Have you met... Heiko Pfreundt

Text and pictures by Maria Santos

Just a few days earlier than the Venice Biennale, Kreuzberg Pavillon first opened its doors in Liegnitzerstr., where Heiko's own atelier was initially meant to find a place. After one month and having realized how many people were observing from outside, he decided to open the space to the public.

Heiko Pfreundt has been closely related to art since quite a while. He first studied Art Pedagogy before completing studies in Visual Communicationl in Bremen. Instead of becoming a designer, he devoted himself to the arts and moved to Berlin after getting his degree, where he would work for several institutions. Between 2008 and 2009 he would get involved in Jet Kunstverein, an artist run space where he claims to have gained lots of experience and contacts. He also took part of the Glogauair residency program and worked as a culture manager before following his dream: to open his own space in Kreuzberg. Currently relocated in Neukölln, he is now sharing space with another Kreuzberg-inmigrant, Alessandro from Skalitzer140, because neighborhood-wandering is part of the concept.

According to Heiko, Kreuzberg Pavillon Neukölln can't be categorized as a gallery or whatever-space. It's meant to be the Pavillon.


What was your main concept before you started?

To open a place where to make exhibitions and give people the possibility to show their stuff. I provide the space and let people come up with their ideas because I trust them. Through this comunicative process they become my partners. I also intend that the audience get highly involved in the situation.

Also the fact that there is a lot of art events going on all the time... my idea was to schedule openings on a fixed day of the week. Now people know that we are here every Thursday evening with a new show


What were your initial goals?

Kreuzberg is just an utopia in itself, a dream, and my dream of Kreuzberg was doing something sort of anti-nationalist: Kreuzberg Pavillon would remain there and every nation come to visit, instead of all going to Italy to see individual Pavillons


What do you feel that changed here so far?

Things develop naturally. As we started in Kreuzberg, there used to be two artists per show, now due to the new spatial features we added a third one. A two-way dialogue is established in the front room, while a solo is presented next to the bar


How do you feel that what you are doing is inspiring?

Doing these weekly openings really inspire me, I collect spontaneous ideas generated by the communication with the visitors. Also the artists are most of the times present, so in the course of the night some situations might be develop. It's better than going to a bar. Or is this the bar of the future?. Whatever will be, the art space comes first, it's the main thing here. A “communicative drinking” is allowed as long as the communication remains.

I'm also glad that the people who come are happy to see the other's works and make new contacts. They will add each other on facebook the day after, and invite them to further exhibitions. So this is totally serving as a platform as well


How do you finance your space?

Mostly by selling drinks. Art that it's not officially funded depends on donations of this kind. I find this idea very “Kreuzberg”. Besides this is a non-profit project, we have no sales manager and no commercial gallery structure. I don't make any money with this project


Do you have any favourite curators?

Marcel Duchamp did a really good work. The literature about this curatorial shade of him is yet interesting but rare, fortunately I could recently read an essay about it.

And Susanne Weiß, she is very active in the Berlin scene.

What I certainly don't like are that kind of curators with a tendency to put their names before of the artists'


What did you learn from curating and running this space?

That you loose loads of anger by doing it. It's something great when you get home and you're still in a good mood and can even continue making your art.

Here I learned how you can experience and invite the others to experience. It's really rewarding.

Also that there are no bad artworks, just wrong ways of presenting them. Everything depends on how you exhibit things. Something I learned while working at Jet it's that it's about the whole thing


Heiko with works from the exhibition Follow the Broken


What are your favourite art spots in Berlin?

Forgotten Bar was so inspiring, too bad it's not there anymore, I learned a lot from it and exhibited there twice.

Autocenter, and basically places with a sense of continuity. Sometimes you go to a great show but you never hear of the space ever again. I like to know that there is a place where I can go when I'm sad, for instance.

I also like Hamburger Bahnhof and Neue Nationalgalerie


in the world?

Serpentine Gallery, they work with the concept of pavillon, at another level, of course.

I was also impressed when Moma showed Tino Sehgal. And Tate Modern is amazing


Where will you space be in the future?

We will proceede the same way: having an exhibition every Thursday during two months and then taking a break, and seeing if someone has missed us in the meantime. And also since we are continously migrating, new locations will be added to our name: Kreuzberg Pavillon Neukölln, Kreuzberg Pavillon Neukölln Kassel, Kreuzberg Pavillon Neukölln Kassel London and so on. It would sound so monumental as an institution.


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