Christiane Grüß, born in Freiberg, studied theater and economics and worked as a nurse before founding 7hours.
While working in the pathological museum in Berlin in the late 80s the relation of the display of anatomical specimens to art became clear, both were focused on form and questioning. She started organizing exhibitions in the museum to spotlight the collection and the importance of thinking about the self and the body. There were, however limitations with working in this scientific setting, so Christiane decided to move into the center of the art field, to NYC, where the first permutation of 7hours took place.
Also before relocating to the current location at HAUS 19 in 2005, 7hours occupied the tower, an impressive four floors and attic of the Märkisches Museum, beginning in 2001. The director at the time was interested in filling the space and exploring the potential of bringing contemporary art into a more historical context. The senate was asking to close the tower and some historians in the museum were not supportive of the project, but thankfully the director was persistent and Christiane was able to curate six TURM shows.
Study Group JAKOB ULLMANN voice, books and FIRE 3, erste Präsenation, 2011
The Hilarion Manero exhibit has been postponed until early next year, however the Jakob Ullman study group continues to take place every Tuesday evening, and the back room of the gallery is available for viewing by appointment.
What is the main concept of the project?
The project is always changing, as I am collaborating intensely with artists, giving place to independent thinkers, neither "public" nor "private." Nothing is off-limits and anything is possible, but it must be inventive. I am depending on new combinations, necessity and seriousness about it.
Why did you choose this name?
The first “7hours” exhibit was in NYC in 1999. I had very little money so I looked for possibilities and rented spaces for short periods of time. Although the name started out as a practical time limit, it has stayed with me because it still evokes other questions.
Sebastian Biskup, Gemälde o.T., 2011; Norbert Prangenberg (Skulpturen aus Ausstellung "Clay & History", 2010, 7hours HAUS 19 backspace)
How do you create your program?
I work closely with the composer and artist Chris Newman(http://www.7hours.com/_Actual_Page/html/7hours_ArtistsSites/CHRIS%20NEWMAN_7hours.htm)and he often makes suggestions. He is very critical thinker, a deep artist, and a giving person, so I usually agree with his suggestions. I also work with the composer and artist Bill Diets (www.tutorialdiversions.org). I try to avoid event politics. When it does work out, it is a miracle; some artists can let go of the spider web for new possibilities in the 7hours space. When famous artists come here, they are able to let go of their persona and be here solely for their art.
Could you give an example of a particularly successful project or collaboration?
There are so many! Till Hohncreated a projection piece for the attic of the TURM show at the Märkisches Museum that consisted of photographs of faces of Baroque sculptures (found in the museum’s cellar). The pain and suffering in the faces seen up close (as opposed to high up on a building’s façade) and so large was striking. He also had a solo show in which he made these faces himself on a massive scale. I rarely dream about art, but I found myself dreaming of his work.
Also Pia Maria Martin (www.7hours.com/_Actual_Page/html/7hours_ArtistsSites/PIA_MARIA_MARTIN_7hours.htm)filmed an impressive and time-consuming stop-animation work in the HAUS 19 space, which we later screened in the space.
Till Hohn ("britmov", 2011 mit Jårg Geismar), Albert Wigand (Zeichnungen um 1970) (in 7hours backspace)
How is it financed?
I was lucky to receive a large grant in 2005. In general, I am ‘greedy’ and do as many projects as I can manage, usually without knowing if I can finance it or not.
What are your favorite art institutions in Berlin?
I love museums. The ethnological museum in Dahlem, especially their middle America and Chinese collections, have a seriousness, and the experience feels like a dream. Also the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, who had the Louise Bourgeois exhibition last year. I respect the program at Nordenhake and Zwinger Galerie. I love Erika Hoffmann and her collection. I'm proud to be able to collaborate with Ensemble Zwischentöne and Bill Dietz time by time.
How about your favorites in the world?
The Rolandseck Museum near Bonn, NY MOMA, the National Gallery in London, and the Rodin Museum in Paris. The Forsythe Company. The house Gustabe Courbet was born in France of the one the Giacometti family was living- something like a small history museum in Switzerland. Of course the Kunsthaus Zurich, also the Magdeburg Art Museum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen.
How do you see 7hours developing in the future?
Right now we are hosting a study group for an ensemble of Jakob Ullman’s, and in addition to the study group I think it would be interesting to find an ensemble who performs his work often and invite them to perform here. In the long run, I will consider another structuring collaboration- reinventing 7hours- also: surviving 7hours.