C/O in the Amerika Haus

Germany’s most-loved gallery has a home again

If you’ve ever wanted to be photographed by a famous photographer, now’s your chance at the C/O gallery in Berlin – well, sort of. In the newly reopened cultural hotspot at the Amerika Haus, visitors can sit in specially made photo booths and have a portrait made in the style of Paolo Pellegrin and co. But that’s not all you can expect.

It’s taken a while for Berliners to get their favourite gallery back – and for the gallery to have visitors once more. “We’ve missed them sorely over the last year and a half,” said Stefan Erfurt from the board of the C/O foundation at the press conference on October 30th, one day before the reopening. Along with designer Marc Naroska and architect Ingo Pett, Erfurt founded the gallery in 1999. With exhibitions from well-known photographers such as Martin Parr, Peter Lindbergh and Herlinde Koebl, the location in the former imperial post office in Berlin Mitte drew more and more visitors – 110,000 came to the Annie Leibowitz show in 2009.

The whole neighbourhood blossomed and the former Jewish quarter of Berlin became a cultural centre right beside the Museumsinsel. But then came the shock: after endless to-ing and fro-ing, C/O Berlin was required to vacate their location in March 2013. The owners of the building had changed, and the gallery had to move on. For Stephan Erfurt and the team, a long and frustrating period of reorientation began.

From Mitte to Charlottenburg

C/O Berlin has found a new home in the Amerika Haus near the Zoologischer Garten train station. The renovation of the listed building cost €2.5 million, which was partially funded by private donations through crowdfunding. It was built in 1956/7 and until 2006 served as an information centre and meeting place. Its intention was to show visitors the ‘American way of life’.

That the gallery reopens with Will McBride’s exhibition ‘I fell in love with this city’ fits perfectly with the building’s history. The photographs are from McBride’s time in Berlin at the end of the fifties – and he was the first photographer to have his work displayed in the Amerika Haus. It was an honour for him to return, he said at the opening.

Old colleagues meet again

“I’m delighted to see Will McBride back here again, I’ve known him for such a long time,” said Thomas Hoepker, who worked on the current Magnum exhibition. There’s yet another link to history: “Before, there was no place for Magnum retrospectives in Germany – that’s why we founded C/O,” said head curator Felix Hoffmann, “and now we’re starting again with Magnum.” In the exhibition, the world-famous photo agency provides rare insights into the working methods of photographers. The contact sheets are displayed, which illuminates the process through which a well-known photograph like Hoepker’s 9/11 photo is created. The contact sheets are, themselves, art – a form that has become obsolete in this digital age.

Exhibitions:

Will McBride, I fell in love with this city, 31.10.14 - 16.1.15

Magnum Contact Sheets, 31.10.14 - 16.1.15

Picture Yourself, 31.10.14 - 16.1.15

Talents 30, Working on Myth, Luise Schröder / Hannah Petersohn, 31.10.14 - 16.1.15

Daily, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

10 Euro, reduced 5 Euro

www.co-berlin.org

 

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