Zqm is a flat in Berlin, situated between Prenzlauer Berg and Friederichshain, the former eastern Part of the German capital. It is also one of the early independant artist-run project spaces that continuously shows site-specific art interventions since over ten years. The artist and curator Eric Emery, who graduated from the ECAL with Professor Fabrice Gygi, has a strong interest for installation and architecture. When he founded the space in 2007, after having moved to Berlin and worked as scenographer for contemporary dance, his decision was to invite artists, Swiss, German and international, to interact, transform, work with the flat on the first floor of the residential building.
Over 70 exhibitions and interventions took place, including collaborations with institutions like the University of the Arts Berlin UdK and the ECAL Lausanne. The space offers a quite exceptional opportunity to live and work, and to show experiments with installation and spatial interventions that even the walls of the flat can hardly limit.
Many artists that have shown in zqm are now established positions, yet Emery still looks to have a mix of well-known artists like Claudia Comte or Knut Henrik Henriksen, and younger artists, always curious for new and enriching encounters. Since 2015, Ascanio Cecco, an Italian art historian who graduated at the University of Lausanne, works with Emery to further develop the program of the independant project space. This year, zqm received the award for Künstlerische Projekträume und -initiativen 2018 by the city of Berlin.
SAA: Why does art need mediation?
EE: The art mediator is a key partner between the academy, the cultural institution and the art market; it is about insuring the promotion of the younger artists. Throug his activity, upcoming artists find an access to a valuable audience.
SAA: How do you approach an artwork that you wish to display?
EE: I consider an artwork from the angle of its relevance. Having a site specific approach as a curator, I pay careful attention to the ability of an artwork to match with its socio-cultural and physical context.
SAA: For what reason would you write or speak about an artwork you don’t like?
EE: Disliked things are what is more talked about. It’s a necessary evil.
SAA: Can you tell me something about the last artwork that woke your attention?
EE: The installation Resolution: zero. Hopes: zero. from Swiss artist Tarik Hayward at the Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris was very pertinent. Monumental and common at the same time, this fence – similar to the cladding that protects houses from the weather in the artist’s birthplace – holds a familiar, almost maternal beauty. Its glossy waved front leads to the backyard, where the construction disclosed recycled offset print plates of a local newspaper used as raw material for the self curved cladding. The recycled wood structure keeps the visitor on distance making the information unreadable, useless. The medium supposed to vehicle opinions becomes a shield to avoid communication, an artifact inspired of all the walls, analog and digital, that divide people and curb information.
SAA: Which institution/ book/ artist/ did inspire you newly?
EE: For the past few years I have a growing interest for architecture. The work of Berlin-based architect Arno Brandlhuber, his conceptual and brutalist approach, is a source of inspiration for me.