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PLACEText: Peta Jenkin

The city of Berlin attracts artists from all over the world, not least because of its affordable and relaxed lifestyle, but because of the innumerable amount of commercial and artist run spaces. Cultural life really thrives here, and it’s hard to keep count of the many galleries and cultural spaces that have emerged in the past few years, not to mention the increased presence of Berlin’s galleries at the major art fairs.

© GlogauAIR

Nestled between a park and a canal in the heart of Berlin Kreuzberg is GlogauAIR – a recently established contemporary arts centre. The former school building was purchased by renowned Spanish artist Chema Alvargonzález, who has thankfully seen to the building’s complete renovation, promising to provide not only artist studios but a cultural space for public presentations in the form of exhibitions, performance, screenings, concerts and artist talks.

GlogauAIR offers a number of three and six month residencies each year, to artists in all fields of art practice, and it’s this wide approach which sets it apart from other residencies. Artists working in the fields of anything from more traditional practices such as painting and architecture, through to more contemporary practices in the field of electronic music, net art installation and video art, are all encouraged to apply for the residency program.

GlogauAir studio spaces © GlogauAIR

Katerina Valdivia Bruch, GlogauAIR’s Artistic Director, has been running the space since the end of April 2007 and is keen to develop it further beyond the scope of an artist residency program, into more of a cultural centre, to promote the exchange of international artists and provide an international network in the field of contemporary arts. At the moment, her focus of attention is to create an international platform for creative exchanges and collaborations between Asian, European and Latin-American artists. She is also in charge of ‘Arts in Conversation’, a regular feature of the GlogauAIR programme, in which visiting artists are give the opportunity to discuss their work to other artists and members of the public. It’s an open information session, a chance to open up the dialogue for a more in-depth discussion about the artist’s practice.

I went to meet Katerina at GlogauAIR, to find out more about the centre, and asked for her thoughts on what makes Berlin such an attractive place for artists to visit and base themselves in.

‘Berlin has always been a place for the arts. In the Twentieth Century, avant-garde artists came to Berlin to develop their creativity and to present their work to an international audience. Later, during the wall period, West Berlin was attractive for its special status as a cultural capital and international scene, which was closed to Former East Germany and other East countries, but was opened to the world.

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