Back Rooms: Group exhibition
But life changed continually anyway, and yet always stayed the same, whether you read novels or racing paper, whether you wrote books or did your nightly patrols. I crossed Senckenberganlage and went to the high-rise law faculty, which was also on circuit one. There was a control box on the roof. I went up in the lift. The view was impressive. In the twilight, with the slim silhouettes of the tower blocks against the reddish horizon and the smoking factory chimneys by the River Main, the city offered a view which compensated for many a bitter hour. – Jörg Fauser (Raw Material)
In a way Frankfurt am Main has always been placeless. It was never based in the city it took its name of. Quite tricky not to get lost if you used Google maps to get there. Caution: In the real Frankfurt am Main there is even a street with the same name, Wildenbruchstraße, located in the northern outskirts of the banking metropolis. The Frankfurt version of the Wildenbruchstraße crosses Wilhelm-Busch-Straße and Adalbert-Stifter-Straße in the so-called Dichterviertel – the quarter of poets – and it’s not at all the kind of Frankfurt street you have in mind when you think of it: It’s a suburban idyll. No high-rises, kilometers away are the imposing skyscrapers that define the silhouette of “Mainhattan”, the towers that make the city maybe even some sort of place of yearning for somebody looking for potential sceneries for a science fiction movie, taking place in Germany.
There is no such thing as a skyline in Berlin.
Is the idea to give an artist run project space deep down in Neukölln the name Frankfurt am Main an attempt of compensation? Somehow. It has dislocated the space from its surroundings, transformed it into something Foucault invented the term heterotopia for.
In that regard, the actual street address of Frankfurt am Main that will change after this show doesn’t matter so much.
What matters instead is the group of artists that are showcased in the back rooms. For the first time, a group show takes place in the Neukölln space of Frankfurt am Main. For the first time, the mysterious doors in the back open up for the public providing an intimate platform for a bunch of artists closely connected with the space and above all with its people. They form a Fassbinder like entourage – minus the permanent quarreling. There is Santiago Taccetti, who has worked until recently in one of the back rooms; Charlotte Herzig, who let hearts skip a beat in her solo show in 2016, Martin Skauen, who took care of small talk material with drawings and plinths filled with wine in his solo show earlier this year, Tyra Tingleff, who composes her huge paintings in countless gestural layers, Natalie Koerner, who brings her infamous sausage sofa with her. There is Sofía Berakha, Adrian Rover and Namsal Siedlecki.
You can see the ensemble of positions as a playful story told by different narrators, as a choir with various voices, as a last dance in the old halls, improvised in the most beautiful sense of the word. It means the acknowledgment of a certain moment in the history of Frankfurt am Main, a snapshot taken in June 2018, that at the same time – and this is the sad part of the tale – indicates the current situation of real estate in this city. Same old, same old. No need to repeat the chorus. We all know what is happening.
Not a goodbye, just a transition. Frankfurt am Main will leave its old haven at Wildenbruchstraße in order to head into new ones.