In Berlin, the task of choosing which art galleries to visit can be daunting. Our own directory contains more than 250—not including the alternative art spaces which roughly equal that same amount— and the list continues to grow daily. So we’ve come up with a new series listing some of the best galleries and art spaces from each district to help you navigate the labyrinthine art scene of the city.
Disclaimer: by no means will these be definitive lists. Not at all. We realize that in a city with such an eclectic and ever-evolving art scene, the task of selecting a few outstanding places would not only be naïve but also limiting. It would imply a disregard for the wide variety of tastes in the aesthetic palate, from the most established to the most experimental, which ultimately give Berlin its art appeal.
We begin our Neukölln tour with SAVVY Contemporary, the self proclaimed “laboratory of form ideas.” Nestled on the historic Richardplatz, SAVVY (members pictured above) prides itself in being a nexus for Western art and Non-Western art. Sensing the general trend towards an Euro-American aesthetic that most Berlin spaces seem to orbit, SAVVY pulls the unheard voices into conversation. It was established with the focus on expanding this one-sided view of “Western art” to include the work of artists from Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia. Every two months they hold a new art exhibition following their particular format: a curator is invited to bring together two artists, one Western while the other non, and engage them in an aesthetic conversation with the hopes of transcending cultural and geographical borders. A savvy experiment, indeed.
At the doorstep of Idrawalot. Photo courtesy of Idrawalot founder, Karl Addison.
Idrawalot is quite hard to miss. With its iconic mural decorating it’s facade, you imagine immediately what extraordinary knick-knacks such a building must house. This is the brainchild of Karl Addison, a multidisciplinary artist that has made Idrawalot into a playground and haven for drawing, screen-printing, murals, paintings, urban and contemporary art. A nice little feat is that with every new exhibition, a limited edition book of the artwork on display gets published. And now providing its artists with its own in-house screen-printing service, it’s become even more attractive than it already was!
Artconnect Berlin founding director, Júlia Marí Bernaus, outside of their headquarters. Photo: CPhillips
Just steps away from Idrawalot, you’ll also find the Artconnect Berlin headquarters. ACB is a space of both equal physical and virtual relevance. It is a waterhole where the creative community of Berlin gathers to network and feed each other (both in the literal and metaphorical sense). The space is known for it’s networking breakfasts and is the host of a series of workshops throughout the year to aid artists in both their studio practice and their connectedness to the city—not to mention the art exhibitions that they also host from time to time. And, if that were not enough, they also rent out spaces where one may “co-work” with them!
Valentin Plessy, co-owner, at the entrance of AKA in Neukölln. Photo: Chris Phillips
“Art, tattoo, piercing, body art”: the sign outside AKA says it all. It is a space that acts as a hybrid between the art on the walls and the art on the body. The unassuming facade of the space quickly transforms once you set foot in and discover the two back rooms where the tattoo and body piercing rituals take place. AKA prides itself in their resident tattoo artists, generally coming from non-traditional tattoo backgrounds—painting, illustration, and even street art. Their gallery space, much like their resident artists, is also very versatile. Expect to see anything from painting, drawing, installation, and even performance at their receptions.
Director Anne Schwarz in front of her gallery in Neukölln. Photo: Chris Phillips
One block away from AKA, and the last stop of this tour, you’ll find Schwarz Contemporary. In its third year since inauguration, Schwarz Contemporary has become one of the best-known galleries in Neukölln. With a focus on drawing and painting, the gallery represents the work of strong mid-career artists, generally between 30 and 40 years of age. Nestled right by border with Kreuzberg (another creative hub), its location makes it a perfect ending destination where to finish your art seeing for the day and relax among the many cafes, bars, and/or restaurants in the area!
Follow our Neukölln gallery tour here.
Article by Jovanny Varela Ferreyra