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2016.03.03 Thu, by
The Feuerle Collection: a new museum with contemporary art, Imperial Chinese furniture, and Southeast Asian art to open in Berlin

[Press Release]

Spring 2016 sees the opening of The Feuerle Collection in Berlin, a new museum dedicated to Désiré Feuerle’s collection which juxtaposes international contemporary artists with Imperial Chinese furniture and Southeast Asian art.

Located in a former Second World War telecommunications bunker that has been renovated by the British architect John Pawson, the museum encourages a conversation between different periods and cultures offering an alternative perception of the antique and creates a new perspective on the artworks, leading viewers through a synesthetic experience.

The collection brings together stone, bronze and wood Khmer sculptures from the 7th-13th century, Imperial Chinese lacquer and stone furniture, wood and stone Chinese Scholar furniture from the Han Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, from 200 BC to the 18th century, and works by Cristina Iglesias, Anish Kapoor, Zeng Fanzhi, and James Lee Byars to name a few.

These pieces have all been chosen and collected by the museum’s founder Désiré Feuerle, a connoisseur of Asian art and art historian who was a pioneer in juxtaposing antiquities with contemporary art through a series of ground-breaking exhibitions in the 1990s.

“I feel that Désiré has a ‘Chinese Eye’ when it comes to his collection which makes him always choose the best pieces.” (Zeng Fanzhi)

The former Second World War telecommunications bunker in Berlin Kreuzberg has been transformed by British architect John Pawson who is renowned for his minimalist architecture and sensitivity to existing buildings. Pawson’s previous projects include the Cistercian monastery of Our Lady of Nový Dvůr in Bohemia, the Sackler Crossing at London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Luca Brenta B60 Sloop. The Feuerle Collection is the architect’s first project in Berlin.

“It is difficult to think of places more charged with atmosphere than these monumental concrete structures. They fall very much into the category of ‘engineers’ architecture that so appealed to Donald Judd. I knew from the beginning when I visited the site and first had that visceral experience of mass that I wanted to use as light a hand as possible. Concentrating all the effort on making pristine surfaces would never have felt appropriate here. Instead this has been a slow, considered process – a series of subtle refinements and interventions that intensify the quality of the space, so that all the attention focuses on the art.” (John Pawson)

The Feuerle Collection: a venue of the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

The Feuerle Collection will open to the public for a preview week from 29 April to 7 May 2016; during this period it will be open daily. After this, The Feuerle Collection will host the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art curated by DIS as one of the main venues. The 9th Berlin Biennale is open to the public from 4 June to 18 September 2016. Through the duration of the 9th Berlin Biennale the exhibition of The Feuerle Collection on the lower ground floor will remain open, while the Berlin Biennale will be shown on the ground floor. The temporary exhibition of the 9th Berlin Biennale will be followed by the official opening of The Feuerle Collection in October 2016.

Désiré Feuerle
Désiré Feuerle is a collector and consultant for renowned modern, contemporary, and Asian art collections. In his early career he worked closely with artists such as Rosemarie Trockel, James Lee Byars, Per Kirkeby, and Sigmar Polke. Art historian, resident in Asia and connoisseur of Asian art, he pioneered juxtaposition projects of contemporary art and antique artefacts in his own gallery in Cologne, the Feuerle Gallery (1990-1998) with exhibitions such as Eduardo Chillida and the Chinese neck rests of Ming and Song dynasties, Anish Kapoor and Ban Chiang terracottas from 1500–3600 bC, Richard Deacon and Silver Tea and Coffee pots from 17th c. to 20th c., and Rosemarie Trockel and scientific instruments. After closing his gallery, Désiré Feuerle continued curating a number of exhibitions such as Imperial Chinese Furniture. From II bc to XVIII th.c., 2006, and Cultivation and sensibility: Scholar Furniture inside and outside the Forbidden City, 2007. He is the founder of The Feuerle Collection, which centers on contemporary art, Imperial Chinese furniture, Southeast Asian art, Ban Chiang vessels, and Thai and Burmese ceramics and terracottas ranging from 3600 BC to the 18th century, and is viewed as one of the most notable collections of Asian art in Europe.

John Pawson
John Pawson has spent thirty years making rigorously simple architecture, based on the qualities of proportion, light and materials, which speaks of the fundamentals and is also modest in character. Early commissions included homes for the writer Bruce Chatwin, opera director Pierre Audi and collector Doris Lockhart Saatchi, together with art galleries in London, Dublin and New York. Subsequent projects have spanned a broad range of scales and typologies, from Calvin Klein’s flagship store in Manhattan and airport lounges for Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong, to a Cistercian monastery in the Czech Republic and sets for new ballets at London’s Royal Opera House and the Opéra Bastille in Paris. He is currently engaged in the project to create a new permanent home for the Design Museum in the former Commonwealth Institute in London, scheduled to open in late 2016.