Studio 91

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What is certain is that whilst the Berlin art scene is approaching something of a cliché it is still a tremendously exciting hub where established and emerging artists want to work in close proximity and feed off the creativity and ideas that only come about when an area gains an artistic and creative critical mass.

When, what, where and how things happen in Berlin is sometimes hard to discern. But alongside some high profile and newsworthy moves by larger galleries who want to pick up on this artistic energy (Nolan Judith Gallery and the venture from the previous owners of Haunch of Venison, Blain Southern) there remains a very strong core of vibrant less well known artists.

Ridge Fine Art first started exploring Berlin in 2010. By then the shift in the artistic scene of both galleries and artists from Mittte to Potsdamer Strasse was well under way. Before the collapse of the Berlin wall Potsdamer Strasse was the artistic epicenter in the West (it moved to Mitte post reunification) but in a rapid reversal typical of Berlin things have started moving back there again. It is not wholesale but perhaps rather a fragmentation of what is already a complex picture. Potsdamer Strasse is not smart but the smarter galleries are moving. There are fantastic and sometimes hidden spaces available and it now has sufficient critical mass to be an artistic hub in its own right.

When Ridge started exploring Berlin we were looking for a selection of emerging painters in different parts of the city. But we were so bowled over by a group of artists working out of one studio that we wanted to dedicate our first profile to this very special place.

The studio is based on the fourth floor of an unrenovated brick warehouse at 91 Potsdamer Strasse, in a courtyard set back from the main street, with the other three floors occupied by the Freies Museum.

The space was originally discovered by one of the profiled artists, Jeremie Martino, about four years ago and was home to a group of solely French painters. Over the years, the artistic population has ebbed and flowed, until just over one year ago the very diverse and exciting grouping in residence today came together.

One of the artists profiled, Tom Anholt, describes the space as a, “Living, working, organism”, and it is precisely this feeling we latched onto upon arrival. The artists spaces are not divided by walls, but by style. The individual areas are defined by the particular working habits of the painter. The spaces are not divided abruptly, but seem to fade into one another. Of course, what dominates is the work, but surrounded by the paraphernalia, the space becomes an instillation on its own.

Of course, it is easy to romanticise the working environment of the artist; much has been written about the “Terrible Beauty” of Francis Bacon’s studio, and supplementary to that, about the danger of turning the artist to myth. But, few would disagree that the artist’s studio is always a place of fascination. If you also happen to love the work produced, then having the privilege to view the normally hidden side of the art world, is a unique insight into the final paintings.


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