In our age, there isn’t a day that goes by without us being confronted to the sad truths of the corporate-run world, ever-present tendencies towards the unification of global market and ideology behind globalization which aims to swallow many local cultural traditions. With sadness and nostalgia, we remember our favorite meeting-places which were in recent times destroyed or renovated, giving way to the more modern and profitable venues. Berlin-based artist Klaus Domass contemplates the extinction of the corner pubs, one of Germany’s ultimate cultural symbols, in his latest photograph exhibition at Cell63 gallery in a quite innovative and provoking way.
Blossoming in the industrialization era, the Ecke Kneipe or corner bars became an inseparable part of the everyday experiences of German workers, bringing people together for a drink or a warm meal after a hard day of work. But it isn’t the practical purpose that made corner pubs a cultural symbol, it was the idea of a communal space where everyone is welcome, appreciated and most importantly equal among others. The rich tradition and unique culture of corner pubs, survived for centuries, making it one of the most important institutions of local lifestyles. However, in recent times the tradition of corner pubs is despairing, making them a historic curiosity in the age of gentrification. Yet still, there are those who won’t let this homely tradition go down without a fight and the recent photography initiative is taking a deep look into the homely tradition of corner pubs, honoring one those iconic meeting grounds for the last time.
Klaus Domass, Berlin-based action artist is the man who initiated the Shadesneukölln project aiming to capture essential qualities of life in the traditional corner pubs. Praising the ideas of equality and locality as one of the main features of the tradition, Domass invited thirteen corner pub regulars to take part in the action, posing nude in front of photography lens. With a bit of effort and negotiations, the models agreed to step in front of the camera naked and without shame, adding to the overall aesthetics of purity, and the idea of nakedness as the starting point for suspension of any social differences. Bernd van Meer, Daniel Graefen and Marie Kruse are photographers who were invited to participate in the project, and the course of the action was also recorded in the series of drawings and sketches by the artist Pedda Borowski.
Shadesneukölln | Nude Acts and Facts from a Neuköllner Corner Pub photography exhibition is set to draw attention to the extinction of the traditional corner pub venues in Berlin from 23rd October through 14th November 2015 at the gallery space of Cell63 Art Platform in Berlin. The vernissage is scheduled for October 23rd, 2015 starting from 7 pm.
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Photographs from the Shadesneukölln exhibition
All images courtesy of Cell63 Art Platform
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