Mitte is a district in Berlin that contains some of the city’s most famous features. Within this district you can find the KW Institute for Contemporary Art through a peaceful courtyard on Auguststraße.
The KW is an ex-margarine factory that was abandoned in the 1990s. Shortly after artists squatted in the building, including Klaus Bisenbach (chief curator at the MoMA, NYC) and today it is a gallery of contemporary art.
When you enter the gallery space on the ground floor an unusual layout guides you through. There’s a sense of uncertainty as you wonder round walls and through arches, with the brick-exposed vaulted ceiling above you. Eventually you reach a skylight lit balcony where the room suddenly opens out to a vast space below. Architecturally it is a building of old meets new and provides the perfect playground for artistic display. The art displayed spans on different contemporary mediums and subjects such as sculpture, installations and photography. The space has even been used for participatory art. In 2011 Cyprien Gaillard constructed a pyramid made from 3,000 imported beer boxes and 72,000 bottles of beer inviting participants to consume the drinks and in turn destructing the pyramid.
The bookshop in the reception has a collection of KW Publications, Berlin Biennial publications and the artist’s recommendations. Every year the gallery hosts the annual Berlin Biennial in June which it founded in 1997, and is Berlin’s biggest artist event of the year. The gallery has a café across from the entrance which has striking glass walls looking out in to the courtyard. It serves homemade cakes and light meals throughout the day.
After visiting the KW it is recommended to wander the surrounding streets where you can find beautiful buildings and upmarket boutiques, coffee bars and restaurants. Best of all there is an assortment of over 20 free galleries to keep you entertained for a whole day. If you reach as far as Burgstraße, visiting Buchhandlung Walther König (Bookstore Walter König) is a place every aspiring artist should visit with its impressive selection of thousands of art and design books.
Address: Auguststraβe 69, 10117 Berlin
S Hackescher Markt
S Oranienburger Straße – S-Bahn: S1, S2, S25 Trams: M1, M5, Bus: M1
Rosenthaler Platz: U-Bahn: U8 Tram: M8
Weinmeisterstraße: U8, N2, N5, N42
Oranienburger Tor: U6, Tram: M1
Opening times: Weds – Mon: 11am – 7pm. Also open till 9pm on Thursdays.
Price: 8 € / 6 € reduced
Admission free on Thursday evening from 6–9 pm
Tours can be arranged in advanced for groups over 10