KW Institute for Contemporary Art is a place for the production and...
KW Institute for Contemporary Art is a place for the production and presentation of contemporary art, where the pressing questions of our time can be openly formulated and discussed.
It is a center for the introduction of recent developments in national and international contemporary culture, and for further development, working together with artists and institutions, and commissioning new work.
As an institution for contemporary art without a collection of its own, but also without the specific mandate of a member-based art association, KW has a high degree of flexibility in creating its programs and addressing its audience. It is a resource both for the people who make active use of it, and for those who participate in it as visitors.
The building complex in Berlin's centre includes exhibition halls, function rooms, offices, and a cafe, alongside apartments and studios, and provides a space for encounters and exchanges.
KW has gained importance as a centre for contemporary art ever since. Aside from an internationally oriented exhibition program and presentations by artists from Berlin and other German cities, KW has regularly cooperated with a range of partners, including the Venice Biennial, CLUB BERLIN (1995) and documenta X, HYBRID WORKSPACE (1997). KW has also collaborated for many years with the MoMA PS1 in New York, one of the most high-profile institutions for contemporary art worldwide.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art was founded in the early 1990s by Klaus Biesenbach and a group of young individuals with an interest in the arts, in a virtually derelict former margarine factory in Berlin-Mitte. Since its establishment, it has come to be seen more than any other institution as a symbol of Berlin's development into an international centre of contemporary art since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The heritage-listed front building from the early 18th century and the factory facility, dating back to the 1870s, were renovated in the mid-1990s with support from the national urban heritage conservation program, the Berlin Lotto Foundation, and the Heritage Foundation. The existing complex was extended with two new buildings: Cafe Bravo pavilion, designed by the American artist Dan Graham, and realized in cooperation with the architect Johanne Nalbach; and the 400 square-meter exhibition hall in the rear wing, designed by Berlin architect Hans Duttman. Upon its reopening in the fall of 1999, KW had 2.000 square meters of exhibition space on five floors, several studios in the side wings, and one of the finest courtyards in Berlin-Mitte.