Have you walked past it? Have you dared peer inside? Surely you must have, at least once, during your promenade in the groovy and fashionable Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg 36? It is the place in between a new toyshop and the old Turkish supermarket that closed down a while back.
Surely you stood in front of it and must have wondered at the strange art inside it that begs your attention. Or is it art that hangs on the walls in there? What is this place? A frame shop? An old dusty curiosity museum or a forgotten gallery that once sparkled with the Avant Garde in its heyday? Behind the dusty windows and sparse walls it is endart the ‘once upon a time’ heart and mind of the bizarre and uncompromising art, the venue for lewd performances, the office for all freaks, musicians and other hangarounders who come for the free beer and wine at its openings. Bands who worshipped punk rockers such as GG Allin found a new temple inside endart. Dadaesque images of political icons always found a nail on the walls of endart, while artists whose work showed their fetishes were never rejected. The old star of Herzog’s classic The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, Kasper Hauser himself found his niche inside endart, and how often do I see him clad in casual and unkempt gear, guarding the entrance as if one’s entry is forbidden if you are not part of the clan. But don’t be intimidated! endart is open to all but debt collectors or speculative real estate agents.
endart is no longer at the forefront of art that bizarre, conceptual and disgusting, but it is still there after all these years. Physically that is.
Its spirit never left but lives inside those walls, hidden away from the commercial eye. I walk past it everyday, sometimes 10 times a day.
I see it on my way home and each day I search for new works to hang there but my eyes get seldom satisfied. As an art lover I do ask myself why only seldom can endart exhibit its strange and bizarre works? Since art has become high and conventional and has moved to the streets of Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg one can say there is little buzz about what endart in Xberg 36 does.
High rents push galleries out of the footpaths
Is it the high rents that push galleries out of the footpaths into the backyards? Whatever the reason, endart needs our support as people, as art lovers, as Kreuzbergers. We don’t need another sport betting shop to invite broken dreams into Oranienstrasse. We don’t need another take away food store either because there are three of them next door. What we need is some fresh financial blood to be injected into endart so it can continue displaying the ridiculous and the uncanny and to support the artists whose work will never be flaunted on the walls and floors of the Documenta or the Art Forum because it may stink of controversy and bad taste.
Once on my way home a odd racket that sounded so eccentric that I crossed the road and stared inside endart to get a better hearing attracted me. Inside the office, which is visible from the street, I saw an army of locals jamming and singing with one another. Their jamming was not gospel, nor rap or hip-hop but noise made by mouths and nose flutes. An orchestra of misfits all having a good time led by Chicken the organiser and soul believer of endart. Strange behaviour to be going on inside a gallery in the middle of the day but endart is not just a gallery and its creative spirit is not only manifested in how many commercial shows it shows on each year but also in how many artists it can sit and feed inside its office. A benefit for endart is the only solution to keep it from drowning into deep debts and becoming like many cultural landmarks in Berlin, a remedy from the past.
Support local institutions even if they can’t polish their windows like some of the conventional galleries can.