60 years Art in the Underground: In the early years after 1958, the production of posters for the underground station walls behind the tracks was regulated by the East German state. Subsequent shifts both in subject matter and style attest artists’ endeavors to gradually transform the U-Bahnhof Alexanderplatz from a platform for propaganda into one for artistic positions on socially relevant issues. In 1991 the working group “Kunst statt Werbung“ [Art instead of Advertising] was founded. In 1993 the nGbK realized the group exhibition “Hund ist extra” in the U-Bahnhof Alexanderplatz. Until 2008 the annual exhibition and art actions were shown both behind the tracks and on the central platform of the U2 underground line.
Once the BVG [transport authority] sold all its underground station billboards to a advertising company, the Alexanderplatz platform was lost to art and artists. The competition duly changed: exhibition areas were sought now throughout the entire underground network—and no longer solely underground—while the permissible project format was broadened to encompass art of a more strongly conceptual or interventionist nature. In 2014 the station urbaner kulturen in Berlin-Hellersdorf was secured as a permanent venue where artists can continue to confront the general public with sociopolitical and aesthetic questions.
2018 - Plakat politisch machen [Posters made political]: The focus of this year’s competition is the connection between the outlying district of Berlin-Hellersdorf and the Alexanderplatz—the latter being an emblem of the urban downtown hub as well as the original competition venue. Under the motto “Recht auf Stadt” [Right to the City], artistic projects examine the relationship between urban policy and civic participation, and ask: What is the city? Who does it belong to?
Selected Artists 2018: Stephan Kurr, mark, Mio Okido, Felix Pestemer und GloReiche Nachbarschaft, Lars Preisser (from the open competition) and Sven Johne, Katharina Sieverding (from the "Kooperative Verfahren")
From 27 September: Mio Okido, Sven Johne
Financed by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa – Kunst im Stadtraum
Supported by BVG and LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin