If Mitte was a worm, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz would be one of its hearts. The other four, you can certainly name them. What you can't deny is that the corners of the Volksbühne have a lot to offer.
I started working for Associations (German: Kunstvereine) because they were more focused in contemporary art than any other institutions back then. The Verein started in 2002 but I joined by the end of 2009. They were two residents concerned about the cultural offer in the neighborhood who I knew. There was a time in which the Babylon cinema was about to close, but the area transformed itself completely when the first galleries moved around here.
I always tried to find the perfect place, sometimes a couple of walls, some others it's a public space. However every project needs a space according to its needs. And money to be produced and financed. I also wanted the members to get more involved. The Association wants to reach any kind of people. It's obvious that the art people are going to be interested, it's more fun when people from other areas want to participate on this too.
Diverse sources: membership fees, private donations from the member, different companies and foundations, embassies, institutions such as the Institut Française or the Institute for foreign affairs (IFA)...We also get sporadic Senatsgeld and Kulturfonds for some projects. But unfortunately no one comes and says: hello Kunstverein, here you go fifty thousand for this year.
The communication between the artists and the association: to discuss all the details together, to be precise, to take decisions... there's an idea at the beginning, a project to be staged, and it must be displayed in the right place. I do the mediation, I keep myself busy researching. And I have to deal between two parties: the art and the space. Once I had to deal with a theater group, which had a wonderful play but didn't find the right stage. Then I found the most suitable place in the rooftop of a house.
The most exciting thing is the process, how it happens, how art comes into the world. I'm no longer interested in classical openings: hanging pictures on a wall, two hundred people drink beer for half an hour, then they go. It's fun, but I'm more eager to organize specific events in which people can gather together to reflect and interact with the work and the artist for a longer time.
There is a couple of exciting places in Berlin: Tät ,which is quite diverse, Autocenter , n.b.k., and Salon Populaire got a political component, something that I find quite important.
And, of course, there is the Louvre, the most amazing art collection ever. The whole thing it's just great: the palace and the new spaces. And opposite to it, the Palais Royal, which hosts a spectacular example of art in open space in its courtyard. But I guess you were expecting to hear something more contemporary...
I find quite fascinating what Anna-Catharina Gebbers does (Bibliothekswohnung). Also Udo Kittelman (former optician, current director of the Neue Nationalgalerie) always curates outstanding exhibitions. He made that one in Frankfurt, establishing dialogues between contemporary art and objects from the fifties and sixties, that was crazy!.
It will be grown. Brought into perfect spaces. Other spaces. No white cubes of course.
Well, Berlin can be stressful. If not Berlin in a medium to large city: Turin, Milan, Hannover, Hamburg. Not in New York, Tokyo or Timbuktu.
The Verein intends to provide the most suitable space for each project
If you had to describe your space in word...