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Berghain is reopening next month – as an art gallery

New works by Olafur Eliasson, Tacita Dean and Wolfgang Tillmans will appear at the legendary Berlin nightclub

Huw Oliver
Written by
Huw Oliver

Never managed to get into Berlin techno palace Berghain? You could be in with a chance this autumn, as the club – long famous for its exacting door policies – is turning into an art gallery showcasing works by major Berlin-based artists. And this time, pretty much anyone will be allowed in.

Earlier this month, the legendary nightclub reopened for the first time since March with a week-long sound art installation, by artists Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl (aka tamtam), in its imposing Kessel Hall space. Now areas including the dance floor, the Panorama bar and the club’s infamous darkrooms are set to reopen for an indefinite period as a huge gallery displaying works created during lockdown by 85 artists working in Berlin – including Olafur Eliasson, Tacita Dean, Isa Genzken and Wolfgang Tillmans.

From September 9, visitors can book guided tours taking them through the 3,500-square-metre premises, which will be filled with photography, sculpture, painting, video, sound and performance works. The show, called ‘Studio Berlin’, is being organised by the foundation owned by art-collector couple Christian and Karen Boros. Their incredible Sammlung Boros collection is housed in a former WWII bunker in the centre of the city, which also happens to be where Berghain’s current owners put on club shows in the mid-’90s.

BerghainThe usual queue at Berghain. Photograph: Shutterstock

Of the collaboration, Christian told The Art Newspaper: ‘We wanted to show this incredible artistic production. Berlin was frozen, so why not think differently? Why not work together?’ The entrance fee will go towards supporting Berghain, one of many Berlin clubs struggling to survive in the wake of the lockdown.

In keeping with the club’s standard policy, visitors will be barred from taking photos inside the venue. However, in sharp contrast to its selective door practice, anyone over the age of 16 will be able to get in to the exhibition – ‘even grandmas with zimmer frames’, according to Boros. A family day out to Berghain? 2020 never stops baffling.

Elsewhere in Berlin, major clubs have reopened as summer beer gardens, and the city now wants to turn its parks into massive open-air venues.

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