01 Nov 2018

Deutsche Bank's PalaisPopulaire opens in Berlin - linking Art, Culture & Sports

With the new PalaisPopulaire in Berlin, Deutsche Bank has opened an innovative platform that brings together Art, Culture & Sports. The house not only seeks to combine different interests, but also different cultures, approaches, and views on the world.

In an interview for Deutsche Bank's online magazine DB ArtMag, Achim Drucks met the makers of the PalaisPopulaire.

„We want to move away from unwieldy, often elitist concepts of art and culture,” says Josephine Ackerman. From the balcony of the former Prinzessinnenpalais, one has a magnificent view of the city. Traffic moves along Unter den Linden boulevard. Car roofs sparkle in the sunlight. Behind the Humboldt Forum, the television tower rises into the clear blue sky above Berlin. One can feel Ackerman’s enthusiasm for this house, whose very name makes a statement: PalaisPopulaire. It conjures up encounter and dialog, sounds like a place where people can experience and talk about art and culture—but also a little like the populace has conquered a palace. “No, this is not a new People’s Palace,” says Ackerman with a laugh. And the “POPulaire” does not mean the focus is on Pop art. Rather, it is a new and innovative concept intended to give as many people as possible access to art, culture, and sports. It is meant to be popular, open to all, yet without sophistication falling by the wayside. And of course the new house is also supposed to provide enjoyment. 

Ackerman is Deputy Head of Art, Culture & Sports. The unit, directed by Thorsten Strauß, was formed in 2016. It bundles the bank’s artistic, cultural, and sports activities and creates new formats for cultural and sporting encounters. Right after Art, Culture & Sports was established, Strauß had a clear vision: He wanted it to be an open house that not only showcases the bank’s activities in these three areas, but that also links them in novel ways. Before the opening, the media jokingly asked whether gymnastics would be performed in the garden. The answer: Why not? 

Indeed, there will be sports workshops that will take participants to the area around the building and into the city. During exhibitions there will be music and DJ sets, and promenade concerts will move through the building. Athletes will discuss issues with actors and artists. Exhibitions of Post-Internet art will be mounted, including the solo show of the Lebanese artist Caline AounDeutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” 2018/19. 

As a global company, Deutsche Bank stands for a global art concept. But the bank is aware of the fact that even in Western countries many are becoming more critical of globalization. “With the PalaisPopulaire, we are very consciously sending a signal of openness and creating a free space where new and lateral thinking is possible,” says Ackerman. She adds: “We offer a program that includes socially relevant topics and at the same time enables joint experiences. In doing so, we rely on the strengths of different disciplines: the openness and sensuality of art and culture; the fairness, competitiveness, and team spirit of sports.” 

Director of the PalaisPopulaire, Svenja von Reichenbach says the house intends to draw Berliners as well as guests from around the world. “As an institution, the PalaisPopulaire meets very specific cultural and social conditions in the city. But we also rely on a globally oriented program. The idea of an ‘open house’ is very pragmatic. Ideally, guests will come to simply have a cup of coffee or to watch a sports event, but will then become curious and also view one of our exhibitions—or vice versa—and thus will take something truly new home with them.” 

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