Berlin’s Brutalist Cathedral of Contemporary Art: St. Agnes

”Another Winter” – Aleksandar Duravcevic,  Feb/March 2017

Berlin in recent years has become known for the space and freedom it gives emerging artists to create and find their artistic voice. Meanwhile, more and more art galleries make their way into the art market to represent and exhibit their work; one of our favorite ones we always love to visit is König Gallery in Kreuzberg.

König Gallery was founded by Johann König in 2002. His innovative spirit showed from the very beginning, when, at the age of 21 he invited his artist friend Jeppe Hein to install a wrecking ball in the gallery, destroying chunks of its wall as it moved about the space, and among the viewers. His innovative spirit, years later, and the urge to move away from the ‘white cube’, had him acquire an old unused church and turn it into an art space. St. Agnes is a Postwar massive concrete building of Brutalist style, designed by Werner Düttmann and built in the 1960s. A former catholic church, which however was out of service since 2004, found new life in 2015 when König re-opened it as the second location for his gallery, (now serving as the main space) while he also resides with his wife Lena in the church’s former rectory.

photo: David Kasparek / CC (with filter)

“The Colony” – Rinus van de Velde, March/April 2017

“Hitzefrei” – Michael Sailstorfer, Feb/March 2017

The building is windowless and top-lit, making it seem rough and raw from the outside, but soft and bright from within- a perfect way to display art. It currently represents 38 international, emerging and established artists, mostly belonging to a younger generation. The program’s focus is on interdisciplinary, concept-oriented and space-based approaches in a variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography and performance. The gallery has successfully placed works in a variety of private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Guggenheim Foundation. The artists represented have solo exhibitions with institutions worldwide, and regularly partake in prestigious group exhibitions, such as Documenta and the biennials in Venice, Berlin, New York and others. Shows in the main gallery usually occur only every two months, at a slower rhythm than the typical six-week gallery opening schedule, to allow for more ambitious projects. (See Katharina Grosse‘s installations). König follows in a long line of Berlin gallerists who have taken it upon themselves to create world-class exhibitions to counter the lack of funding that hinders much of the city’s museum scene.

“Eight Miles High” – Anselm Reyle, May-June 2017

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2015

“Mirror Balloons VII” – Jeppe Hein, May 2015

“The Smoking Kid” – Katharina Grosse, May/June 2015

Catch the current exhibition of Tue Greenfort called ‘400 million Years’, running from July 15th till August 14th, 2017.

König Galerie, St. Agnes, Alexandrinenstr. 118-121, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg

Open Tue-Sun 11-18h, free entry

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