Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)

Uferhallen Kunstaktien. Documentation of a Public Company

14 - 25 Sep 2022

Uferhallen Kunstaktien. Documentation of a Public Company, exhibition view Uferhallen © Photo: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) / Jens Ziehe, 2022
Exhibition at Uferhallen, Uferstraße 8, 13357 Berlin

The Uferhallen – an old industrial area and former site of the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe public transport company in Berlin-Wedding – was sold by the state of Berlin to a small group of private investors, the UferHallen AG. In 2011, UferHallen AG launched a unique project, inviting over 100 artists to design each 25 shares as artworks, to be sold as Kunstaktien (art shares). Over 3,000 Kunstaktien were created. These original works of art also served to secure a stake in the 38,000-square-meter site. The aim was to achieve the broadest possible distribution of shares to ensure the long-term existence of Uferhallen as a cultural venue. In 2017, a group of investors led by the Samwer brothers became majority shareholders of UferHallen AG and decided to acquire the remaining free shares via a squeeze-out procedure in 2021. Despite this development, the Kunstaktien played a decisive role in upholding the negotiations between the new owners, the district, and the Senate to preserve Uferhallen as a location for cultural events and artist studios.

In 2014, n.b.k. acquired four Kunstaktien for its Artothek collection, and in 2018 – on the initiative and with the financial support of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe and the Mitte district office – secured a further 20 shares to give the small shareholders a say. With the squeeze-out, UferHallen AG was transformed into Marema GmbH. The Kunstaktien were voided and are to be returned to the artists as pure artworks.

With its exhibition on the history of the Kunstaktien, n.b.k. traces the development of Uferhallen and the genesis of the Kunstaktien project. Kunstaktien by all participating artists will be shown. At the same time, the exhibition On Equal Terms by Uferhallen e.V. is on view at Uferhallen, providing insight into the production processes of its resident artists. At the invitation of n.b.k. and in collaboration with On Equal Terms and the Berlin Art Week, site-specific works by Rosa Barba, Maria Eichhorn, Herta Müller, and Karin Sander will also be on display at the Uferhallen entrance gates.