Have You Met... insitu

Text and pictures by Nathan M.

From France to Luxembourg, and Australia to Austria, the four co-curators of insitu are the perfect example of Berlin's collaborative/creative museum and gallery culture. Coming from a variety of commercial galleries, the team of Nora Mayr, Lauren Reid, Gilles Neiens, and Marie Graftieaux (pictured above from left to right) met through a complicated web of residencies, curatorial projects, and - specifically - their various past-positions at Künstlerhaus Bethanien.

After Mayr, Neiens, and Graftieaux opened insitu's doors off of Potsdamer Straße in 2013, the trio added Reid as a fourth co-curator due to the success of their cyclical series of "episodes" - a string of exhibitions taking place over the insitu's first year, of which insitu is currently on "Episode 4: tireless workers". With years of experience working at art spaces across Berlin, the team decided in April of 2013 that it was time for their own project to come into being. 

Nora Mayr: What we experienced - in Berlin, there is a lot of space, that is true - but, still… All the spaces like to do their own program, of course. It's not so easy to have a project representing the other. Conceptually, it's nice to have your own project, and being independent.

The independence of their gallery, however, was the product of heavy-duty planning and long-term goals.

NM: Almost all of [the episodes] we thought of a year ago. We are not artists; we are curators. There are so many things that go into being an artist - there are the methods of production and reception, of course, and there is also strategy. Similiarly, we are working with all the different topics an artist has in mind when they start working on a new work.
Gilles Neiens: Everything came together quite naturally. We all came with ideas of exhibitions we wanted to do, and then we saw that there were a lot of similarities. We do a lot of research - we wanted to do complete, well-thought, strong exhibitions.
NM: Our topics [for all seven episodes] were settled already. We had even already found some of the artists.
GN: We had [around] nine exhibition ideas, so we consolidated them.

The cyclic systems of episodes was surely a success, enough so that the team has decided to continue the episode system into next year. The current episode's title - "tireless workers" - is an accurate description of the group. Without a support staff of interns or assistants, the four co-curators take turns running the front-desk of the gallery in addition to their personal workloads outside of insitu. Their hardwork, however, comes with its own share of recognition.

NM: With the episodes, it was very clear: we wanted to work with a one-year cycle. In the beginning, this was planned as a one-year-project. We decided we wanted to do something for ourselves: we would give ourselves one year's time to develop something, to do something that we wanted to. We are happy to do [the episode system] again because we liked it so much. We decided we would give ourselves a second cycle.
GN: And because it works! We had very good feedback. A lot of different people came to our openings -
Marie Graftieaux: The artists, their friends… ourselves!

As "tireless workers" closes on 18.1, the team is finalizing preperations for their upcoming show opening on Febuary 6, 2014.

Marie: The next [episode] will be called "in the beginning..." and it's about telling stories, and "What is the narration in the artwork?", and "What is this piece supposed to tell?".
Nora: There will be six artists with a lot of different ways of presenting narratives.
Marie: Different structures, for example.
Nora: Or breaking with the narratives.

insitu: Kurfürstenstrasse 21-22 Berlin 10785Wed-Fr 16-19h, Sat 14-18h / U1– Kurfürstenstrasse
Opening: «Episode 5: in the beginning...» / Thursday 06.02.2014 / 19.00 - 22.00

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