A colleague sent me a private email. She has a job similar to mine, just at another golf club in Berlin. But this mail – being quite unusual in itself, as I never received any private mails from this Lady before – further surprised me. Inviting me to go see an art exhibition called transformart at Rathenauhallen, Oberschöneweide. This is WAY off my usual track, located to the very south-east of Berlin. In fact, I have never been to that neck of Berlin before. However, I was intrigued, had time to go and got sweetheart interested, too. So we ventured out last Sunday.
I never knew, my colleague’s boyfried is an artist, who participated in the art festival with an exhibition at his own studio on site.
Rathenauhallen used to be an industry complex, housing the production of power transformers. Another fact, I was ignorant of, so far: Berlin was the world’s leading city for electrical gear back then. In the late 1800s, a certain Mr. Emil Rathenau founded the “Allgemeine Elektricitäts- Gesellschaft”, short AEG, to develope it into one of the leading companies for electrical supplies, worldwide. When he died, his son Walther Rathenau, followed his dad as CEO. He, in turn, also became Reichsaußenminister (Foreign Minister). A certain architect Tropp erected the big production halls in 1898/1899, one of them measuring 9000 m². Which is an impressive sight to this day, let me tell you.
The production stopped long since and the entire complex starts to decompose. Someone bought it for a small amount, when the wall came down, but there are preservation orders and noone – neither the state, nor Berlin, nor the owner – have enough monies to restore and repair the halls and roofs. So they just let artists and other various users in, for exhibitions, studios and so forth. For little to no money, I guess.
I have to say, this industrial decay has so much charme and beauty, that I got carried away. Taking hundreds of pictures. Literally. I’ll share a few here. And leave the art proper in “transformart” for another post.