If you are waiting for a train at Goerlitzer Bahnhof today, you might notice something a little unusual about the view there. Inside of the station’s light boxes, the usual images of flawless models striking sophisticated, sexy poses have been replaced by a less-than-sweet sort of eye candy. Disfigured with sweeping streaks of solvent, these models have had their ‘come hither ‘expressions transformed into zombie like masks of horror.
This light box installation is clearly not part of any ad campaign that a corporate PR team would give the green light to. In fact, it is the latest in a string of hit-and-run exhibitions by Vermibus, a local ad-busting artist. Vermibus has been quoted as saying that his works are designed to “tear the masks off the advertising models and the subsequent retouching of photographers” in order to reveal “the true reality of being.”
Ad-busting is part of a long tradition of interfering with the mind-numbing volume of commercial messages to which the individual is subjected in daily urban life. There are many more examples of it doing the rounds in Berlin at the moment: one campaign has subverted ads for Christina Aguilera’s new album by pasting images of a Photoshop interface over the pop diva’s portrait. It seems to highlight the artificial quality of images within the pop industry, particularly those of female stars.
Recently, another group of ad-busters in Kreuzberg targeted Marlboro’s “Don’t be a Maybe” poster campaign – the results of which can be seen at the top of this entry.
Both these images have been re-blogged from the excellent ad-busting website BrandInfection.com, where more examples of Berlin art attacks can be found.
If you’re interested in learning more about ad-busting, why not check out one of Alternative Berlin’s street art tours? Our team of guides includes experienced street artists who can show you these works as well as helping you learn how to make your own subversive stencils.