Longtime Partner at Contemporary Fine Arts Opens Solo Venture in Berlin

Philipp Haverkampf started his own business after 17 years at CFA.

Philipp Haverkampf. Photo: PATRICK MCMULLAN.

Philipp Haverkampf, a former partner in Berlin’s Contemporary Fine Arts (CFA) gallery for 17 years, has opened his own gallery in the city’s upmarket neighborhood of Charlottenburg.

The gallerist’s eponymous new venture comes at a time when CFA is downsizing, leaving its David Chipperfield-designed location adjacent to Berlin’s Museum Island and relocating the entire business to its smaller space in Charlottenburg. According to Haverkampf, this shift caused him to rethink his position, encouraging him to go solo. CFA will continue to operate normally, run by Nicole Hackert and Bruno Brunnet.

“There’s upheaval everywhere and everything is changing,” Haverkampf told artnet News over the phone. “And I thought, if I’m ever going to do something on my own then now’s the time. In the current situation, everything is being restructured, everything is calming down a little bit.”

Installation view “Kein Licht, Wenig Wasser” at Philipp Haverkampf Gallery. Photo: Philipp Haverkampf Galerie.

Inaugurating the gallery’s lofty Altbau space—complete with hardwood floors and decorative plaster ceilings—last month, Haverkampf’s first show featured works by Daniel Hauptmann, Alexander Ruthner, and Okka-Esther Hungerbühler.

In the near future the gallery will put on two more group shows before launching a series of solo exhibitions focusing primarily on emerging artists. “At the start I’ll be showing young artists some of whom will have their first appearances—just because that’s what I want to do right now, but also because the big international stars have plenty of opportunities to exhibit,” he explained.

Installation view “Kein Licht, Wenig Wasser” at Philipp Haverkampf Gallery. Photo: Philipp Haverkampf Galerie.

In the more distant future, Haverkampf said he hopes to add some more established artists to the mix, and didn’t rule out working with some artists from his time at CFA. “[The program] will undoubtedly be augmented by better-known artists, who have been around a little longer… At CFA, we unfortunately lost some artists from the program and perhaps I will show some of them later on.” But, he insisted, his first priority is to define his own profile.

Despite Berlin’s notoriously weak buying power, Haverkampf believes the German capital is the best place for him to lauch his own gallery. “Within Germany there is no real alternative [to Berlin],” he said. “And I didn’t really want to go abroad because cities like New York or London are far more costly. Berlin remains a good location to operate from because of the interesting mix of galleries and the large number of artists working there.”

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