The Stattbad Chronicles

Stattbad Wedding Pool

Robert Montgomery, All Palaces, photo: Kai von Rabenau,
courtesy Neue Berliner Räume

You’ve probably heard the news by now: The glorious Stattbad Wedding has recently closed. This weekend the party makers of the club nights Stattnacht are throwing the last two parties in their temporary exile at one of the previously unused halls of Neue Heimat and after that an era has ended. I feel quite sad about this sudden development because the Stattbad was one of those locations that I have recommended through its entire run here on iHeartBerlin, for parties, exhibitions and other crazy stuff happening there. The old public swimming pool found a new purpose in the hands of the makers of Stattbad and the place including all its institutions such as the Open Walls gallery, the Stattbar and the Statt.lab was a wonderful experimental playground for a whole generation of creative Berliners and therefor an important part of the youth culture of Berlin for the past 6 years. It’s a shame that the place has closed so unexpectedly and there is not even a chance to have a final good-bye party there. So as an alternative we went back into our archive and compiled a huge best of from all the coverage and photos we have dedicated to Stattbad over the past 6 years and then some. Enjoy the Stattbad Chronicles after the jump and don’t feel ashamed to shed a tear for this amazing place on the final Stattnacht party on Saturday night and the open air on Sunday. We will miss you, Stattbad Wedding.

Frank by Frank
on June 20th, 2015
in Art, Party, Photos

The Fall of the Palace of the Republic by Gerrit Engel

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photos: Gerrit Engel, courtesy of Sexauer Gallery

The latest exhibition opening by photographer Gerrit Engel at Sexauer Gallery had me thinking of my early days in Berlin back in the beginning of the 2000s. I call myself lucky that I have been in Berlin long enough to have had the possibility to enter the former Palace of the Republic, the once glamorous Chamber of the People and cultural meeting point of former East Germany. In my early days of Berlin the place stood there grey and silently at the riverside of the Spree like a big headstone to the grave of the GDR. The space was mostly abandoned and shut down for public access. The shiny copper plates of the facade that made the building look quite impressive back in the day were long removed and a concrete block remained obstructing the view to any of the beautiful historic buildings around it, no matter from which angle you looked.

But all of a sudden the place was opened again for temporary use. I don’t remember exactly if this happened at the same time, but there was also the announcement that the building would get taken down soon, so maybe this was the reason for the city to sublet it for cultural events so they could collect some money for the expensive demolition. I remember being in there for a couple of big parties and one really magnificent big exhibitions called Fraktale IV: Tod in 2005. It was awesome to see the space from the inside used by artists for huge elaborate exhibits, but without all the glamorous lamps that I knew from photos and that gave the place the nickname “Erich’s lamp shop” it kind of just looked like any other abandoned industrial building that Berlin has so many of. Well, none of them have had such a magnificent location and such a controversial history…

Frank by Frank
on June 17th, 2015
in Art, Photos

Mario Testino: In Your Face – Exhibition Review

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Probably all the fashion enthusiast of Berlin have already paid a visit to the Mario Testino Exhibition at Kulturforum near Potsdamer Platz. Nonetheless we thought it would be still worth to review this unique exhibition because it’s not only relevant to people interested in fashion or advertisement, but it also gives a very critical perspective on the reality and surreality of images and beauty standards of our society therefore its thought provoking to both the haters and the fans of the fashion world.

Mario Testino is a Peruvian photographer who became successful in the 80s in London. I have to admit that for many years I always thought he was Italian because of his name, but he is actually from South America. For the fashion world he is probably one of the most iconic photographers and his imagery ranges from super artificial perfection to blurry authenticity. But he is not only known for the incredibly sexual imagery capable of projecting erotic fantasies on men and women alike. While visiting a panel this January I could experience how his incredible charm and sweet and creative personality is part of his artistic genius. Otherwise I don’t think that famous people such as Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet, Madonna and Kate Moss and many more would choose him over other photographers for unique and sometimes very intimate photography.

