Neukolln art festival in export: the pull of art

The successful format "48 Stunden Neukolln" is exported to Siberia: Next week "48 Hours Novosibirsk" starts there.

The best way to get to Novosibirsk is by train: the Trans-Siberian Railway Photo: dpa

If you take the train to Moscow from the East Station on Saturday evening and change trains there (although you have to change stations), you will arrive in Novosibirsk in time to have a look around the city before the "48 Hours of Novosibirsk" art festival starts there on Friday.

One of the most important sights is the railroad bridge over the Ob River, to which the city owes its foundation in 1893 because of the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Today Novosibirsk – "new Siberia" – has almost one and a half million inhabitants, is the third largest city in Russia and is considered the cultural center of Siberia. On a tour of the city, visitors can see the institutions, the opera house (in front of which there is also a Lenin statue), the concert hall named after the conductor Arnold Katz, who was significant for Novosibirsk, and finally the ZK19 art center, which in turn will be an important focal point of "48 Hours of Novosibirsk" as the venue for the main exhibition.

"48 Hours of Novosibirsk": There is a proximity to the tried and tested Berlin art format "48 Hours of Neukolln" that can only be intentional. And in fact, the festival in Siberia is not a brazen art heist by name, but an event that was created in close cooperation with the Berlin 48-Hour Festival on the initiative of the Goethe-Institut and precisely the Municipal Center for Visual Arts ZK19 in Novosibirsk.

Novosibirsk:

From September 13 to 15, the art festival "48 Hours of Novosibirsk" will take place in Novosibirsk for the first time. The Russian festival was directly inspired by the now well-established "48 Hours Neukolln" format. The Berlin art festival also cooperates with Novosibirsk, information about the festival there: 48-hours-nsk.com

Neukolln:

Those who shy away from going to Novosibirsk for art can also find art in Neukolln. This weekend: In the gallery in the Saalbau (Karl-Marx-Str, 141, tgl. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.), the Galerie im Kornerpark (Schierker Str. 8, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.) presents the show "The Process of Becoming," which focuses on the temporal dimensions of sculpture. Both galleries belong to the association of Berlin’s municipal galleries, which are presenting themselves until Sunday with the KGB Art Week. It is taking place for the sixth time and also attracts visitors to art with performances and concerts. Info: kgberlin.net

Although in recent years there have been various cooperations with art initiatives in Korea, France or Denmark that extend far beyond Neukolln, this almost one-to-one translation of the Neukolln format to Siberia is a first. It is also intended to be a decentralized and participatory festival for contemporary art in Novosibirsk, at various locations in the city and precisely within the framework of the 48 hours stipulated in the festival name. All contemporary artists from Siberia could apply to participate in an open call.

The next Siberian thing?

Whereby, at least in this country, there is no talk of Novosibirsk as a hotspot of contemporary art. Actually, there is not even a murmur, nothing is said about the next Siberian thing – but you just don’t know. And this is somewhat reminiscent of distant Neukolln at the turn of the millennium, which was also hardly associated with art. Rather, people spoke of a cultural wasteland. The "48 Stunden Neukolln" festival, established in 1999, deliberately wanted to set a counterpoint to media reports that portrayed Neukolln as a slum of Berlin. The district’s further history is well known. There is no longer any question of Neukolln having a negative image; the district is popular all around the world as a center of attraction, and "48 Stunden Neukolln" is now Berlin’s largest festival of the independent art scene.

In Russia, however, and especially in Siberia, the art scene functions much differently than in Berlin, according to the Goethe-Institut Novosibirsk. For some time now, contemporary art has been regarded as "un-Russian" because it is an expression of Western values, and outside Moscow and St. Petersburg there is usually a lack of the necessary cultural infrastructure and open spaces.

These spaces are now to be offered by "48 Hours Novosibirsk. A platform on which Berlin can also present itself: Nine artists from Neukolln have traveled to Novosibirsk. Next year – to strengthen this Russian-German cooperation – the return visit of Siberian artists will take place, who will show their work at "48 Stunden Neukolln".

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