The newest 'squat' of Berlin's iconic Tacheles: from a graffiti artists' constructing to an exhibition corridor | EUROtoday

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Berlin just isn’t wealthy, however it’s horny. The phrase is from the previous mayor-governor of the capital, Klaus Wowereit, and stays legitimate 16 years after he first uttered it as a slogan to draw tourism. There is little cash, however the arts intermingle on this metropolis including parts that make it engaging. The newest merger is Tacheles, an previous warehouse shall be busy by artists and graffiti artists between 1990 and 2021 now transformed into an exhibition corridor by the well-known museum Photographicwith headquarters in Stockholm and branches in New York, Shanghai and Tallinn.

The as soon as dilapidated seven-story constructing, a logo that Berlin was freer, extra inventive and wilder than different metropolises, has been reworked, with out its painted and partly filthy inside having modified, into a fancy with bars, a powerful restaurant, a corridor for occasions and even a bakery. All this to finance the exhibitions, open for that purpose till 11 at night time, in order that guests can mix their go to with dinner or a drink.

«We don’t obtain subsidies, lotteries or donations and we couldn’t stay solely from the sale of tickets to exhibitions. We help ourselves and partly because of the hospitality business,” he says. Yoram Roth, president of Fotografiska Berlin. Roth, a Berliner who previously lived in New York, is a DJ, photographer, art collector and cultural investor. His goal is to turn the new Tacheles into a showcase for the best photographers in the world.

Renovating old buildings has become second nature. Even if they are dilapidated, if they are of interest or are deeply rooted in the collective memory, they are not demolished, but rather renovated in a spectacular way and opened up to surprising new uses, and in a sustainable way. There is the majestic Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires or the great hotel built in Canfranc (Huesca) from the façade of the international station inaugurated in grand style in 1928 by the then president of the French Republic and the King of Spain and where, supposedly, some 86 tons of Nazi gold were allegedly smuggled through in the 1940s.

The Tacheles was unmistakable. It opened onto Oranienburger Strasse, in the Mitte neighborhood, with an impressive portal that gave a glimpse a gloomy graffiti maze. At the back of the building, the broken walls and floors formed a cliff of brick and concrete to an open field eaten up by weeds. There were metal sculptures and, at one point, even a decommissioned MIG, a Russian fighter plane that became a landmark of the alternative art center. Artists worked inside and outside, exhibitions, performances of all kinds, concerts and parties were held.


In 2012, after many failed attempts, the Tacheles was evicted, but there were so many protests that the city did not dare to remove it from the list of protected buildings. It remained dormant, waiting for investors respectful of the historical memory of a city that for its inhabitants is transforming too quickly.

The investors arrived and the immense Tacheles lot came back to life. The wasteland that surrounded it has disappeared under new buildings with offices, 275 apartments and commercial premisesa supermarket, the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur porcelain factory and a Porsche showroom.

Art also rebounded. In September 2023, Fotografiska landed in the 5,500 square meters of a Tacheles renovated by the German designer Werner Aisslinger, under the supervision of the architects Herzog and de Meuron. There was consensus from the first moment. The idea was to look to the future while still embracing the past, and to do so in a light-hearted way. That's very Berlin.

«It was important to give the substance room to breathe. But that doesn't mean we framed the old walls and paintings with graffiti and illuminated them with spotlights. It was more about proceeding carefully,” says Aisslinger.

“We wish to deliver a breath of contemporary air to the Berlin museum scene and be essentially the most open museum within the metropolis”

Yoram Roth, president of Fotografiska Berlin

Many spaces are characterized by a careful balance between raw, industrial materials and more comfortable, luxurious elements, such as decorative lamps and heavy, patterned fabrics. He Veronica restaurant, on the fourth floor, is an example. The space incorporates one of the building's best-known works of art – depicting former German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a Mohawk hairstyle in a private dining room with solid wood furniture and velvet upholstery.

But the most important thing for the Fotografiska organizers is that the new Tacheles is as open as the old one. “With our strategy we wish to deliver a breath of contemporary air to the Berlin museum scene and be essentially the most open museum within the metropolis,” emphasizes Roth. Furthermore, Fotografiska Berlin aspires to become a place where you can meet someone or spend time with friends, looking at art with a glass of wine in hand. “That makes us unique,” ​​he explains.

This is important, since there is now a whole generation that prefers to stay at home. With long opening hours, there is the possibility of reaching not only schoolchildren. To ensure that Berliners also become regular visitors, the exhibitions will be scheduled in rapid rotation. There will be a total of 14 per year.