The exhibition “In Your Face” which is traveling around the world since 2012 is a tribute to his most famous photos from the different decades of his work. The photography itself is provocative, luscious and often very surreal. Watching famous ads or fashion shoots of magazines in big format and with perfect lightning will make enjoy the pictures on a different level. You also realize how much photoshopping and retouching is involved in creating the “perfect” images of beauty of our times. This becomes so evident while visiting this exhibition that it is somehow a relief. A relief from the pressure of society that always wants you to look better, thinner and younger everyday of your existence. Realizing that even the most famous people of our society have to be optimized so strongly to fulfill an unrealistic ideal that from up close its not even beautiful anymore makes you feel better about yourself. Or at least it did with me. The exhibition is still open until the 26 of July 2015. We are giving aways 2×2 tickets for the exhibition! More pictures and details after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 1st, 2015
in Art, Fashion

Artist from Berlin: Luisa Pohlmann and her intimate Portraits of Woman

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“Are they masturbating?” I asked the artist Luisa Pohlmann when I first saw her new magnificent photorealistic portrait series of paintings showing women washing themselves and enjoying apparently whatever they were doing. But the answer to my unsolicited and quiet indiscrete question was neither a yes or no but rather a smile of the artist. Maybe my phantasies to her works that will be presented in a solo exhibition opening next Monday are way to concrete for the subtle art of Pohlmann.

The exhibition WASCHTAG leads us into a world of images that illustrate both processes of outer cleaning, as well as inner purification (maybe of a very dirty fantasy). The beautiful portraits of young women, oil on canvas or on paper, who act in various poses, sometimes with inward attention, sometimes in direct contact with the viewer, but always with great intensity. We encounter female characters, who, by being focused entirely on themselves – on their innermost being, reveal themselves to the viewer. Their authenticity gives them beauty inside as well as outside but also strength that arises from their personal confrontation with their inner self. See an exclusive preview of her unique work after the jump and find out more infos about the exhibition.

Claudio by Claudio
on May 28th, 2015
in Art

A Street Art Scavenger Hunt

PublicTale by Various and Gould

Recently Berlin-based artist duo Various & Gould have revealed a street art scavenger hunt as part of the Backjumps exhibition opening at Kunstraum Bethanien. We absolutely love this idea, combining art with an interactive game and making it an experience that goes beyond the traditional gallery visit. What the artists have prepared for this hunt is an illustrated version of a short story by Polina Soloveichik that has been divided in 6 parts that are being spread out along a route in Kreuzberg. With each illustration you will also find a part of the story (in German, but with a QR code you will be able to get a translation in English on your smartphone). It’s about three construction workers named Maik, Paul and Jörg and the secret about some abandoned construction sites. The works will were revealed in conjunction with the opening of Backjumps. You can get more details on the Various & Gould website. With the hashtag #PublicTale photos and comments about the project can be tracked on Twitter and Instagram. After the jump you can see photos of the street art pieces.

Frank by Frank
on May 22nd, 2015
in Art

Contemporary Russian Art in Berlin

Katerina Belkina

artwork: Katerina Belkina

This city has many communities of different nations from all over the world that all live together here mixing their cultures into the big juicy cocktail that is Berlin. One of these many communities are Russian artists living in Berlin. I think they are fairly quiet compared to other nationalities, but with the upcoming Russian Contemporary Art Week making some noise in the city.

The RCAW is taking place in 3 galleries which are The Ballery in Schönenberg that is showcasing the work of 3 highlighted artist, the LemoArt Gallery in Prenzlauer Berg that is showing a bigger selection of younger Russian talents and finally a project by UdK students presented at Panke. The whole thing gets kicked off this Friday (May 15, 2015) with the opening reception of the main exhibition at The Ballery that shows the amazing work of Katerina Belkina, Igor Skaletsky, and Vera Veritas Kochubey. On May 29th the second part of the RCAW starts at The Ballery with additional artists in their line-up. We have a little preview of that after the jump.

