The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked a revolutionary cultural era of the arts. Subcultures came to prominence as young squatters, artists, gallery owners and DJs started to fill in the abandoned buildings, factories and vacant lots from East and West alike. Recreation breathed as these former establishments turned into clubs, bars, galleries, and studios, thus a significant revival of Berlin club culture. Several photographers document the club scene from then to today in No Photos on the Dance Floor! Berlin 1989—Today at C/O Berlin, starting 13 September.
It was thanks to the club culture in which the city once again felt alive (and ever united) as artists and creatives from the new generation at the time frequented places such as Ufo, Tresor, and Planet. Techno music came to prominence in Berlin, with events such as Tekknozid, which was considered as the big bang of the time. Berlin clubbing culture also promoted the contemporary arts as mediums like video, film, projections, and music cross each other. One of the photographers featured in the exhibition, Wolfgang Tillmans, spoke:
"For me, a club is a big abstraction machine that constantly produces pictures. They’re often on the edge of the visible when the fog rises and you look up toward the ceiling and watch the lights. Intangible things shimmer and flicker through there.”
At the end of the millennium and into the new, the Berlin club culture became a coveted experience among Europeans, even contributing to the rise techno music in the 2000s as many artists, music producers, and record labels have all moved to Berlin to consume and also influence the city's soundscape.
However, the party's about to inevitably end, and as such, No Photos on the Dance Floor! is a well-deserved tribute. The exhibition's title is a clever play to the Berlin club scene, as most clubs have strict rules against photography inside the premises so as to encourage the free-spirited environment for dancers losing themselves in the music and their protection and privacy.
Works by photographers Camille Blake, Tilman Brembs, Ben de Biel, Salvatore Di Gregorio, Martin Eberle, Matthias Fritsch, Dan Halter, Honey-Suckle Company, Erez Israeli, Romuald Karmakar, Steffen Köhn & Phillip Kaminiak, Anna-Lena Krause, Tilmann Künzel, Sven Marquardt & Marcel Dettmann, Marco Microbi, George Nebieridze, Alva Noto, Daniel Pflumm, Mike Riemel Collection Carolin Saage, Giovanna Silva, Wolfgang Tillmans, Lisa Wassmann and Michael Wesely - are up for viewing until 30 November, creating a visual timeline of the Berlin club scene.
Courtesy C/O Berlin Foundation.