left: artwork by Tony Cragg, right: Bar Brass.
You all know the story of Alice in Wonderland, right? Young Alice falls down a rabbit hole one day and lands in a magical world unknown to her. That’s more or less what it’s like when you visit the Bildgießerei Noack in Berlin. Maybe you haven’t even thought about it, considering all the art to be discovered in Berlin. Why this should change as soon as possible, I tell you here.
Most of the time, all roads to art lead to the Museum Island – after all, there’s a lot to see there. But sometimes you get off the path. Then you may suddenly find yourself in front of an impressive industrial building that calls itself the Bildgießerei Noack. What at first glance is architecturally stunning carries in its interior the history of a long tradition: the casting of sculptures.
In general, it can be said that hardly any other art form is as enduring as sculpture. Once cast in bronze, it becomes the embodied realization of an idea that has matured in the artist’s mind over months or even years. Some attract us by their daintiness and details, others make us speechless by their size and closeness to life. Besides, somehow one always has the urge to want to touch the sculptures, doesn’t one? More so, anyway, than is the case with paintings.
Over the past 125 years, countless artists have immortalized themselves in the Noack Foundry by choosing this location to translate their own ideas into sculpture. Among the most prominent of these are certainly Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Nicole Eisenmann and Leiko IKemura, Jonathan Meese and Neo Rauch. But they also include renowned contemporary artists such as the Polish artist Alicja Kwade or Thomas Zipp and Asta Gröting. At one point or another in their careers, they have all decided to place their trust in Noack for the production of their sculptural works.
artwork foreground: Elmgreen & Dragset
artwork foreground: Henry Moore
artwork foreground: Fritz Klimsch
In the recently opened exhibition “125 years of NOACK” you can see selected testimonies of this and fully immerse yourself in the diversity of sculpture art. After two long years of preparation, the large retrospective is finally here: Isabella Mannozzi, head of the collection and chief curator, has compiled fifty different sculpture positions from the past 125 years for the exhibition, providing an overview from modern to contemporary art. Among them are both German and renowned international artists. What all the works have in common is their material origin: each work was, of course, cast in the Bildgießerei itself.
The philosophy of Bildgießerei Noack builds on qualitative work and correspondence with the artists. The highest goal is to bring out the individuality and personality of the artist from the pieces. This is the recipe behind the success, the “Noack formula,” as the historian and first director of the German Historical Museum Christoph Stölzl writes in a text of the accompanying publication. And the viewers like it: Upon entering the Bildgießerei, one is immersed in a high-class museum landscape in which craftsmanship and the appeal of an industry still resonate. Not a wonderland in the classic sense, but in the best sense.
What makes the trip to the Bildgießerei even better is the interplay between art and gastronomy. The Bar Brass restaurant is located in the same building. And if you’ve ever spent a whole day in a museum, then you know how hungry you can get. All the art and impressions have to be processed – and that requires energy. After a visit to Bildgießerei Noack, you can recharge your batteries in the cozy Bar Brass restaurant.
Here, by the way, the industrial chic continues: you can expect a modern architectural interplay of high walls, exposed concrete and lots of light as well as a warm fireplace during the cold season. But what’s even more important: The cool restaurant serves really good food. Inspired by continental dishes and French cuisine, you’ll find everything your foodie heart desires. From a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables to matching wine pairings, Bar Brass interprets cuisine in a modern and contemporary way, topped off with a touch of international flair.
Essential to this is the idea of bringing art and gastronomy together. This is vividly underlined by the cooperation with Bildgießerei Noack. You could say that what the Bildgießerei does for our aesthetic sensibilities, the bar in turn transforms into extraordinary dishes for the taste buds. In the light-flooded restaurant area, you also sit at former workbenches from the Bildgießerei and thus feel a sense of connection with the history of arts and crafts, while you eat vitamin-rich and attractively prepared food.
So the next time you feel the need to encounter art, do it like Alice: down the rabbit hole and fall in love with art all over again at the Bildgießerei Noack.
By the way: The exhibition “125 years of NOACK” will be on display at Bildgießerei Noack until February 03, 2023. The opening hours are Monday to Friday between 12 to 17 o’clock. Admission is free of charge.
Bildgießerei Noack & Bar Brass, Am Spreebord 9, 10589 Berlin-Charlottenburg