For our local issue, we sat down with Ingrid Kraus and Olav Lorentzen of Cafuné to learn more about what it is like to run a local artist space in Berlin.
LFB: Hey Ingrid and Olav of Cafunè! Can you tell us both a bit about yourself (your background, and how you ended up in Berlin?)
Ingrid: I was born in Brazil with German ancestry. I have been involved with art since I graduated from a BA in design. After working with commercial galleries and taking a post-grad course in Brazilian art history I found myself interested in curation and its relation to education and culture. I have been living in Berlin for the past two years.
Olav: I am Brazilian artist graduated from Central Saint Martins in London. My practice is sculpture based and focusses on perception and balance. I have been living between Brazil and Colombia since I finished in London and I have come to Berlin so we could start Cafuné.
LFB: Can you tell us a bit about the space Cafuné finds itself in? (The combination of artist space, living space, and residency space)
Ingrid &We think of it as cultural melting pot. We want it to be an open environment for new dialogues and exchange between creatives across disciplines. We hope each exhibition, event or even conversation can be a catalyst for new ideas and collaborations.
LFB: What do you think is the benefit of the combination of the space being not just a gallery, not just a residency, and not just a private living space? What are the harder aspects?
Everything in Cafuné is a combination of some sort. It’s hard to define what Cafuné really is. I don’t even think we know yet. For example, an exhibition is not only an exhibition, another artist can come and put work in the same space as you have yours. Or a musician can do a performance that ads sound to the space, etc. Nothing is fixed, everything is always changing and evolving together. In a way, Cafuné has become a living organism that we do not control.
LFB: What is it like to host artists in residency?
The main concept behind the space is that it is a collaborative project. Having artists living here makes this exchange more intense and their participation is full time. Like we said Cafune is not only a place for hosting art. It is a cradle for ideas.
Freak Flag by Distruktur
Colcha de Retalhos by Distruktur and Tent by Clarice Calvo-Pinsolle and Laura Panttison
Colcha de Retalhos by Distruktur
Die Sonne by Distruktur
Hibrid by Clarice Calvo-Pinsolle
LFB: How do you find the artists to show at Cafuné?
It all happens quite organically, when we first started talking to people about the project and our idea of mixing European and south American creatives, we got suggestions and these people suggested other people and so on. After we opened, we have met other artists. In the end everyone collaborates with Cafuné in some way.
LFB: Cafuné is called a Gallery but is not a Gallery in the sense that the artwork exhibited is for show but not sale – why was this decision made and what is the reason?
I think some people can think of it as a gallery because it is the easiest way to categorize an art space. But we have never called ourselves a gallery.
LFB: Berlin is an incredible space for artists and is full of many galleries, some bigger, some smaller. We definitely need a space for bigger museums and collective but we also need to definitely support all that is happening on the local level as this is the true heart of a city. Could you elaborate on this topic and if you agree?
Of course, big institutions are important, they are mainly what legitimize an artist or an art piece. An exhibition you visit at Hamburger Bahnhof for instance has probably been exhibited somewhere else, or still will be. It’s a huge chain of art and it’s wonderful to have the chance to be in touch with what is happening on an international level. On the other hand, we have the independent spaces. The amount of those spaces here in Berlin is what makes it so unique. It is an intermediate space, between the galleries and the museums. Somewhere that is free in all senses and where the essence of art can be questioned and reexamined. A place where both the art and the people have something in common.
LFB: What is the best part about being a smaller local Gallery v. being a very large commercial one?
First of all, we can do whatever we want, and so can the artists. There is no pressure, the art market is not involved, and the work is not formatted in any way. But for us, what is most important, is for the people who come here to feel close to what is going on. Everyone is on the same level. There is no pretension of making a name for ourselves or no need to compete with other spaces. On the contrary, the idea is to work together.
LFB: How do people find out about Cafuné? Is it mostly organic?
We are very happy with the way things have turned out. People are telling their friends about Cafuné and every event we have returning visitors. Our programme is quite intense, we have something new going on almost every week, but it is really nice to see artists that have done something here one month ago coming back to see what is new.
LFB: What kind of events take place at Cafuné and how often are they taking place? Can you tell us about the next event so our readers can attend?
There are all kinds of events taking place at Cafuné, we have simultaneous exhibitions, performances, sound projects, film screenings, talks. We don’t really know what will be next since new ideas are being born all the time. We announce all the events on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cafun%C3%A9-1063200393823659/ and Instagram, and if you contact us through our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org we can keep you posted with our newsletters.
Cafuné is open for visiting from 2-7pm from Wednesday to Friday and is located at Innstraße 32 – 12045 – Neukölln. For event dates and more information please visit: cafuneprojectspace.com.
Photography: Rae Tashman