Gropius Bau Friends
The Gropius Bau Friends are people specialising in art education. They are present in our exhibitions several days a week, and are always available to help visitors with any questions. The Friends are recognisable by black long-sleeved T-shirts with the print “Gropius Bau”.
Recommended by the Friends
The Gropius Bau Friends spend many hours in the exhibition rooms, entrance areas, corridors and many other places in the Gropius Bau. There they talk to visitors about their questions and impressions and give useful tips about visiting the building. What do they experience during this work? What do they remember? What are they particularly looking forward to? The column Recommend by the Friends gives insight into the personal highlights of a Gropius Bau Friend about once a month.
on “Takeover. Plastic Catches Mushroom”
I have a routine: at noon, I take a short break on the Südplatz. I like the place. Not only because I quite like to soak up some sun there, but also because the students from Picasso Grundschule (primary school) have transformed the square into a magical place of experience and encounter through their exhibition Takeover. Plastic Catches Mushroom. Here, I observe how visitors are surprised by sounds; how they look around and explore, experiencing a place they would otherwise only have passed by absentmindedly, now with all of their senses. With playful ease, the exhibition draws attention to all that is otherwise overheard and overlooked in the hustle and bustle of a technologised world and asks the question: can you hear nature growing?
Niusha Ramzani, Gropius Bau Friend and artist, social worker and art and philosophy student
on the Kusama Kids Studio
When I am at the Gropius Bau as a Friend, I am always happy to observe how actively the children use the game in the Kusama Kids Booklet by the education team Ephra. They take their own space in the exhibition and in the building. They look for their own ways at their own speed and thus also break up the usual patterns in the exhibition space. I find that inspiring. In the Kusama Kids Studio, there is more space to reflect on the experiences, to paint, glue or read and simply spend some more time. Here I think that children and also adults make their own use of the Gropius Bau and are more relaxed.
Vera Moré, Gropius Bau Friend, cultural studies scholar and performance artist
on “becoming active yourself”
Hella Jongerius: Woven Cosmos is a fascinating exhibition: it combines millennia-old handicraft with today’s technology, aesthetically appealing, profound, energising and mindful. It contains art objects which entice me to touch them. They remind me of my own handicraft skills and/or those of other cultures. And what a surprise! I can become active myself, to create a rope together with other visitors in Dancing a Yarn. In a ritual in the form of a “dance” we concentrate, pay attention to each other, try to turn the hanging yarns in the same rhythm, in the same direction, and, if possible, even at the same speed. Coming together. Connecting ribbons. Release. Now the fabric ribbons turn on their own to form a rope. We marvel. Delighted. This work enables us to understand and dive deeper into this art. And perhaps what we create will become part of the artistic installations of this exhibition, which continuously develops. More of it!
Veronika Zimmer, Gropius Bau Friend and freelance cultural manager
on the Gropius Bau Journal
As a student, I miss sitting in crowded library halls between buzzing heads and staring into my texts or at the ceiling. While studying and working at home, I miss sounds like the quiet rustling of book pages, yawning, sighing and the energy of many bodies. An online reading group can’t really replace this feeling. But if you understand study as “talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering…” (as Fred Moten and Stefano Harney summarise in their book The Undercommons), reading and sharing thoughts together can be a brief retreat from daily struggles. An opportunity to create a moment of conviviality through our words and voices, to give confidence and hope. On the online platform Gropius Bau Journal you can delve into exciting essays, interviews and artists’ texts, read them out loud or quietly, alone or together. It’s an inspiration for your self-organised reading group – or a prelude to events at the Gropius Bau, which will hopefully re-open soon.
Amelie Hornung, Gropius Bau Friend and student of German Philology, Philosophy and Education
Zorica “Lola” Radivojevic-Llalloshi
on “Yayoi Kusama: A Bouquet of Love I Saw in the Universe”
Recently, I much enjoyed building a snowman with my granddaughter. And it’s always so nice to gaze out the window and watch the seasons change. Often, my thoughts then turn to the immersive spaces of Yayoi Kusama. To me, her “Polka Dots” bear a strong resemblance to snowflakes, but also to flowers in bloom. I’m in great excitement because hopefully her exhibition now opens at the Gropius Bau in April.
