During Berlin Art Week we equipped gallerist duo Achenbach Hagemeier with an unu Scooter Classic to help them navigate Berlin’s eclectic art scene. What started as a project space in Wuppertal almost four years ago, has since evolved into two gallery spaces in Düsseldorf and Berlin. The gallery was founded by Anna Achenbach (née Hagemeier) together with her partner David Achenbach in Düsseldorf in 2017 and offers a platform for young and emerging artists. With this in mind, they opened their second gallery site in Berlin in February 2019 – where they attract both young artists living and working in the German capital as well as the emerging scene of new, young collectors coming from the tech- and startup background.
We accompanied Anna and David through a typical day during Berlin Art Week, where the gallery had a booth exhibiting the works of one of their artists and discovered how they’re trying to overcome the well-established and antiquated stigma of exclusivity of the art world in general and private galleries particular.
Art Week has just finished, what could we see at your booth and – parallelly – in your gallery?
At Berlin Art Week, we participated with a solo presentation by Berlin-based artist Christian Hoosen. In our gallery in Berlin, we’re showing a great painting exhibition with 14 artists from different decades that deal with the question “Painting Zeitgeist?” and at our gallery in Düsseldorf, we have a solo exhibition by Andreas Fischer on view.
What were the most inspiring moments and artworks you experienced during the last week?
I met a lot of interesting people at our booth. For me, the people around us are the most inspiring thing if we just listen. Being a gallerist, I feel very blessed to be surrounded by creative minds all the time.
There were so many great exhibitions, here are just a few:
“What beauty is, I know not” at König Galerie – a group show curated by Kaspar König, the father of Johann König at König Galerie.
How does a normal workday look like for you during Berlin Art Week? How much are you actually on the road?
At 7:00 am I’m usually trying to go for a run or do a little yoga session to have a fresh start into the day, followed by a quick breakfast around 8 am. Most of the time, you can find me at Daluma drinking my morning Matcha – plus they have the best fresh green juice in Mitte.
At 10:00 am, I head over to the gallery, which is just around the corner, to meet with collectors or catch up with my assistant to plan the schedule for the day.
Around 10:30 am, we’re driving to the Berlin Art Week, where we are exhibiting. There, we’re meeting collectors and artists at our booth.
At 7:00 pm the fair closes and either there is an exhibition opening to go to or we’re having dinner with our collectors that are visiting for the Art Week.
How did the unu Scooter help you out during this week?
unu gives us the great possibility to jump from A to B without any emissions. We save a lot of time when we have a day full of meetings at different places in Berlin. For example, a studio visit in Wilhelmsruh, followed by a collectors’ lunch in Mitte and a gallery visit in West Berlin in the afternoon.
This year, you opened your second gallery site in Berlin, after successfully establishing Achenbach Hagemeier in Düsseldorf where you’re originally from. What’s the main difference between the two cities and do you prefer one over the other?
I think Düsseldorf and Berlin are two very different cities. The Rhineland area and Berlin are the epicenters of art when we’re talking about Germany. Düsseldorf has a really good art academy that has a strong history (for example Gerhard Richter or Sigmar Polke studied there and a proper collector base, but it’s also very conservative. I personally have the feeling that there’s more room for innovation in Berlin, and that’s the reason why I think – especially for a young gallery that has the approach to be internationally relevant one day – it’s important to be in Berlin to speak to an international audience of collectors, artists and curators. Additionally, there’s almost no other place in Germany where so many people interested in art gather in one place. Apart from important galleries and museums, you find many relevant international artists working in Berlin. So when it comes to art, you have a vivid conversation and an interesting scene of new, young collectors coming from the tech- and startup background in Berlin.
Nevertheless, I like my hometown Düsseldorf a lot, as the quality of life is amazing and you have a great institutional scene where you can see a lot of brilliantly curated exhibitions all year long. Long story short: I think the combination of Berlin and Düsseldorf is perfect.
At unu, we try to build creative solutions for urban mobility problems. Which artist can you think of that works in a similarly creative manner?
I think every good artist is innovative in his/her individual way of expression. Comparable to a startup that has a great and innovative idea.
While unu won’t be classed as a startup for much longer, you focus on promoting young talent and artists. Where do you see potential compared to more established artists and are there parallels between the art world and the startup scene?
It’s our passion to work with artists we know in person and we have the approach to grow together with them, side by side. Nevertheless, we are also dealing with established artists to cover the costs that we have in order to develop the careers of emerging artists. It’s a give and take situation, and emerging art often has a lot of references to the established art. So it all goes hand in hand.
I think the startup scene and the art world have a lot in common, that’s why we try to bring them closer together in Berlin. It’s one generation that has a lot of potential working and growing together. Plus they can learn a lot from each other.
Thanks for the interview and for taking us on the tour with you, Anna!