“I looked through a lens and ended up abandoning everything else”, says world-famous photographer Sebastião Salgado and everybody who is really into photography knows exactly what he means. One gallery in Berlin has dedicated itself over the last 14 years fully to the (de)lightful art and is, thanks to a new location and big-shot exhibitions, on its way to become the capital’s heart of photography: the C/O Berlin.
After months of renovation and remodeling the prestigious gallery found a new home in the Amerika Haus at Zoo Station last autumn. In temporary exhibitions the C/O focuses on both classical and avant garde photo art, that is often sociocritical, experimental, and surprising – but mostly: simply beautiful. It all began in the old Postfuhramt in Berlin-Mitte, right after the millenium and in a downtown street that stood somewhere between punky wasteland and art scene hotspot. The neoclassicist folly became home to surprisingly popular exhibitions and C/O earned a reputation as a courageous and pioneering gallery. Since there were no public subsidies, all money came from admission fees and private donations. Even though C/O played anything but a minor role in the neighborhood’s gentrification the boon of booming became the bane of banning: In the spring of 2013 the now-renowned institution had to move out of the beloved home to make space for a financially stronger pharmaceutical company; the farewell party attracted thousands of guests.
Many were very critical about the new location inside the history-charged Amerika Haus on Hardenbergstraße in Berlin Charlottenburg, as it seemed to far off the hip(ster) boroughs. Also the building, a former cultural center of the US embassy, seemed to not at all fit the character of the gallery. The question of how to afford the necessary renovations of the ramshackle structure was long open, before the impossible happened: an online crowdfunding brought more than 100,000 € in donations, and in the autumn of 2014 the old C/O in its new home was reopened to the public. The critical voices fell silent when it became clear that thanks to ultra-modern air conditioning and lighting even highly sensitive vintage photographs and precious prints were now to be exhibited – something that had always been impossible in the old Postfuhramt. With long-awaited special exhibitions C/O immediately made a well-patronized bid for the leadership of Berlin’s photo scene again.
However, the first real stunner is on its way only now: highly decorated photographer Sebastião Salgado presents from April 17 on his cyclus Genesis here in Berlin. The French-Brazilian photo artist spent eight years travelling all those parts of the world, that have so far been spared by industrialization and western civilization. By hot air balloon and propeller plane, foot and canoe – Salgado was in for the most remote corners of the world. His contrasty black-and-white shots tell stories about the beauty of our planet, of forces of nature and displaced originality – and visualize what climate change and industrial pollution are about to destroy. Wim Wender’s lush 2014 documentary film The Salt of the Earth made Sebastião Salgado known to the broader public. You can get an idea of the light-and-shadow artist’s splendid works from the official trailer:
The Salgado exhibition runs from April 17 through August 16 in C/O Berlin in the Amerika Haus on Hardenbergstraße. It is open between 11 and 8, admission is 10 € (reduced: 5 €). You can reach the gallery from Industriepalast Hostel in an easy 20 minute ride on the S train through Zoo Station.
Enjoy one of the most exciting exhibitions for this spring,
Blogger at Industriepalast Hostel
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.