The only thing we want is more art in the world

R E B L O G G E D 

König Galerie inside St. Agnes – a former church in Kreuzberg – is Berlin's hippest art space, but also the head office of a magazine and a fashion label. We spoke with members of the König Galerie team, including power couple Johann and Lena König, as well as art director Louisa Hölker, about influencers, fashion and art. 

Do you have a fixed daily routine? 

Louisa: Not really. At the moment I’m getting lots of stuff ready for Art Basel, plus projects with Anselm Reyle and Andreas Mühe.

Lena: I get up at five, then I play with the kids. Right now, their favourite game in the morning is pretending the bed frame is a boat and the rug is the water all around it. Then I drop the kids at the nursery and tell myself to take a lunch break later, which of course doesn’t happen. I then pick the kids up again at half three. In between all that I’m at the gallery’s office.

Johann: My day is like that too. I also get up at five. Then I go for a half hour jog …

Lena: … that’s not true …

Johann: … then I row for half an hour, then I swim half an …

Lena: … and then he wakes up at some point.

Johann: So actually, I don’t really have any fixed daily routine.

Nothing regular?

Johann: Although when it comes to food, I follow the “8 to 16” diet. I first eat around midday, then have an evening meal. And then nothing for 16 hours.

What’s the aim?

Johann: Losing weight.

How much?

Johann: No specific amount. We don’t have any scales.

You were looking for a creative director for your gallery. How many applicants did you have?

Lena: 25 at least. But we actually realised that we don’t need one. We just did everything ourselves; the merchandise, the fashion, the magazine. There are lots of upsides to doing it yourself. Our artists are our creative directors.

As a gallery, how did you come by the idea to not just sell art, but lifestyle items too?

Johann: I saw editions as no longer contemporary. People aren’t as interested and, at the end of the day, it’s cheap art. But there really are loads of younger visitors. They also want to be part of it. It was clear we needed to create affordable merchandise so people could display their passion for art. It also had something to do with 032c.

What’s it like working with the artists on the merchandise?

Johann: It happens automatically. Katharina Grosse, for example, knew immediately what her t-shirt should look like. And Monica Bonvicini had the idea about jewellery.

Louisa: First we wanted to have a gold chain with the Istanbul-Biennale logo on, with “Guilt” on it. But Monica said no, she didn't want any gold chain; she’d much rather have a cap. She thought of “Guilt” as a contrast to Trump's “Make America Great Again”. Then it was knocked out within a week.

Lena: The leggings for Claudia’s exhibition are just her style of course. She wears leggings with cowboy boots, and that’s why there are leggings printed with motifs taken from her work.

What is the difference between art and fashion?

Johann: Fashion is practical.

Lena: It can be worn, so it’s usable, in contrast to art. It’s identity-forming. Art, on the other hand, can fulfil social functions but doesn't get worn out.

Why do influencers now post from your parties?

Johann: I started inviting them years ago. I found their range interesting.

Lena: There were also a few who posted Instagram stories. They would put "Great show, go see it," but they were never actually there. I think the influencer hype will blow over.

You are influencers yourselves though. Johann, you once said in an interview that you only wear things that people send you.

Johann: Yeah sure, trainers, stereo systems, dietary supplements, tinned sausages. But seriously though, the end game is about art. And the way we operate, that includes the parties, the magazine, fashion, influencers – people who originally didn't have much to do with art, if they come to love it then we’re hitting the nail on the head. The only thing we want is more art in the world.

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Reblogged: Text by Frédéric Schwilden // Photos by Maxime Ballesteros

Find the whole story from BERLIN FASHION WEEK MAGAZINE #26 here: