You have already met her if you were some of the lucky few attending the Speed portfolio viewing last sunday. In case you didn't, let me introduce you to the player behind the intriguing name of L'Atelier-kunst(spiel)raum!!
Stefania Angelini (Nice, 1986) studied Psychology and Art History in Paris and London, where she eventually got her master degree. Expecting Berlin to be somewhat “grey”, she hapenned to come to find a city full of possibilities in technicolor. You can imagine the rest... encouraged by her entrepreneurial character she decided to leave the stressing city of London to embark herself in this adventure placed in the heart of Kreuzberg 61: L'atelierKunst(spiel)raum.
A former printing house in a backyard in Mehringdamm, 180m² over two floors... features of maybe the youngest space in Berlin, running 6-7 solo exhibitions per year by international young artists. Meant to work as an art playroom, as curator/gallerist Stefania claims, complementary activities will be hosted here: screenings, concerts, talks... whatever that promotes a platform for communication and exchange. You might visit the space during the weekend (16.00 – 20.00). And if you dare, try the cakes from the lovely Kuchenmanufaktur in the same street (Stefania's secret tip).
And even a better deal: whether you grab that piece of cake or not, come to Bruno Ollé's show opening reception on Friday 30.06 (18-21h).
Madames et Monsieurs, L'atelier-kunst(spiel)raum, a place where visitors are strictly invited to play!
What was the main concept behind your space, before you started?
Art per se, but also a bit of the social aspect. I mean, I really wanted to start building up direct relationships between the artists and the public. I personnaly felt that something was missing… real communication, the one that brings debates. I imagined a kind of atmosphere over a glass of wine, a dinner, or after a screening on a confortable grounding chair. So I came up with this concept between an exhibition space and a salon… a place where you could see things but also take your time to sit and interact. That’s what I feel that we're missing in the art secene. We don't really talk about art. We usually just talk about taste.
What were your main goals before starting?
My own dreams. It had to do more with my desires than with any pragmatic or effective factor. This might be due to the fact that I had no prior experience in mounting up a bussiness, maybe I was a bit too naïve. I already had in mind that the sales would be a difficult task. Even when I knew that I was aiming for good quality on a long term basis I was also aware that this would take time.
How do you finance yourself?
The space is privately funded at the moment. Myself, I am parallel working at the Heiner Bastian Foundation. We are on the verge of building up several partnerships which would be a kind of help even if it is not a purely financial aid.
What do you consider essential elements for curating a successful exhibition?
Passion, clearly the first and most important element to any kind of artistic activity. What makes the difference is the way you see and expose things.The curator should always have in mind the artist and the public. At any time. In other words: generosity is also another feature the curator should have. Diversity through the mediums but a real coherence through the pieces, arising questions and clarity seem to be also important aspects for an exhibition. That's how I would like to be treated as a visitor.
Reflecting upon the time you have been running the space, what would you say you have learned about curating and managing?
That's also one of the reasons why I started a business: in order to learn by directly experiencing everything by myself. If you have a low budget that means that you are in charge of every single task: from the accounting part to the most creative one. From the most boring (which is never boring because it's for your own space) to the most exciting. I certainly will learn a lot during this adventure.
What are your favourite mainstream galleries and spaces in Berlin, the world:
Hamburger Bahnhof is certainly the museum I like the most in Berlin due to its incredible permanent collection. I would also had to quote two French institutions: Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo in Paris. For galleries… I would say that a great inspiration and motivation here in Berlin is the Grimmuseum. In London The White Cube and the Serpentine Gallerie impressed me a lot.
Do you have any favourite curators?
Hans Ulricht Obrist and Nicolas Bourriaud are two great myths for me. I like both writings, clear and modern in a way of thinking.
Where will you and the space be in 5 years?
No idea, sorry !