Corona virus – People no longer have to worry about not getting into Berlin’s legendary techno club. From September 9 until the end of the year Berghain, the legendary club in a former power station in the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, hosts STUDIO BERLIN, a major exhibition featuring the artworks of Berlin-based and international contemporary artists.
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Berlin’s clubs shutdown in March and have been closed ever since. Can the art world and the music scene help each other navigate the choppy waters of the pandemic? The exhibition offers an out-of-the-box solution repurposing clubbing venues as open-to-all exhibition spaces which become a life raft for struggling enterprises.
Organized by Boros Foundation, STUDIO BERLIN serves as a snapshot and exploration of the artists‘ current situation, documenting their point of view on today’s global shifts in socio-political paradigms, though photography, sculpture, painting, video, sound, performance and installation.
Visitors are welcomed by a large banner hung across the facade of the building, which reads MORGEN IST DIE FRAGE – Tomorrow is the question in German – by Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. In front of the building Dirk Bell has created a Love sculpture.
Many the artworks were created during lockdown. Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, for example, shows a series of Polaroids depicting flowers she bought each day during lockdown, an intimate musing on ephemerality. British artist Tacita Dean bundled her lockdown frustrations into a limited-edition series of postcards she sent to friends across the globe.
At the panorama bar, where DJs usually make the dance floor explode with techno music, deaf artist Christine Sun Kim patterned the vibrations of the bass on the dance floor while Kosovan-Spanish artist duo Petrit Halilaj and Alvaro Urbano have installed a large flower made of canvas and paint exactly where they met for the first time. The two men were supposed to get married this year but the wedding was canceled due to the pandemic.
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson presents three oval-shaped mirrors that multiply the dark corners of vast industrial space. In one of the club’s central halls Julius von Bismarck has installed a high-sea buoy swooping six metres up and six metres down in rhythm to imaginary waves. Thanks to an automated pulley system it is connected via sensors to a real buoy in the Atlantic Ocean, mirroring its movements.
In the bathrooms, Cyprien Gaillard engraved a work into the stainless-steel partition wall. Titled The Land of Cockaigne, it’s both an homage to the Breughel painting of the same title, and (when sounded out phonetically) a cheeky reference to the reason why people rarely enter the club’s bathroom stalls alone.
Like in the old days, taking pictures inside Berghain is prohibited.“You’ll be leaving this gallery with a head full of memories and ideas, not with pictures to adorn your social media feeds,” say Karen and Christian Boros of the Boros Foundation.