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Studio Berlin Berghain
Welcome to the Art Club

These are not good times, not for the art scene, not for clubs. The Boros Foundation and Berghain joined forces last year and turned the orphaned techno club into an exhibition space. The exhibition closed again a long time ago. But you can browse the exhibition catalogue.

By Holger Moos

Studio Berlin Berghain Distanz Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been no more partying and dancing at Berghain. The vacancy led to something called interim use, whereby the temporary character of this concept was revealed sooner than the initiators wished. A large exhibition was opened at Berghain on 9 September 2020. The second lockdown in December 2020 put an end to it for the time being.
The exhibition was initiated by the collector couple Karen and Christian Boros and Juliet Kothe. The Berghain is located in a former district heating plant near the Ostbahnhof. So there was plenty of space for a larger exhibition.

Art in a symbolic space

The club, as a symbolic space, as a “place of very personal freedom, where every aspect of individual freedom can still be lived, was predestined for this project. A home for self-determination,” as Christian Boros defines the myth of the legendary techno club in a feature by Deutschlandfunk Kultur.
Studio Berlin is the name of the exhibition and it aims to be a snapshot of Berlin’s artistic production. 118 artists are taking part in this joint project, including big names such as Nobert Bisky, Isa Genzken, Ólafur Elíasson, Rosemarie Trockel and Wolfgang Tillmans. But there are also artists who are yet relatively unknown and who haven’t yet been represented by a gallery. It is a “emphatically uncurated show,” writes Boris Pofalla in Welt. There’s also little context. The artists only provided brief explanations of their works – if at all – a few paragraphs at most, sometimes a poem, sometimes just one sentence.

References to the surroundings can only be guessed at

At Berghain there is a strict, almost sacrosanct photography ban. There were bag checks before the guided exhibition visits. Cameras were not allowed; cell phone cameras were taped over. The images in the Studio Berlin exhibition catalogue also observe this ban on images: In the photos, only the works of art are sharp, the background – the respective surroundings in the club – is blurred in the way we’re all too familiar with from online meetings. It’s not much of a problem for many paintings or photographs, but for some other works, especially installations or objects, it’s a shame that references to the surroundings can only be guessed.
There was art at Berghain even before this exhibition. The illustrations of this art were shown without blurred backgrounds, for example in the Berghain art book, Berghain. Kunst im Klub / Art in the Club (2015). Be that as it may, Studio Berlin offers a broad and diverse insight into the Berlin art scene. The artists come from all over the world. One gladly accepts the club’s privacy protections, especially since we can only stay in the exclusive private sphere at the moment. And hopefully at some point we’ll be able to see the works of art again along with their surroundings.

Logo Rosinenpicker © Goethe-Institut / Illustration: Tobias Schrank Studio Berlin. Berghain (English/German)
Berlin: Distanz, 2020. 480 p.
ISBN: 978-3-95476-369-6