Arthouse Tacheles

August 03, 2012

I have to admit, when I visited the Tacheles some weeks ago I hadn't quite realised how bad its situation was - or rather is. However, it became clear to me during my visit. Of course I had heard that they were struggling with banks and administration. But I could not have imagined to what dimensions this could lead.

But first things first. As you may or may not know, the ArthouseTacheles is an off-scene arthouse located in the middle of Berlin, at the end of Oranienburger Straße. The house itself is over 100 years old. It became famous when in 1990, only a few month after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a group of artists from East and West Berlin got together and squatted the house shortly before the authorities were ready to blast it to pieces.

Since then it became a huge art complex stuffed with all things from studios to exhibitions to theatre to dancing. They had a cinema, a café and also a bar under the roof. In fact it was a real happening and get-together for artists and art-addicted people from all over the world.

As I mentioned, they are struggling with the forces of economy. In short: the house is privately owned, the owner is broke and his creditors want to sell the house and, thus, the artists out of it. At least, this is how I understood it. In any case, this conflict has been going on for years now, but it seems as if it is escalating  more and more .

That is what I read there and what shook me:

And this (and more of such) is what I saw and what made me really, really, really sad:.

An institution of contemporary art, full of 20 years' history, a culture and communication center, attracting international artists as well as hundreds of visitors every day.
No, I couldn't imagine that they were going to shut it down (and what means they use!). And still cannot.

'Sculptors, actors, musicians and painters, modern and traditional, work and collaborate with one another on a daily basis. If Tacheles is now to be destroyed it will be a sad day for Berlin's cultural life' *

Since Tuesday this week the Tacheles was again closed for visitors by the authorities and they have a deadline to move out of the house by the beginning of September. But hopefully this is not the end of the Tacheles' story.

The whole thing is a scandal.

Since I don't think I'm able to tell the whole story (it is complicated and information is rare, often contradicting and fast changing), here's more about it:


  1. man man, das sieht schon dreckig und runter gekommen aus!!! Ich meine jetzt Tacheles, nicht Deine Bilder. Aber ehrlich gesagt mochte ich Tacheles noch nie! Während andere das so toll fanden, gab mir der Platz noch nie wohl nicht mein Ding.

  2. Devastating story. The world needs more places such as this. Oh how I wish I had the funds to help them out! Really gorgeous photos.

  3. I have never heard of the Tacheles before. How very sad to have this happen.