Zorica “Lola” Radivojevic-Llalloshi, Gropius Bau Friend and museum guard at the Gropius Bau
on “Masculinities: Liberation through Photography”
January, sleet and lockdown: fairly enticing to get all cozy on the couch. To break up the monotony, you may take a short walk with curator Alona Pardo through the exhibition Masculinities: Liberation through Photography. While strolling digitally through the Gropius Bau, past various images of masculinities over the course of time, you’re not only getting an impression of the exhibition, but also a desire to wander through the spacious galleries yourself soon again.
Rosa-Lena Bösl, Gropius Bau Friend and independent museologist
on the outside facade of the Gropius Bau
I am always amazed to see the Gropius Bau from the outside – one of the most impressive museum buildings! And a real “showcase” of handicrafts from the time of its construction in 1881. The fact that serial production was gaining traction then was seen as a threat to the continued survival of manual skills and artistic acumen. The large-scale terracotta depictions on the first and second floors, which surround the entire building, show master craftsmen at work in a lifelike manner (here basket weavers and printers). A walk around the building is a powerful reminder that the Gropius Bau was founded as a school for arts and crafts – and that it continues to pose questions about the relationship between arts and crafts today.
Petra Petrick, Gropius Bau Friend and photographer
Hans Youssuf Kiesler
on Otobong Nkanga’s “Carved to Flow”
Otobong Nkanga’s exhibition is entitled There’s No Such Thing as Solid Ground – and that’s exactly what it’s all about: ground, i.e. earth. In the Carved to Flow (2017–2020) project workspace, Nuno Vasconcelos, architect and researcher, works with different types of soil (coarse, pebbly, stony, fine, ...) to create the right mixture for building a solid wall. The highlight, however, is Nuno himself. You start a conversation, experience earth in a new way, share views, discover ideas and can always get your hands dirty, too.
Hans Youssuf Kiesler, Gropius Bau Friend and actor
on Lee Mingwei: “Guernica in Sand”
Nothing is permanent, everything is changeable and limited in relation to time. I particularly like the installation Guernica in Sand (2006/2020) by Lee Mingwei because it addresses the possibility of transforming trauma. Sand can be washed away by ocean waves, the wind or a ritual. Lee Mingwei transformed his sand painting through the performance of such a ritual, with people walking through the sand to turn an image based on Picasso's famous painting Guernica (1937) into an abstract form. Although the traces of the past can still be seen and memorised, we encounter a completely new image. For me it’s a metaphor for time and hope.
Şehnaz Layıkel, Gropius Bau Friend and PhD candidate at the Berlin University of the Arts
on Otobong Nkanga: “Manifest of Strains”
Air, water, fire – I particularly like the work Manifest of Strains (2017), because it combines these natural elements with emotional, social and political conditions and also makes these tangible: just as water evaporates into air through heat, other conditions merge into each other and create tension, which discharges itself in the installation’s circuit with a loud hiss – it always gives me a little goose bumps.
Lindi B., Gropius Bau Friend and student of cultural studies
on Akinbode Akinbiyi: “Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air”
In the exhibition of Akinbode Akinbiyi, Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air, I am particularly intrigued by the large unframed photograph, which hangs on the right-hand side of the door in the last room titled Lagos: All Roads. I would like to ask viewers to embark upon an imaginary journey through the rough metropolis that is depicted: just what is it that marks the haunting gaze of the young man in the photograph?
Petra Petrick, Gropius Bau Friend and photographer
The Gropius Bau Friends currently include:
Rosa-Lena Bösl, Christopher Hahn, Amelie Hornung, Hans Youssuf Kiesler, Duc Vu Manh, Erikas Montoya, Vera Moré, Mila Panic, Petra Petrick, Zorica Radivojevic-Llalloshi, Niusha Ramzani, Veronika Zimmer
Lindi B., Nataša Jagdhuhn, Ralph-Jürgen Lischke, Paul Maragnoli and Şehnaz Layıkel
At the beginning, the project was consulted by Julia Moritz and supported by an interdisciplinary advisory board, formed by Jens Dierkes, Kolja Kohlhoff, Necati Öziri, Carlos Rodriguez and Stephanie Rosenthal.
During winter semester 2019/20 at Leuphana University Lüneburg, a seminar led by Prof. Dr. Söntgen and Alia Rayyan examined the project with students of cultural studies.