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Airstrip, former Airport Tempelhof, 2010

                               

Neukoelln

Exhibition projekt 2004 – 2012


Die weiße Residenz - Kuenstlerische Fotografien der Gropiusstadt 2002 – 2012
Group exhibition at Gemeinschaftshaus Gropiusstadt
September 14th - Dezember 21th 2012

LICHTUNG Die fotografische Sammlung des Museums Neukoelln
February 9th - September 30th 2012



My relationship with Neukoelln, a huge quarter of Berlin, started in 1992, when I rented a studio in a factory building in its northern part, an old worker´s quarter. I built up a darkroom and started to work there as a photographer. My direct neighbours were a turkish mosque and a fitness studio. When I worked in my studio I listened to the sound of praying and the noise of falling weights.Through a big window I was looking into various backyards and on a playground.

In 2005 I decided not only to look out of my window, but to start photographing in the streets of Neukoelln. The reasons to do that were simply based on the idea that it felt important to me, to relate to my neighbourhood, to explore more of it and to create my own image of the quarter. Different to the image of Neukoelln created by the media, as the national symbol of disintegration, violence and unsuccessful education policy in the middle of it´s capital.

The city Berlin originates from many villages and small towns that have grown together in the 18th and 19th century. »Coelln« was the sister town of Old Berlin, located on the southern Spree Island, today the historic core of Berlin. In 1713 the twin cities were merged together. Old Berlin was twice as big, so it kept its name. »New Coelln« (Neukoelln) became its growing southern extension. Still today in Berlin it feels like living in one of these villages. Many people I met in Neukölln would never want to live anywhere else. Nowadays the quarter consists of many very different areas. The northern part, the industrial area along the canals of the river Spree, in between the Garden City of Britz and in the south Gropiusstadt, a modernist city projected by Walther Gropius and Rudow.

The northern part of the quarter had attracted more and more artists to work and live there in recent years, due to its affordable rents and its enormous cultural diversity. I had become an attractive area.
The owner of our building wanted to have his part of the cake and planned to turn all working spaces into loft apartments. I was forced to leave my studio after 17 years and moved to another quarter of Berlin, but I continued to photograph in Neukoelln.

This work was first shown in January 2011 in the communal »Galerie im Koernerpark«in Neukoelln and received a very enthusiastic reception by visitors especially from Neukoelln. The exhibition was accompanied by short texts I wrote about strange encounters I had with people in the streets. They show in a humorous and sometimes absurd way how people react at my presence as a photographer. (I will translate some of them soon into english.)