never seen it this massive before." According to Scharbert, there are unwritten laws in the graffiti scene that the works of one artist are not destroyed by others.
"We also receive messages from residents again and again questioning the sense of this action", said Scharbert. The artists put a lot of work into the graffiti last year. "First we had to find suitable walls, make drafts, negotiate with the owners, and in advance we had to prime and paint the walls," says the artist. All in all, this cost around 50 hours of work and 2500 Euro. The boss of the "Lackaffen" does not want to judge whether the message that now stands on the wall in Kölnstraße serves a good cause or not. The chosen means has put everything in a bad light.
The lettering "Black Lives Matter" is the motto of an international movement against violence against blacks. In the weeks following the violent death of George Floyd by a policeman in the USA in May of this year, the lettering was omnipresent at demonstrations worldwide, including in Bonn.
On the wall of the Kölnstraße the "Lackaffen" will not spray new graffiti. "The owner wants to have a picture of his choice sprayed on the wall," said Scharbert. But it is possible that new works of the "Lackaffen" will soon appear elsewhere in Bonn. "We have been working on several areas since last year," the artist reveals. "With three potential surfaces, the plans are slowly becoming more concrete." The "Lackaffen" hope that these works will remain untouched.
(Original text: Nathalie Dreschke / Translation: Mareike Graepel)