Sparwasser HQ in "Situation, Collaborations, collectives and artist networks from Sydney, Singapore, Berlin "


Sparwasser HQ was established in June 2000 in Berlin, based in a small space in the centre of the Mitte district. Mitte, formerly in East Berlin, epitomises the transformation of the city after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, with its then cheap rent and empty spaces attracting artists, musicians, designers and DJs from around the world. During the 1990s a vibrant underground scene of experimental art, theatre and nightclubs thrived, yet its success also appealed to developers and renovators, and it is now an exclusive suburb of apartments and galleries.

Sparwasser HQ responded to a perceived need in Berlin for a place for open communication and participation between a range of audiences and cultural producers – artists, theorists, curators and researchers – from around the globe, reflecting the international community based in the city.

A network rather than a group, Sparwasser HQ often works outside of its own space in collaboration with other art spaces, organisations and museums. A new combination of artists is put together for each of their projects, and for the MCA, Sparwasser HQ are Ariane Müller, Lise Nellemann, Egill Sæbjörnsson, Tino Sehgal and Jole Wilcke.

Ariane Müller has produced an inside-out model of Schöderstrasse, her artist-run space in Berlin, and presents the latest issue of her publication Starship. Tino Sehgal has an ephemeral presence in the room, while Egill Sæbjörnsson shows his new video projection The Box. Lise Nellemann and Jole Wilcke present the timeline Sparwasser HQ, 5 years anniversary and the poster How to Engage, while Jole Wilcke hosts a Discursive Picnic, an ongoing project with her collective UNWETTER.

Rather than presenting a selection of archival material from earlier activities, Sparwasser HQ is demonstrating in this exhibition how it actually works as an organisation. In order to operate directly and ‘on the spot’, Nellemann/Wilcke have also created Invitation Piece - Be Our Guest, Be Our Host, a communication space for interaction that involves the museum audience. The video project Old Habits Die Hard, organised by Lise Nellemann and Heman Chong, involves a further 50 international artist networks.