4 March 2021

Q&A: super bien! greenhouse for contemporary art [Berlin]

Kathryn Zazenski, Elisabeth Sonneck
RCO, 'untitled (broken edit)', 6.2–28.2.2021, light/audio boxes, electronic waste, amplifiers
Q&A: super bien! greenhouse for contemporary art [Berlin]
RCO, 'untitled (broken edit)', 6.2–28.2.2021, light/audio boxes, electronic waste, amplifiers

This Q&A column focuses on the indeterminate borders between off-/project-/artist-run spaces and the people that keep them going [#Off Space Q&A]

The purpose of a greenhouse, in the cultivation of plants, is to protect and support growth by storing heat energy in a limited space – we try to transform this principle into art.

super bien! greenhouse for contemporary art is an artist-run space for temporary, site-specific installations and interventions, centrally located in a public courtyard in Berlin Mitte.

Since 2006, super bien! has shown around six exhibitions per year, each considering the context of the space: the greenhouse’s sculptural structure and transparency, its positioning in public space, visible 24/7, the site’s history as a former GDR schoolyard, biological and ecological topics, the ephemeral influence of ever-changing light and temperature, and many other aspects that generate a complimentary concept to the White Cube.

The project space was founded in 2006 by three colleagues of the Berlin Milchhof studio house. super bien! was run by Anne Katrin Stork 2006-2017 and then in 2018 together with Elisabeth Sonneck. Since 2019, Elisabeth Sonneck is the curator of super bien! together with Irène Hug.

Super bien! invites artists for annual series that are organized under openly interpretable topics, each season is published in a booklet:
2017: Related To Nature, 2018: …To Time, 2019/20: …To Construction, 2021: …To Limit, …To …ongoing.

superbienberlin.net (program since 2017)
instagram.com/superbien_berlin
superbien.de (archive 2006-2018)   
elisabeth-sonneck.de
instagram.com/elisabethsonneck
irenehug.com

Florian Neufeldt, 'FROST', 2.11.2019–12.1.2020, expansion vessel, frigde, milk
Monika Grzymala, 'Raumzeichnung (kinesphere)', 25.10–6.12.2020, braided metal wire, LED spotlight

***

Was it a good idea?

It was, and still IS…it creates a vital mix of work, questions, meanings, problems, and joy. Regarding our experience organizing super bien!, our answer is yes!

Who has held you up?

Corona didn’t hold us back, because the super bien! projects are 24/7 visible. Sometimes Chronos did, when he was stingy with his time, since my co-pilot Irène and I are artists and both run super bien! without an external budget or an assistant.

Are you a link or a node?

I see a node as a link between different threads. The super bien! projects melt together temporary conceptual work, the transparency of the construction, the place and its history, plus ephemeral influences of light and weather. The more threads, the more complex links and nodes can become.

What do you need?

Personally: friends, art (working, reflecting, discussing), music (enjoying), walking.

For super bien!: financial support to renovate the structure and for international exchange projects. Further, we’d appreciate support for our annual documentations.

Gaby Taplick, 'Matsu groove', 29.8–4.10.2020, found wooden panels, wooden slats

Digital or physical?

“Or”? Physical! Is there any other primary choice when you’re alive?

Site-specific projects can be represented digitally, but experienced only physically – in situ.

What do you measure?

We know the dimensions of the transparent structure of the super bien! greenhouse. However, entities can’t be measured.

What are the known unknowns?

No part of mathematics, and a paradox out of reach.

What time is it?

While writing: too late to be true. Metaphorically linked to our contemporary climate crisis, social and democratic losses: 5 past 12. For super bien!: the right time for experimental approaches beyond the White Cube concept.

Is it an animal, vegetable, or mineral?

super bien! by itself is nothing but an empty shell, but welcomes all kinds of site-specific artwork. Though, animals have never been included in a project here… maybe in the future?

Ulrike Mohr, 'Von den Dingen', 30.11.18–1.1.19, carbonized branches
Patricia Sandonis, 'A partition of the sensible', 19.1–15.3.2020, paint, poster fragments, stickers, fence parts, pipes

Why now?

Now is the only possibility to be present.

And what about the unknown unknowns?

They’re much better! The unknown unknowns should be incorporated in every vision, concept, and expectation. I think they are the best teachers.

Are you prepared?

For what? In the everyday sense, yes, mostly. For all other (unknown…) occurrences, preparation seems counterproductive to me.

What were you given and what did you take?

Given: life. Taken: difficult to define in life’s circular processes. No answers, but we hope to discover interesting questions.

Is it enough?

Yes, super bien! doesn’t need to be bigger. No, it should never stand still. We look forward to inviting colleagues whose work makes us curious, and to share exciting site-specific projects – let’s stay hungry…

Jason Gringler, '2007', 28.5–12.7.2020, expanded steel, recycled acrylic glass, spray enamel, adhesives
Lucio Auri, 'NomoNemoEmpandaAutoReadymade', 20.3–4.5.2020, Seat Marbella „Jeans“, neon tube, painted pipe, adhesive film
Marten Schech, 'A House... III', 12.12.20–31.1.21, OSB chipboard, paint, LED tubes
Anna Borgman, 'THROW', 11.9–12.11.2015, paper mache, cellulose fibers, substructure battens
Christian Gode, 'Diagonaler Dialog', 5.1–8.3.2019, time based (Arduino), LEDstripes, wooden slats

Imprint

Place / venuesuper bien! greenhouse for contemporary art, Berlin, Germany
Websitewww.superbienberlin.net
Index

See also