Each month, as part of the series „places and hearts“, we present independent art spaces from all over the world that we discovered over the time. For us, independence doesn’t only mean freedom and happiness, but also free space for creative and lateral thinking. There is a strong cohesion and exchange between artists and different spaces that we admire.
Frankfurt am Main (founded December 2013) is an artist run gallery located in a former ice cream café in Neukölln Berlin. The programme concentrates on solo show’s of young, international artists. Because of their great work we have discovered amazing young artists. We gladly think back to the exhibitions „The glow pt. 2: gravity regimes“ by Valinia Svoronou and „This city on the seashore, they say it is built of marble“ by Deniz Eroğlu. We are looking forward to 2017 with Steve Bishop – „Seeing is forgetting what you’re looking at or what it’s called or something.“ (29 January – 26 February, 2017).
Is „home“ the place where you’ve been born?
It has become so again recently.
I grew up just outside of Venice but I always wished to be from Rome. After nearly 10 years in Berlin the city feels like home.
What do you see and feel while looking out of the window?
How would your best friend describe your rooms?
A scene out of Brian de Palma’s 2012 film Passion.
How do you decide what artist you exhibit?
This depends on a few things; most of the people we have shown are artists we’ve established personal relationships with over time. Things come up through conversation about projects they want to envision and we invite them to formulate these ideas at Frankfurt. It is difficult though because there are more artists we want to show than we have allotted time for, so it also comes down to timing and what works for the artist as well.
When we first started we focused on making solo exhibitions that would make a strong statement for the artist. We eventually wanted to include more artists and began hosting ephemeral, off-site projects. Our programming always originates in close collaboration and discussion and we already have done quite a bit of work to establish our 2017 program.
Your favorite art space?
I can’t say I have a favorite; there are really a lot of art spaces that have exhibited great talent. Probably our most boisterous relationship is with Steffen and Stian over at 1857 Oslo. They are some of the most genuinely interested people I’ve had the pleasure to meet.
Why do we need independent art spaces?
Independent spaces can foster groups and scenes on a more “personal level” between artist and audience; These scenes tend to develop a style or voice that is strengthened in a larger context. I think it is important to promote this and work alongside more commercial outlets to support artists in various aspects of their practice.
There are more artists, curators and galleries than ever before in history, but at the same time, the art world has become extremely systematized and professionalized. We aren’t trying to position ourselves as anti-establishment necessarily, but we do believe that alternative platforms are crucial to maintaining an exciting and diverse scene.
What means independence for you?
Having the ability to do what you want to do without having to respond to anyone.
Working outside the institutional structure offers the chance to have a different working process and to experience time in a different way. Nevertheless, it’s a status that is hard to maintain because you still have to be able to finance the program. It takes a fine balance to do this without compromise.
For what Frankfurt am Main stands for?
For us, the name itself stands for heterotopia; a way of demarcating a space of otherness. I was always inspired by the notion of dystopian environments portrayed in films such as Blade Runner, Total Recall or The Matrix—the general populations in these films live in some sort of Utopian environment that is contrasted directly with a dystopian one. In a way I feel like Frankfurt stands as a Utopian German city; it is the only German city with a skyline, it is home to the European Central Bank, and yet the glass façades of power and finance directly overshadow brothels and slums. This, coupled with “Frankfurt” as a nomenclature for utopian ideas—Frankfurt School, Frankfurt Kitchen, Neues Frankfurt—was fascinating and felt like it would be a weird albeit confusing way to displace our project in Berlin.
Something you‘ve always wanted to say?
Frankfurt am Main
5 December – 28 January, 2017
Seeing is forgetting what you’re looking at or what it’s called or something.
29 January – 26 February, 2017