Frank by Frank
on May 14th, 2015
in Art

Pictoplasma Academy All-Stars Show 2015 – Photos

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Yasmin May Jaafar

Wow, what a load of fun this year’s Pictoplasma festival was! We loved the new venue at the former Crematorium in Wedding now titled “silent green” and the main show (that was good, but maybe a bit small?) and even more so did we love the Academy All-Stars show at Urban Spree! Character design has always been something that deeply fascinates me and so all the creatures, monsters and critters doing funny things just make my heart jump like a candy bar does for a little kid. Enjoy my impressions of the group exhibition at Urban Spree after the jump.

Frank by Frank
on May 6th, 2015
in Art, Photos

Ngoro Ngoro Exhibition at Gallery Weekend Berlin

Ngoro Ngoro Exhibition at Gallery Weekend Berlin

The Ngoro Ngoro group exhibition curated by Christian Achenbach, Jonas Burgert, Zhivago Duncan, Andreas Golder, John Isaacs and David Nicholson that took place in a huge art space in Weißensee was probably the most impressive event during the Gallery Weekend Berlin. The exhibition was made with so much love, there was so much to discover in several halls and buildings, and the atmosphere in the yard with the bars and the pool was so lovely that it was really inviting to stay there the entire weekend. It felt almost like a little art festival. If you missed the show, don’t be sad, we have lots of impressions for you after the jump. And one of the shows will still be open until May 22, 2015.

Frank by Frank
on May 5th, 2015
in Art, Photos

Pictoplasma 2015 – Form Follows Empathy

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Gallery Weekend can be a little snobbish and too crowded from time to time. Fortunately there is one event I am looking so much forward to it that it makes up for all other little annoyances: Pictoplasma, the unique festival for contemporary character design is back in Berlin. Presenting a dense program of inspiring artist presentations, conference lectures, animation screenings, workshops, installations, exhibitions, performances and a big party it has something for everybody who is in love with cute art! Also there will be a pop-up shop at the Uniqlo store where you can buy things and get a little workshop with the Japanese artist Akinori Oishi.

The main exhibition under the title Form Follows Empathy with international artists awaits you in the recently re-discovered abandoned crematorium of Wedding, while a group show by last year’s Pictoplasma Academy Alumni will take place at our beloved Urban Spree. For the cinema lovers the big screen of Babylon am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz will show a unique animations program, while lively art happenings and performances at Platoon Kunsthalle ensure that you truly get into character. And the best of it: all of it is for free or with a quite small entrance fee!

And since we are friends with the festival for a couple of years we are giving away 3×2 tickets for the screenings. Just let us know the time and which screening you would love to attend in the comments section (including a valid email-adress). A little preview in pictures and the trailer after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on April 29th, 2015
in Art, Galleries, Wedding

Ramificazioni – An Art Project Portraying the Italian Expats of Berlin

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All photos: Maria Silvano

The new arriving people see Berlin as a promise, as a forest of stories sometimes open and sometimes inpenetrable. The migration dynamics of a Europe without borders are not fundamentally very different from those of the previous century: there are the same dreams of luck and prosperity, the same desire for a better life and a longing for what has been left behind that -it is known- is exacerbated with time.

“Ramificazioni” (Ramifications) is Maria Silvano’s point of view on her new city, Berlin. She took portraits and gathered the voices of fellow Italian migrants who moved to the German capital during the last years. They spoke about their deep and faraway roots, their desires and wishes to see their hopes bloom. Looking into the eyes of this hopeful young men and women involved in amazing projects you hope that they will find a fertile ground in Berlin.

The work consists of 13 photos and is accompanied by a soundtrack in which the voices of the photographed subjects overlap each other: problems of pronunciation and inflections language can be composed to create a forest of voices. Enjoy the pictures after the jump and find out the dates of the exhibition.

Claudio by Claudio
on April 14th, 2015
in Art, Photos