Berlin Artists Stage Protest Against Studio Evictions
Around 250 demonstrators from a conglomerate of threatened studios took to the streets in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district on Wednesday. The group Allianz bedrohter Berliner Atelierhäuser (Alliance of Threatened Berlin Studios) protested against the plans of real estate developers to turn studio buildings into luxury condominiums.
Demonstrators congregated on Oranienplatz square, where they stacked 100 black-painted wood boxes emblazoned with the words “Art attracts, it doesn’t drive out–Against the death of Berlin’s studios.” The boxes formed an imposing black wall, briefly blocking traffic.
The boxes were then arranged across the square, and designated representatives read out their demands from politicians and real estate investors.
The black wall was an allusion to the famous mural by the Italian street-artist Blu in Kreuzberg’s Curvystraße, which the artist covered in black paint last year in protest of the real-estate development on that location (see Berlin’s Most Famous Mural To Be Torn Down).
“The demonstration is for new thinking,” co-organizer Jochen Küpper told artnet News. “Three studio houses have already been cancelled, and others are in danger of being evicted. Together with the property owners and with the city of Berlin, we want to offer other visions for the city that will be as attractive, as powerful, and as interesting.”
Florian Schmidt, studio commissioner at the state-subsidized artist association BKK Berlin, told artnet News: “We are looking for 100 supporters who will start a network and work on this issue. There are collectors and gallery owners on the list of supporters, too. Nicolas Berggruen is one. He owns a lot of property in Berlin, including the studio house Bethanien, and we want to suggest to him to let us use spaces in between usages, pre-development.”
2014 was one of the worst years for Berlin’s artists and creatives. Four major studio spaces were closed and over 150 artists were evicted from their studios.
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