The art project THE HAUS – BERLIN ART BANG opened its doors in a former bank building in Berlin-Schöneberg on April 1st. The building’s background is a story written by gentrification, but it comes with a twist. The property might have been bought by a company that’s going to build expensive condos there, before this happens though, the new owner agreed to let street artists take over the place.
The Dixons, an artist collective of Berlin spraypainters and part of the XI-Design Crew, are vouching for THE HAUS. The XI-Design Crew is well known in Berlin for their iconic murals, for example for the latest Star Wars movie. The Dixons however also find the time for free projects and THE HAUS might be the biggest one so far. Their idea was supported by the cultural administration of Berlin, with Klaus Lederer, Senator for Culture, also making an appearance at the opening and congratulating the team. Among others, further support came from a company donating spray cans and a hotel offering non-Berliners a place to stay (rumor has it, one of the artist used the rugs in his hotel room for decorating his space in THE HAUS).
Each of the 165 artists involved in the project was responsible for either one of the 108 rooms or a wall on the building’s 5 floors. The list of creative souls who assembled reads like the Who’s Who of the scene, including artists like 1 UP Crew, DXTR, Kkaa, Deer BLN, Gogo Plata, Herakut, Insane 51, or El Bocho. Most of the artists were invited, others submitted a concept to the initiators and then were given their space in THE HAUS if it met with the creative overall concept. Whether they spend only one night or the whole four months of preparation for realizing their project – it was totally up to them. The artists were given a free hand regarding the content of their work, some used their space to make a statement, while others main focus was to entertain and amuse, sometimes using the material found in the abandoned bank building (e. g. safes and blindes) sometimes throwing out all inventory and just painting on naked walls. Even though streetartists compete with each other naturally, THE HAUS brought them together to work each for their own, but all for the greater good.
As you as the visitors now enter the building, you’re asked to put your cell phone into a plastic bag – pictures are not allowed. Without revealing too much, it is safe to say that all your senses are going to be occupied by THE HAUS anyway and you wouldn’t want to miss a second of this experience by starring at your phone! For those craving for a souvenir nevertheless, there’s a book available exclusively THE HAUS that comes with high-res photos of all rooms. The team expected to sell around ten copies of the THE BUCH per day, on the first three days they’ve sold 2.500 already though, making the first edition sold out immediately.
The general entrance to THE HAUS is free, everyone is encouraged to donate what they can and want when they exit. However, I strongly suggest to take the opportunity to book a paid for tour in advance (they’re also available in English). You’ll then be guided by one of the artists who’ll give you a more intimate and private insight into the project. My tour guide was Icke Art, who has his room on the second floor. He knows all of the artists involved and told us great background stories. For example you’ll find out, why one of the artists destroyed exactly half of his record collection or why another one was only known as “The Vampire” among his fellow artists…
One important thing shouldn’t be forgotten as you’re probably considering a trip to Berlin now: THE HAUS was made to be destroyed. When its gates close on the 31st of May, the wrecking balls are going to take over and not a single piece of THE HAUS will remain. It’s one of the most fascinating art projects the city has seen in a while, so better make sure to pay a visit while you can!
Photo’s courtesy of Lisa Schmidt for THE HAUS, with the exception of the two outdoor photos which are by Stephanie Wiegert.
THE HAUS – BERLIN ART BANG
April 1st – May 31st
10787 Berlin – Germany
The Dixons (from left to right: Marco Bollenbach, Jörn Reiners, Kimo von Rekowski)