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Post wall studio city Berlin

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Abstract
Post-wall Berlin is today considered to be one of Europe’s leading art metropoleis, if not the city for artists today. The city doesn’t owe its prominence as contemporary art city to contemporary art institutions, to a scene of collectors or to the artists’ academies, but primarily to ‘the space and time’ the city can offer to artists. That is, Berlin has a reserve of big and cheap spaces at its disposal for artists to use as studio, as exhibition space, project space or improvised club, and living is cheap compared to other big cities in Europe. The reason for this would be lying in Berlin’s particular historical position, in its current politico-economical status suspended between the end of the city’s division and the still to come economic and demographic resurgence. This analytic portrayal of Berlin has become a cliché, most boldly phrased in Christoph Schlingensief’s often cited words “Scheitern als Chance”. Complementing these materialist factors of time and place, it is usually said, are factors like the layered history of the city and the unfinished process of Berlins re-realization, factors constituting a stimulating seed-bed for artistic activity. This discourse has been repeated time and again by Klaus Biesenbach, who institutionalized it in parallel with the institutionalization of his Kunst-Werke and of his own activities as curator, leading him from Berlin’s KW to Queens’s P.S.1., the prime site of the Alternative Spaces Movement that the early post-wall Berlin seems to have set out to imitate in many aspects, with a delay of twenty years. The goal of my paper is to scrutinize the parallels and links between the traditional artist’s studio and the art metropolis, through the case of Post-Wall Berlin. Both the studio and the city in which today’s nomadic artists choose to settle exist simultaneously as actual materialized space subjected to economical logics, as (self-) representation and as mythologized discursive construct. Every studio repeats or takes position to earlier famous studio’s, just like post-wall Berlin as artistic city positions itself with regard to New York; both involve mise-en-scène; and the (self-) description of the artistic city recuperates classic topoi used to describe artist’s studios, from ‘places of isolation and poverty’ to places of ‘process’ and of ‘the unfinished’, ‘Möglichkeitsräume’. My analysis will be framed and delimited by two similar publications on Berlin’s creative scene, one edited by a.o. Klaus Biesenbach, the other with a brief foreword by the latter: Children of Berlin (1999) and Kunst Station Berlin (2007). Each opens a number of theses on the (then) current Berlin and continues with a series of portraits of artists (in Children of Berlin besides artists other ‘pioneering’ entrepreneurs are presented as well); photographic views of Berlin surround the textual and photographic portraits of the artists and their studios. Analyzing these textual and photographic presentations of artists and studio/city spaces hopes to capture the aspects of the apparently established though unnamed concept of Berlin as post-wall studio-city.
Keywords
myth, art metropolis, iconography, city imagery, Berlin, studio

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MLA
Liefooghe, Maarten. “Post Wall Studio City Berlin.” GUST Doctoral Colloquium, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST), 2010. Print.
APA
Liefooghe, M. (2010). Post wall studio city Berlin. GUST Doctoral Colloquium, Proceedings. Presented at the GUST Doctoral Colloquium 2010 : City, architecture and colonial space, Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST).
Chicago author-date
Liefooghe, Maarten. 2010. “Post Wall Studio City Berlin.” In GUST Doctoral Colloquium, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Liefooghe, Maarten. 2010. “Post Wall Studio City Berlin.” In GUST Doctoral Colloquium, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST).
Vancouver
1.
Liefooghe M. Post wall studio city Berlin. GUST Doctoral Colloquium, Proceedings. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST); 2010.
IEEE
[1]
M. Liefooghe, “Post wall studio city Berlin,” in GUST Doctoral Colloquium, Proceedings, Ghent, Belgium, 2010.
@inproceedings{946210,
  abstract     = {Post-wall Berlin is today considered to be one of Europe’s leading art metropoleis, if not the city for artists today. The city doesn’t owe its prominence as contemporary art city to contemporary art institutions, to a scene of collectors or to the artists’ academies, but primarily to ‘the space and time’ the city can offer to artists. That is, Berlin has a reserve of big and cheap spaces at its disposal for artists to use as studio, as exhibition space, project space or improvised club, and living is cheap compared to other big cities in Europe. The reason for this would be lying in Berlin’s particular historical position, in its current politico-economical status suspended between the end of the city’s division and the still to come economic and demographic resurgence. This analytic portrayal of Berlin has become a cliché, most boldly phrased in Christoph Schlingensief’s often cited words “Scheitern als Chance”. Complementing these materialist factors of time and place, it is usually said, are factors like the layered history of the city and the unfinished process of Berlins re-realization, factors constituting a stimulating seed-bed for artistic activity. This discourse has been repeated time and again by Klaus Biesenbach, who institutionalized it in parallel with the institutionalization of his Kunst-Werke and of his own activities as curator, leading him from Berlin’s KW to Queens’s P.S.1., the prime site of the Alternative Spaces Movement that the early post-wall Berlin seems to have set out to imitate in many aspects, with a delay of twenty years. 
The goal of my paper is to scrutinize the parallels and links between the traditional artist’s studio and the art metropolis, through the case of Post-Wall Berlin. Both the studio and the city in which today’s nomadic artists choose to settle exist simultaneously as actual materialized space subjected to economical logics, as (self-) representation and as mythologized discursive construct. Every studio repeats or takes position to earlier famous studio’s, just like post-wall Berlin as artistic city positions itself with regard to New York; both involve mise-en-scène; and the (self-) description of the artistic city recuperates classic topoi used to describe artist’s studios, from ‘places of isolation and poverty’ to places of ‘process’ and of ‘the unfinished’, ‘Möglichkeitsräume’. My analysis will be framed and delimited by two similar publications on Berlin’s creative scene, one edited by a.o. Klaus Biesenbach, the other with a brief foreword by the latter: Children of Berlin (1999) and Kunst Station Berlin (2007). Each opens a number of theses on the (then) current Berlin and continues with a series of portraits of artists (in Children of Berlin besides artists other ‘pioneering’ entrepreneurs are presented as well); photographic views of Berlin surround the textual and photographic portraits of the artists and their studios. Analyzing these textual and photographic presentations of artists and studio/city spaces hopes to capture the aspects of the apparently established though unnamed concept of Berlin as post-wall studio-city.},
  author       = {Liefooghe, Maarten},
  booktitle    = {GUST Doctoral Colloquium, Proceedings},
  keywords     = {myth,art metropolis,iconography,city imagery,Berlin,studio},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Ghent, Belgium},
  pages        = {21},
  publisher    = {Ghent University. Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST)},
  title        = {Post wall studio city Berlin},
  year         = {2010},
}