48 hours Neukölln

The festival 48 hours Neukölln has grown to one of the biggest independent art-events in Berlin over the last years. Other than in curated, more or less „elite“ or „high profile“ cultural events, 48 hours Neukölln is pretty much open to everone and everybody and is not only limited to visual arts – you will also find circles of young writers reading from their (mostly unpublished) works, theater is played in various bars, handcraft and associations play their part. For there are (i do estimate) over a hundred venues to be seen, some as unusual as a „hindu temple“ and an „iranian church“, one has a hard time to pick what to see. For the sake of length i will present only some special places and what i found to be the highligts of my personal tour, the quality – as is to be expected in such an open format – differs quite heavily.


I started my way through the thick belly of independent galleries and off-spaces at the Saalbau Neukölln, a communal gallery run by the district.

Saalbau Neukölln – Labor Neukölln 2 – Agora collective

The Agora collective (Caique Tizzi, Renata Har, Marcela Donato in cooperation with Caio Haar) presents objects, very much in the tradition of the objet trouvé, that are linked to the communal environment of the gallery. For this project the Agora collective sent letters to neighbours and residents, asking them to bring an object of their choice to the gallery, that has some kind of special meaning to them. The objects are presented at the backside wall of the gallery, ranging from wooden plates from southern germany to painted ceramic busts to plants. The persons who brought by an object, noted the story behind it on a little entry form. The storys where than spoken in english by one of the organisators (i suppose) and you can listen to them over earphones, while you have a look at the objects.

Until 28th of July, Saalbau Neukölln, Karl-Marx Straße 141, 12043 Berlin

Umspannwerk Richardstrasse

The old abandoned Umspannwerk (relay station) in Richardstraße was a treat from the spaces inside. on 4 floors you have very raw industrial halls, fitting perfectly to show contemporary art. Surely, there is some renovation to be done to use the spaces besides a festival format, but anyways, very interesting layout. The shown artworks on floors 2 to 4 were – sadly – overall pretty bad and not worth being mentioned. My advice: have a look at the spaces, if you have the possibility – and the strange barns in the courtyard were supposedly for sheep. Nobody seemingly knows actually, why they were installed next to the relay station.

Umspannwerk, Richardstraße 20-21, 12043 Berlin

Galerie im Körnerpark

For more insight into the possibilities of a festival like 48 hours Neukölln, we move our attention to the communal gallery im Körnerpark. the Körnerpark itself actually is a very nice, classical park with a fountain, an Orangerie (in which the gallery is located) and has quite a history (the wiki link is only in german). After making a stroll in the nice gardenlike park, you enter the nig terrace in front of the gallery, were a fat flamenco dancing woman was performing rather poorly, if you ask me. The communal gallery shows a very strange exhibition on the virgin mary and places of pilgrimage, linked to the theme of this year: art and cult. The exhibition oscillates between information and unwillingy funny exhibits, naive paintings, photos, statuettes from Lourde and other places, averall not critical or even with an (at least obvious) point of reference besides ginving information on virgin mary pilgrimage. Has in my opinion nothing to do in a communal gallery, but it is again a nice space to visit. In the small room next to it the hobby-painters from the hospital Neukölln exhibited their latest works. Interesting indeed – and actually quite funny but very very bad.

Galerie im Körnerpark, Körnerpark, Schierker Str. 8, 12051 Berlin, exhibition until 28.07.2013


THE M{}ESUM, run by Anna Livia Löwendahl-Atomic, is housed in small two room space in Jonasstraße is what you could call an philosophical long term intervention. It has announced itself to be the place where all lost things are stored, although you cannot see or touch or mesure them and nobody knows exactly what is in it. In a way this takes the idea of multiple universes serious, because possibility is a big part of the „non-existing“, on the other hand it negates the linear understanding of time, given the pretext, that everything that has been but is no more is collected in this imaginary space that does not need space. Ah! It is getting complicated. I love it. A second approach to the „non-existing“, the obscure and „never has been“ part of the world is the collection of statements on lost things („I lost my virginity to an ugly guy“), possibilities, experiences never made and so on, donated to the M{}ESUM by the visitors via a specially designed entry-form. The collection of these statements, as  i will call them, ranges into the thousands and may very well be an interesting source of research on what was, has been, never will be and so on. Possibilities, or really decisions really, especially those we did not choose, are a vital part of us and therefore society and reality (which you cannot very good separate). So if you happen to be around Jonasstraße, it is a definite location to visit – and maybe you will be able to play the lottery, as i did, and if you are lucky, you win an artwork!

The M{}ESUM, Jonas Strasse 31, 12053 Berlin, website

The imaginary district – Room E116

The room E116 is a studio house with studio-apartments located in a backyard on Emserstraße 116 (well, that could have been guessed, i suppose). In Imaginary district, the local artists (and possibly friends) exhibit a wide variety of works, most of them had a substantial quality besides of personal taste (what a relieve!). Most interesting in my opinion are the artist book projects done by the inhabitants and associated artists. The (mostly) unique books, some of them done in a collective, arrange drawings, little texts, ideas and gouache to somewhat coherent works that have a distinct notceabilty and range of expression. A selection of the published works can be looked at online on the website of the project space.

E116, Emser Straße 116, 12051 Berlin, contact website for hours and events

There was more to be seen and to be stumbled upon, many an exhibition had interesting facettes, a lot were just – sorry – bas, so this will be it for now. Until next year, Neukölln.





Über philippkoch

author and curator, specializing in literature and writing on visual arts
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