Things in the Studio

Uferhallen, Open Studios, View Atelier Bettina Scholz © Justyna Fedec

Host to various exhibitions, BAW Garden, and open studios, the Uferhallen grounds are an important focal point of this year’s Berlin Art Week. Perhaps even more significantly, the Uferhallen have long served as one of Berlin’s main sites of art production. We asked some of the artists working there for insight into their studio—and to tell us about a key object that accompanies them of the years.



Foto: Courtesy kennedy+swan
Foto: Courtesy kennedy+swan

The first object to find its way into our new Berlin studio at Uferhallen was this white drum kit. From the start, it symbolised the fact that we could do whatever we wanted in this studio, no matter how loud or what time of day it was. It’s also the perfect break after a long stint of concentrated work on the miniature models or the elaborate 3D scans we use in our animated films. We’ve also used it to score a number of works, like the silent film ›Bath the Pain Away‹, for example.



kennedy+swan was founded in 2013 and consists of the artists Bianca Kennedy and Swan Collective. They collaborate on videos and virtual reality experiences exploring the future of evolution and its impact on plants, animals, and humans.  


Heiner Franzen


Foto: Courtesy Heiner Franzen

The object that has survived all the studio moves is this Daci box camera: a little metal brick made in 1950, used to shoot 6×6 roll films. It has a fixed lens and two shutter speeds: 1/40 second and »B«. You can pick them up at any flea market. This one I found in my grandfather’s attic. I was a first-year art student and wanted to use it straight away, but its film transport mechanism was broken. My flatmate got it going with the thread on a curtain rod. The first thing I did was actually photograph my grandfather’s house, and I used it many times after that as well. This box taught me a lot about photography and actually also about film.



Heiner Franzen works in video and drawing. He processes collective memories from everyday life: teenage experiences, visits to the cinema, advertising, sports, medicine, etc. He has had a studio at the Uferhallen since early 2008. 


Manfred Peckl

Foto: Courtesy Manfred Peckl

My dog’s name was Helmut. He was afraid of the dark.
My girlfriend’s name was Inge. Rings have been hanging here since she died.
My friend’s name was Jack. This can has been there since his death.
My coat’s name is Viva. I almost drowned wearing her.



Manfred Peckl is an artist, author, and musician. He has worked at the Uferhallen since 2008.


Hamid Yaraghchi


Foto: Courtesy Hamid Yaraghchi

I found this image by chance on the internet four years ago, and a printout of it has been hanging on the wall of my work area ever since. At first glance, the picture looks like one of many from the history we know so well. Yet a closer look reveals an abstruseness to the situation we find depicted there—it sends shivers down the spine. It’s impossible to explain what is going on in the picture, there’s no way to grasp it with the usual common sense. Study the individual facial expressions and gestures in the photograph and reality as we know it retreats into the far distance. There is a ghostly quality to the goings-on, something intrinsically metaphysical, inexplicable. That is precisely what I am looking for and what I investigate in my work: images that at first glance seem coherent and quite natural; images of situations we can find all around us every day. And yet a closer look reveals a world that poses riddles, a world that asks questions that cannot and will not be answered, a world that deeply moves and transports you with its horror and absurdity, in some intangible way, to a world full of questions and riddles beyond our understanding.



The artist Hamid Yaraghchi was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1984. He has been working in a studio at the Uferhallen since 2021.  


Norbert Witzgall

Photo: Courtesy Hamid Yaraghchi

My portraits are based on photographs. I am particularly interested in how categories such as ›class‹, ›race‹, and ›gender‹ are inscribed in images. Photo albums are an especially trenchant example: I’m very interested in these kinds of ›picture books‹ because they show not only individual family relationships, but also and especially social norms. This photo album was given to me by my late mother and holds a special significance for me. It shows a family I never knew, a seemingly rich, upper middle-class nineteenth century family and their many servants. It’s quite far removed from the family I grew up in. I am fascinated by the now indecipherable relationships between the people in the pictures, by their formulaic poses and get-ups: what do the social facades in these individual portraits conceal? Who is fulfilling what role? And how do traditional roles persist into the present day?


Norbert Witzgall is an artist and educator. Since 2014, he teaches at UdK Berlin. He has his studio at the Uferhallen since 2019.


John Bock

Fotos: Courtesy John Bock

I am quite attached to this Unheil head frame, an object worn by Lars Eidinger, who played the »Stranger« in my medieval film ›Unheil‹. It reminds me of the film shoot at Ukranenland. Lars used the Unheil head frame in rituals meant to plunge the mother character, played by Effi Rabsilber, into hallucination zones. Her ghost glides into the in-between zone of the forest in search of her murdered daughter.

»Stranger: The clay double rotates, modelling the surrounding bubble.
Rotary cuts up light-flesh.
Light-bowel dampens the earth.
Branch bones stalk juicily from the furrow.
Loamy blood stream streams like a vein into the field flesh.«

(Screenplay excerpt, ›Unheil‹)



In his installations, theater projects, films and exhibitions, John Bock, born 1965, combines many different media to creat a manic world theater. He moved his studio to the Uferhallen in 2008.


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