18. May 2011
When it comes to tracking down raw urban spaces with potential, gallerist Peter Herrman is your man, at least according to his friends and judging from the boom of galleries along Potsdamer Straße, or “Potse” as it's called in affectionate local vernacular. The former Tagesspiegel turf between Schöneberg and Tiergarten had already attracted the Blain/Southern and Ph-Projects showrooms before galleries Arndt and Klosterfelde joined the scene about a year ago. Peter Herrmann recently moved in with the lot, setting up his collection of traditional and contemporary African art in a district that holds strong historical ties to the African continent as it is: The Reichskolonialamt once operated from Wilhemstraße near Potsdamer Platz, drawing many Namibians and Cameroonians to the area.
Peter Herrmann fled Mitte because of its super saturated real estate situation and because the space in a backyard loft near Potsdamer Straße came at a much more agreeable price. He's also aiming to reach a different crowd with a “welcoming, park-like atmosphere and paradisical lighting conditions”. The rooms of the former art academy house over 250 square meters of contemporary African art, with a circular staircase leading up to a smaller roodloft with older pieces and an extra space with video presentations.
May 7 marked the gallery's opening. Although Peter Herrmann wouldn't exactly consider himself in the loop about the current contemporary art hype, he was more than avid about his 300 visitors that day. “I'm just glad we finished building the toilets on time. There was a great rush of interested and attentive people. It was fantastic.” Music by Easy Goin' accompanied a plethora of African catering by Black Pearl, Mary Appiah and the Zagreus Project, serving Kelewele (fried plantains), Emo-tuo (rice balls) and Toobee (donuts), leaving behind a pleased crowd of spectators and a pile of dirty dishes in the half-furbished gallery kitchen. “Our next exhibition is already in the works”, reports a slaphappy Herrmann after the opening. The currently exhibited works by Chéri Samba, Goddy Leye, Sunday Jack Akpan and others will be on display until June 18.
Galerie Peter Herrmann, Potsdamer Straße 98a, Berlin-Tiergarten
Tue – Fri 2pm-7pm, Sat 11am-4pm