The Why?s Man

"My art is place specific and people specific." George Wyllie

Back to Birds



George Wyllie created his Berlin Burd in 1988. It was over 5m tall. The Berlin Wall over which it was to look, was 4m high and divided East Berlin from West Berlin. It was manned by guards and travelling from East to West was forbidden.

Liz Lochhead, who was in Germany at the same time as Wyllie, later recalled the event in her poem, A Wee Multitude of Questions for George Wyllie, written on his 75th birthday...



Berlin Burd

faced an absurd


(Which the burd keeked over

and The Wall keeled over)


With authorities reluctant to allow him to install the scul?ture, George Wyllie reminded them that, "ein vogel ist kein stein"... "a bird is not a stone" and that students would not be throwing it in demonstrations. He later reflected...

... I think the bird looking over the wall in Berlin was quite good.
I said to this German: "This wall's a bit stupid really, because there's Germans on this side,
Germans on that side and we're all really together, except this wall's keeping us apart It's an absurdity."
"You're right," he said. "It takes one absurdity to question another."


The Berlin Burd at the Berlin Wall

*Scottish Schools GW Archive

George Wyllie Education Initiative

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