Ikke langt fra Oranienburgerstraße, i centrum af Berlin, ligger en gammel bunker, og der har den ligget siden 1943. Den 3.000 kvm. store bunker har gennem tiden fungeret som både beskyttelsesrum for nazister, opbevaring af tropisk frugt og været legeplads for hardcore technoglade berlinere. Det var dog af en helt anden grund, at vi lagde vores vej forbi den gamle Reichsbahnbunker, da vi var et smut forbi den tyske hovedstad.
I 2003 købte kunstsamleren Christian Boros sammen med sin kone bunkeren og gik i gang med et omfattende renoverings -og ombygningsprojekt, der ledte til åbningen af deres første udstilling i 2008. Den private samling rummer over 500 værker af ca. 57 forskellige kunstnere (heriblandt Monika Sosnowska, Katja Strunz, Santiago Sierra, Olafur Eliasson, Damien Hirst, Elizabeth Peyton, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anselm Reyle, Manfred Pernice og Tobias Rehberger), og netop nu kan du opleve 10% af “The Boros Collection,” i de historiske rammer på Reinhardtstraße. På toppen af den enorme bunker har parret bygget en 450 kvm. stor penthouselejlighed, hvor de nu bor sammen med deres søn.
Efter vores besøg havde vi svært ved at få armene ned, og vores hoveder ulmede af spørgsmål. Vi var så heldige, at Christian havde lyst til at fortælle os nogle af sine tanker, og vi er stolte over at kunne dele dem med jer her.
First we would like you to tell us a little about youself, basically what is your story?
My name is Boros, Christian Boros. I grew up in Cologne and studied advertising and aesthetics with Bazon Brock in Wuppertal in Germany’s Ruhr valley. This is where I founded an advertising agency in 1990.
When, how and why did you start to collect art?
In fact, I already began to collect art when I finished secondary school: I bought the multiple “Intuitionskiste” by Joseph Beuys, using the money my parents gave me as a graduation present. But collecting became more serious in 1990, when I made a deal with my professors: If I were to make money with advertising, I would give some of it back to the arts. Art gives me so much in my professional life – inspiration, power, energy – that I find it only fair to give something back by collecting it.
How did you get the idea about moving your art into the old bunker?
I spent years looking around before I finally found a suitable space for my collection. I had the clear vision that it would be a converted space, especially in a city like Berlin. The city is in constant transformation, so it made absolutely no sense to construct something new. When I saw the bunker, I was immediately convinced that it was the perfect place.
What has been most exciting about having your art collection in the bunker?
Every week, there are new events, people and impressions. That is what makes it exciting.
We couldn’t help but notice the photos from before the reconstruction, when we entered the exhibition. What is special about this story and why is it important to tell the visitors before they experiences the art?
Visiting the Bunker is not only about seeing art but about experiencing history. The past is retained in the labyrinth of its rooms: the terror of the Nazi regime, the fear of the war along with the pragmatism of a fruit store in the GDR or the hedonism of the techno scene after the fall of the wall. You can’t ignore it.
Many art collectors and gallery owners tend to put a white wall behind the art, not to distract the focus from the works. What does the raw look of the bunker add to your collection?
We tried to preserve the traces of all phases of the bunker: often the connection between the contemporary interventions, the space and the concatenations of the past lead to a new layer of meaning.
We’ve heard that some of the artists themselves have installed their art in the bunker. Why was it important, and how has it been to work with them?
I invited the artists to make site-specific installations. However, most of the pieces were already part of the collection before I bought the bunker. The fact that they fit so well into the space of the bunker is because the artists are my friends and they were responsible for the installation. It is also the result of trust, of the friendship I share with the artists. By installing the works they took responsibility for what they got me into at some point by selling me the things.
Is it important for you to have a relation with or to have known the artist behind the art you collect?
I know most of the artists whose works I collect. I like to have some kind of contact, and when I enjoy the company of the artist I like the art even better. I collect works by artists with whom I can talk about their work; that’s one of the things I like about it.
Do you go after anything specific when you are on the hunt for new artworks for your collection?
I’m attracted to works that I don’t understand. For me, a work of art should have something that displeases me; that irritates me. It should make me wonder: What is it about this work that manages to irritate me? Why don’t I understand it?
What is missing in your collection?
If I already had a check list of what to buy next, I think that would be really boring.
We know that there will be a new exhibition by the end of the year. Is it possible that you can reveal a little about it?
The next exhibition Boros Collection #2 will show a new selection of works from the collection. The fundamental concept of the exhibition will be the same as in the current display: we will again invite the artists to install their works themselves and thus to deal with the exceptional space of the bunker.
Rikke Luna (f. 1988) og Matias Albæk-Falk (f. 1988) er stiftere af idoart.dk, og driver derudover formidlingsbureauet I DO ART Agency samt forlaget I DO ART Books.