For me, GLINT was a time machine – as I walked through the house, small details such as ceiling stucco, ornaments or remains of wallpaper from the Imperial and Wilhelminian eras transported me through world wars to the time after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the upcoming renovation. The building stood empty for over 15 years and after the fall of the Wall it was never extensively renovated. COPRO bought it in 2015. I knew it, of course, because I had my gallery nearby. The Wilhelminian complex found itself in a deep sleep, especially the smells and the typical materials of the GDR era – everything was like after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A good example for the Wilhelminian Era is the backyard: it was completely untouched, without any graffiti. That’s why, for example, various films were produced there when productions needed a historic building in Berlin: Berlin Babylon, Germany 86, Wendezeit and many others. The courtyard was the perfect backdrop, you didn’t have to change much.
With the exhibition, I created a project about light as a sculptural material. I wanted to present how light is created, how it becomes visible. The building was perfectly suited for this. One work was exhibited per room. The rooms were partly renovated before, but the historical dimensions and atmosphere were preserved. Thus, the visitors did not only encounter the exhibited art – instead, it was always an equal dialogue between object and space. All architectural aspects were thus presented as part of the exhibition and, in combination with the exhibits, it became a complete work of art. If the autonomy of the space is maintained and then you add objects, a contemporary discourse is created.
The exhibitions also had a social quality: Countless visitors came through the building. Some of them were people who had once lived there or knew it from their younger years. Once a lady came by with her husband to show him the building, in which her grandmother used to live. The two were quite surprised that the doors to GLINT were open. So we started talking and I led her to her grandmother’s former apartment. The lady remembered everything and discovered wallpaper leftovers from the 70s. She could bring her memories back to life. Such moments are something very special to me. This is also felt by other visitors.
Through the artistic phase of opening and exhibitions, it is possible to actively engage with what was, what is and what should become.