The Kunsthaus Tacheles – a relic of Berlin’s alternative art scene
As much time as I spend browsing the #urbex tag on Instagram and following urban exploration photographers such as Vincualize, I haven’t quite got around to getting any exploring done myself.
One building that I desperately want to sneak in to is the Kunsthaus Tacheles. Heavy chains across the solid wooden doors and high metal fencing has made it pretty impossible for someone as inexperienced as myself, especially during my last visit in the light of day.
But that hasn’t stopped my fascination with the property that dominates the corner of Oranienburger Straße and Friedrichstraße in Berlin.
The five floored Kunsthaus Tacheles, or Art House Tacheles, was built over 15 months between 1907 and 1908 in order to serve as a lavish department store, but the glamour has long since been replaced with a gritty exterior that serves as a canvas for local street artists.
The art depicted outside the Kunsthaus is however a minor reflection of the art that once flourished within. By 1990, after several attempts at demolition by the East German government failed due to lack of funds and with the fall of the Berlin Wall, artists thronged to the building which soon became a cultural hub and established squat for creativity, music, and art.
Now, gentrification. In September 2012 the remaining artists left the building peacefully, after an estimated 20 years of struggle, and whilst it can’t be certain that the new owners who forked out €150 million for the property plan to return it to it’s initial department store glamour, there is no doubt that the finished development will leave little trace of the creativity that once flourished within it.
“I don’t suppose Tacheles will even be mentioned in histories of art because it did not produce any “major artists” or “iconic works”. It was not trying to. It was an experiment in the power of imagination. May it be restless in memory.” – Jonathan Jones
Have any buildings captured your imagination during your travels?
Lots of love,