Exhibition: 24.08.2018 – 16.09.2018 | Opening Reception: 23.08.2018, 19:00
“Berlin Zulage – BERLIN ALLOWANCE” – Group Show with Eberhard Bosslet
LOCATION: Küstlerhaus Bethaien, Kottbusser Straße 10, 10999 Berlin/DE
West-Berlin / Art / 1980s
Presented works by:
Fritz Balthaus, Käthe Be, Tabea Blumenschein, Eberhard Bosslet, Michael Brynntrup, Frieder Butzmann, Maria Eichhorn, endart, Jakobine Engel, Janos Frecot, Ulrike Grossarth, Christian Hasucha, Hans Hemmert, Knut Hoffmeister, Michael Hughes, Kain Karawahn, Christina Kubisch , Axel Lieber, Olaf Metzel, Peter Müller, Wolfgang Müller, Anne Peschken / Marek Pisarsky (urban art), Rosa von Praunheim, Raffael Rheinsberg, Gerd Rohling, Otmar saddle, Eva-Maria Schön, Thomas Schulz, Nanaé Suzuki, Klaus Theuerkauf , The Deadly Doris, Hans Hs Winkler, Georg Zey
The title of this project, “Berlinzulage”, refers to the extra, tax-free allowance of eight percent paid to every employee in West-Berlin by the state during the time of the Berlin Wall. In this way an attempt was made to stem the flow of production means and labor force away from the walled-in frontier city, to boost the shrinking economy, and attract anxious capital investment. On the other hand, the rather desolate state of large areas of the inner-city districts and the retreat of capitalism provided a great number of free spaces – in both concrete and metaphorical sense –, which chiefly attracted more unconventional characters to the city. Artists and creatives, in particular, knew how to utilize the city’s vacant rooms and waste areas during the slump. And so “Berlinzulage” is a fitting name for what may be associated with the situation in Berlin and also understood as added value in retrospect.
The exhibition project “Berlinzulage” aims to track the artistic strategies and tendencies that could be realized easily at that time, in a context that was distant from the market and indeed scarcely regulated at all. They led to a tremendous expansion of the art concept, regarding both places and protagonists, in theory and practice, the conceptual and the Underground. Unerringly, artists uncovered new fields of action and dialogue, captured waste ground, and extended the concept of public space. They could succeed in this because contemporary protagonists faced neither great financial pressure nor an exaggerated compulsion to professionality. A world that may hold various thought-provoking impulses for today, in particular after the victory parade of globalized capitalism.
Künstlerhaus Bethanien has now been in existence since 1974, which makes it one of the oldest artists’ residences in the world. In the old Bethanien Hospital on Mariannenplatz in Kreuzberg, from the very beginning, the focus was on the trinity of artists’ accommodation, artistic work, and presentation: oriented towards fine art, theatre, dance, performance, film, video, music, literature, and urban history and phenomena. At the time there was nothing similar with such a consciously innovative character, and so Künstlerhaus Bethanien and its creed soon became talked about. A large number of the artists presented in “Berlinzulage” attained early visibility as a result of the Künstlerhaus’ communicative qualities. It, therefore, seemed logical to realize “Berlinzulage” with a retrospective examination of the 1980s in the showroom of the institution in its new, present location in the “Lichtfabrik” in Kreuzberg, to which it moved in 2010. This exhibition helps to visualize continuities in the artists’ individual creative production – in a comparison of older and more recent works, but also in recalling the themes and artistic practices which were virulent back then, many of which are (again) up-to-date and relevant now.
An important component of the project is an extensive catalog book (design: Tobias Jacob), which will be available permanently as documentation and a retrospective stocktaking to supplement the exhibition’s temporary aspect.
“Berlinzulage” is curated by Christoph Tannert, Anne Peschken and Marek Pisarsky.
An accompanying film program will be curated by Claus Löser and shown in the fsk cinema (Segitzdamm 2, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg): www.fsk-kino.de
The exhibition and catalog have been realized with generous support from the Berlin Senate Office for Culture and Europe – Department of Culture.