A Private Glimpse Into The City Of Art
Serene Tseng steps into the private realm of art collecting.
With more museums and galleries than rainy days, it’s no wonder that Berlin is filled with art. But what makes art in the capital even more fascinating is how closely interwoven its presence is in the lives of private collectors. These Berliners often welcome visitors into their homes, offering not only a glimpse into their collection, but also giving the public the opportunity to appreciate art in an alternative space. The most famous private collection is me Collectors Room (www.me-berlin.com), where owner Thomas Olbricht's hosts other collectors from the world over to bring together art and discuss its meaning. Not too far away and housed in a gigantic, five-story WWII air raid bunker, the Sammlung Boros (www.sammlung-boros. de) is home to a large collection of international contemporary art from 1990 to the present, featuring works from artists such as Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson, and Alicja Kwade. Artists set up the installations themselves, so the physicality of the ample space is used with intention. For the visitor, the overlapping of different mediums and media – the sculptures, installations, paintings, video, sound, and photography – becomes an interactive experience.
The Feuerle Collection (www.thef eu er le collection. org) is similarly housed inside a WWII-era telecommunication bunker and features contemporary art next to Chinese design and Khmer sculpture. Furniture from bygone eras, from the Han Dynasty to the Qing, is shown alongside 7th- to 13th- century Khmer sculptures. The juxtaposition fosters dialogue between the different cultures and periods. Since 1997, Erika Hoffmann and her late husband have been opening their doors to their private collection, housed in a former sewing machine factory. The Sammlung Hoffmann (www. sammlung-hoffmann.de) features work by artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Katharina Grosse, and Isa Genzken, and Hoffmann herself rearranges and switches out pieces in the gallery every July to encourage new interpretations. Interestingly, there are no information panels next to each work, letting visitors focus on their emotional connection with the work. Before visiting, advance registration for a guided tour is required on the collectors' respective websites.
Clockwise from top left: the exhbibition space at me Collectors Room; modern paintings inside the WWII bunker hosting the Boros collection; the at me Collectors Room. Inset, below: Thomas Olbricht, owner of me Collectors Room.