“The idea was just to have one element, like one giant table that we could put in and would do all the work,” Brandlhuber explained of the design. Heating, media hookups, electricity, and even mounts for modular exhibition walls up to five meters tall are all situated in this single architectural intervention. Raising the floor has had another key effect: the vertical scale of the space has transitioned from that of a sanctuary to a Kunsthalle.
That potential was apparent to König from the minute he first saw the building. “Originally, I was looking for somewhere to live,” he says, having enlisted a broker to seek out unusual spaces in Berlin, of which there are still many. “But then I saw the St. Agnes. And even though I had a perfectly fine gallery, I thought, ‘This space is just asking to be used for art.’” He and his wife, Lena, who is a partner in the St. Agnes complex, now live in the church’s former rectory.
They are joined by a growing number of other partners, among them a café, the magazine 032c
, an architecture firm, the well-known nonprofit PRAXES Center for Contemporary Art, and the art studios and exhibition space for New York University’s study abroad program in Berlin. “The layout of the building led to the decision to make it into a cultural hub,” explains König, pointing out the courtyard around which each of the spaces, including his new gallery, is based. The gallerist intends to add one further building to the complex to house startups and other creative firms. Once construction is complete, a sculpture park will also take shape, showing a rotating selection of pieces by artists from König’s roster such as Grosse, Hein, and
Following Grosse in KÖNIG GALERIE’s main hall will be
, followed by
, and Trouvé. Shows at St. Agnes will mostly be on a grander scale than what was possible in his previous location. “I wanted to give the artists the possibility to do really substantial shows on an institutional level, standard, and scale,” says König. Grosse’s debut for the space features paintings so large they had to be stretched inside the gallery itself. Shows in the main gallery will occur only every two months, at a slightly slower rhythm than the typical six-week gallery opening schedule, to allow for these more ambitious projects.