Annika was born in Hellersdorf, a suburban neighborhood in eastern Berlin. As a kid her dream was to be an archaeologist. Abandoned buildings and vacant lots never intimidated her. On the contrary, they were invitations to curious expeditions. As Berlin had plenty of those, the city was for her the perfect playground.
Over time the urban space became Annika’s object of study and work. Its use, intersections, forms of expression, movement, messages, symbols and transformations are subjects for her projects and exhibitions. Working for nearly a decade at the Neurotitan, shop and main gallery in the branch in Berlin, Annika is a monument specialist and curator of urban art in Berlin. In a interview to the Amstel House she tells us a bit about the current street art scenario in Berlin and points out her favorites spots.
Berlin is considered one of world’s street art main capitals. What is so special about it?
Berlin was for a long time a city in transition. After the reunion of Germany it became a huge playground full of space. Many artists who were then active say that a kind of vacuum of law and order made many things possible. Squats and cheap rents were very common. Artists didn’t have to worry much about money. The city offered a lot of room for experiment, attracting a big international crowd. The art scene became increasingly diverse and fertile.
Is there some kind of central subject expressed by the Berlin graffiti?
I wouldn’t say exactly so. Gentrification and real estate however have been the subject of many artists’ current works. That is the case of international graffiti crew 1Up and the artists collective Various & Gould for example. In terms of form and style we may see a tendency towards abstract muralism amongst many artists working in Berlin.
What are your favorite Berliners street artists and where can their work be found?
Most of the urban artists based in the city come from somewhere else. Among the ones born in Berlin HRVB is definitely one of my favorites. You can find some of his pieces in Wiesenweg, Friedrichshain. Johannes Mundinger curated an arcade-wall painting jam in Urban Spree last year. There you can find his work among great other artists such as Andrea Wan, Wesr, Vidam and Dextr from the Weird or Kid Cash who also has a solo show currently running in Urban Spree Gallery.
Berlin is also an open gallery for international artists. Can you name some of theme and tell us where to find their work
Ericailcane and Mazatl joined the exhibition Bajo El Concreto La Selva in 2014. You can find their murals in the courtyard of neurotitan in Rosenthalerstraße 39. In the same year world known artist Shepard Fairey painted a Mural at Mehringplatz. If you are interested in letters check out the recent piece of Faust in Bülowstr. 91.
You work at Neurotitan, one of city’s main galleries and book shop in the field of street art. Can you tell us a bit about it?
The gallery is one node in a multinational network of artists moving between subculture and avant-garde. Young contemporary conceptual and political art, urban art, illustration, painting and public art projects dominate the picture. Performances, book presentations and small concerts, as well as collaborations with various international independent galleries, project spaces and festivals make the program complete.
Is there any event or exhibition coming that you recommend a visit?
Yes. On April 22nd Art Union will present 80 artists working in the field of urban art in the second edition of What The Weekend Is Gallery