08. – 19.01.2019
Postmodern Melancholy I Stephanie Kloss
A photographic search for traces
In the architectural studies at the TU Berlin in the 1980s, the International Building Exhibition IBA 1987 was a compulsory programme. In 1988, people made a pilgrimage from Rauchstraße, where we marvelled at the first ecological buildings, to Lützowplatz with its post-modern residential buildings by Botta, Cook, Jansen, etc., to the IBA. On the other side of the square stood the O M Ungers apartment block, a must-see for every architecture student: Townhouses – at that time still called city villas – for social housing.
30 years and a wall later, nothing is left. The entire Ungers block was successively demolished. The new building embodies the obligatory mixed-use of the Berlin style, miles away from the conceptual originality and the IBA-typical generous inner-city living quality of the Ungers building.
In a concept of (West) Berlin as a “Green Archipelago” developed with colleagues such as Hans Kollhoff and Rem Koolhaas, Ungers opposed a reconstruction of the historic city body and advocated the planning of green city islands within a polycentric whole: The garden as a city, the city as a garden.
For West Berliners, the block at Lützowplatz offered paradisiacal conditions – at social housing rents. It thus stood as a prototype for the International Building Exhibition, whose principle was to “regain the inner city as a place to live” with affordable living space. “Critical Reconstruction” was another point. In view of the housing shortage and the new construction of the palace, today this programme is already looking visionary again.
Stephanie Kloss shows photographs of the demolition and juxtaposes these with other IBA buildings. She is not interested in documenting them, but in an abstraction that seeks to elaborate the IBA’s theoretical ideas and approach while at the same time taking a critical look at current urban policy.
Stephanie Kloss, born in Karlsruhe, lives and works as a visual artist in Berlin. She studied architecture at the Berlin Technische Universität (diploma), and media art at Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe under Marie-Jo Lafontaine and Günther Förg, as well as photography under Thomas Struth and Candida Höfer. Stephanie Kloss’s photographic works deal with sociological, political, and spatial phenomena. Here, in her more recent works, the subject of power plays a central part. She is represented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Next to her artistic work, she teaches extracurricular studies at Universität der Künste Berlin (UDK) and Summer University, curates shows such as “Erotica” or “Pissing in a River. Again!” (Kunstraum Kreuzberg), and writes texts for various art magazines.