The Berlin Art Scene has been a revelation in recent years as the place to be to find the most ground-breaking artists and galleries exhibiting their work in many of the city’s districts.
Things are changing slowly but surely however, with the once funkier, run-down districts being gentrified and forcing the galleries that made them famous with art-lovers to close due to rising rents.
This has been more prevalent in the last decade in the city’s Mitte district. Think of what is happening in places such as Hackney in London, where the once lowly and unassuming local shops and public spaces have now been turned into slick coffee shops and delicatessens. That is essentially what has happened in Mitte in recent years. The most blindingly obvious example is that of ‘C/O’, which opened in 2000 and housed many excellent exhibitions, only for it to be forced to move from the area in favour of luxury apartments. The same has recently happened with The Tacheles, with a sit-in protest in March 2012 to attempt to stop developers doing the same with this legendary art space.
However, all is not lost – there are still many places where artists can show off their wares, and they have simply moved to other parts of the city – hoping that ‘the man’ won’t get his hands on their current locations and do the same thing.
The Berlinische Galerie in the Kreuzberg area of the city is one such place where you can experience works by artists that you may not already know, but will certainly want to know more about. The main feature of the gallery is a permanent exhibition tracing the recent history of German art. Beginning in the 1870s, the exhibition focuses on the different movements that occurred pre and post war, up to the present day.
A relatively new gallery well worth a look is the Dittrich & Schlechtriem, which takes us back to the Mitte district. Formerly the Pool gallery (now having teamed up with other Mitte residents, Schlechtriem Brothers , this excellent space is thriving with photography, painting and graphic design exhibitions, which are replaced regularly in order to keep the gallery fresh.
Berlin galleries do have a penchant for setting up in relatively strange places – disused warehouses and office blocks, and in the case of the Sammlung Boros collection, a former WWII bunker. If you are planning a visit to the collection, then be prepared for a wait. It is essential to book in advance, due to the fact that you may only view by appointment – even then, only from Friday to Sunday. Once you’ve managed to fight your way through the red tape, you will be rewarded with a fine trawl through modern art installations ranging from sculpture to video art.
Due to its popularity over the last twenty or so years, the art scene in Berlin is still flying high, but if things continue to go the way of the last few years then it’s advisable to experience these excellent exhibitions and more, while they’re still there.
About The Author: Ben Gallivan is a well-travelled Welshman with an appreciation for the finer things in life, including museums, galleries and of course, currywurst. He writes for One80 Hostel in central Berlin.
Photo Credit: VisitBerlin.de