SAVVY Contemporary / Berlin, Germany

SAVVY Contemporary / Berlin, Germany

for artists, curators, critics, writers and scientists

Series: Urban Contemporary –
Hotspot Berlin (Neukölln), PART II

The laboratory of form-ideas
to give electric impulses

A former power plant a bit further south of Neuköllner Oper at Richardstrasse 20 is hosting SAVVY Contemporary since about one year. The so-called ‘Cathedral of Electricity’ was designed by the renowned architect Hans Heinrich Müller and built 1926-1928. PHOTO 2 of building Before, SAVVY was located just a couple of houses down the road.

These facilities are now used by the University of Arts in Poznań, Poland, establishing their own Residency Programme and being in vivid collaboration, e.g. with the performance production ‘Double Blind’, that took place Saturday evening of 16th August 2014. 

Curator Sahar Rahimi (right) and Artistic Director Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung (left) welcoming the audience and opening the performance event.

The directory of the art space is completely aware of being in the heart of Berlin’s most multicultural city district with inhabitants
from 160 nations, using Neukölln with its history and socio-political status quo as a fertile soil for reflections and discourses.

This is exactly the point of kick-off for SAVVY Contemporary as a stage whereby ‘western art’ and ‘non-western art’ communicate and exchange on a par with one another. An exhibition opening is presented every two months, but events like panels, discussions, etc. take place on weekly basis.
They formed a concept of ‘trialogue’:
A curator will be invited by SAVVY’s art direction to further invite an artist from Europe or North-America and another artist from Africa, South-America, Asia or Australia.
The process of the trialogue and its result will be presented in a show or an event moderated by a curator and will be
portrayed within a publication later on.
So, the general focus is on the identification parade of contemporary ‘western art’ and ‘non-western art’ with divers artistic, historical, socio-anthropological, political or economical connotations related to these notions.

The facts
Since February 2014, SAVVY Contemporary runs its AIR – still in development – welcoming established and emerging artists from all over the world, including scientists and historians, to elaborate their libertine ideas and art projects. The applicants should state a certain project, but generally they are free with realising also non-location based schemes.
There is a monthly fee of 1.100 Euro which covers accommodation in a private room with shared living facilities (bathroom, kitchen), as well as artist support regarding
PR, translation and co-working.
It does not include any travel or subsistence expenses.
The fellows can use the studios and performance practice spaces.

If wanted the artists find individual career support and portfolio review, and of course they are presented and connected with other interesting art places in Berlin.
The surroundings are kept in its industrial charm and rather raw appearance. But from this humble institution – everybody of the eleven team members is working unsalaried – artists draw reputation, for sure fantastic networks and maybe even life-lasting friendships.
The Scholars and Artists-in-Residence in August/September 2014 are Prof. Myron M.
Beasley and Mr. Uche Uzorka.
They are currently realising their projects and therewith one of SAVVY’s principal aims to stimulate reflection on contemporary artistic and cultural production.

More info on the SAVVY Contemporary homepage and on Facebook.

Photos: Lara Merrington, A.M.;
Interview with Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung, Founder and Artistic Director,
and Saskia Köbschall, Manager-at-large, SAVVY Contemporary
Berlin, 16th August 2014.