It has been nearly two years since C/O Berlin has had a space of its own or hosted an exhibition, now C/O finally debuts its new gallery space today in the German capital. The new venue will be the face of one of Europe’s most renowned institutions for the photographic medium, C/O was forced out of its former home, the Postfuhramt, a grand 19th century post office in Berlin Mitte, in January 2013. Finally after more than a year’s worth of renovations and an interior re-design and re-build by Bauhaus experts mvprojekte, the photography institution now has West Berlin’s mid-century architectural buliding, the Amerika Haus, as its home.
The building served in the postwar years as a cultural hub for the United States in Berlin as part of its Information Service, a pseudo-propaganda arm of the State Department, which was finally closed in 1999. The building was originally designed by SOM Architects’ Bruno Grimmek and the structure, which is near to from Berlin’s Zoologischer Garten transportation hub, was given to the German government in 2006 and remained essentially unused until C/O Berlin proposed to take it over in 2012.
The foundation had searched for another location in Berlin Mitte for years but to no avail. “The Amerika Haus chose us,” said Stephan Erfurt, the CEO of the newly created C/O Berlin Foundation to artnet News.”There were no alternatives,” Erfurt continues “[But] in the end that was quite lucky.”
as well as fully-modernised galleries, The new exhibition space also includes a café, featuring a rotating exhibition of its own – as well as fully-modernised galleries – it debuts the new venue by with two large-scale wall sculptures by Michail Pirgelis – instead of its usual two dimensional medium.
The independent organisation was founded in 2000 more or less as an experiment, has now become a foundation. However, fans of the old institution won’t see a negative impact on its program, as CEO Erfurt stated that “the program will be the same, showing renowned photographers and new talents.”
Now the founding patron of London’s Serpentine Galleries Lars Windhorst has signed on to support C/O Berlin, as have business giants Audi and KPMG ensuring a lucrative future in terms of funding.
C/O Berlin starts that relationship with a lineup of four shows. This includes two feature Magnum photographers such as the recently-deceased René Burri, Elliott Erwitt, Martin Parr, among others. Not least; Will McBride, the first photographer ever shown in the Amerika Haus back in 1957, will be seen in a solo show at the new venue.