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2013.04.27 Sat, by
A short history of Galerie EIGEN+ART

Founded by Gerd Harry Lybke in 1983, Galerie EIGEN+ART is one of Germany’s most iconic galleries.

EIGEN+ART emerged in 1983 as an unofficial gallery project in the private loft of Gerd Harry “Judy” Lybke at Körnerplatz in Leipzig. The name is a play on “eigen” (to own”) and “einzigartig” (unique). The artists he showed, including Neo Rauch, were active in the non-government (i.e. doctrinally mandated) sphere, therefore forbidden, and therefore illegal. Judy worked closely with the artists, sometimes even modelling for them. The young gallery’s experience and professionalism grew, eventually gaining national attention. In 1985 it expanded into a former studio in the Fritz-Austel-Straße. Towards the end of the 1980s, EIGEN+ART also obtained international attention, particularly through the traditional fair in Leipzig (famous for its trade fairs), through which twice a year the West was allowed access to East Germany.

In 1989 demonstrations began in Leipzig and soon spread to other parts of the DDR, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is the only successful revolution in German history and it was peaceful.

The new political freedom allowed EIGEN+ART to explore different modes of exhibition, including taking temporary gallery spaces directly on-site in international art capitals. The first temporary gallery space was in 1990 in Tokyo, followed by Paris in 1991, Berlin in 1992, New York in 1993 and London in 1994. Since 1991 Galerie EIGEN + ART has also participated in leading international art fairs in New York, Basel, Berlin, London and Miami.

The Berlin gallery emerged in 1992 from a temporary project at the then just-founded Kunst-Werke (KW) in the Mitte District in former-East Germany. To this day the gallery occupies a space on August-Straße, diagonally-opposite the KW Institute. In Leipzig, the gallery moved to a factory hall in 2005, on the grounds of the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei [Leipzig Cotton Factory]. The large spaces in the Spinnerei provide room for large-scale exhibitions, while the gallery in Berlin realizes “more concentrated forms of presentation”. Last year the gallery opened EIGEN + ART Lab, in the former Jewish Girls’ School building in Berlin Mitte, for projects with international artists not living in Berlin, whom the gallery does not normally represent and over an extended period of time.

The August-Strasse gallery has recently reopened, having been completely rebuilt, excepting only the facade.

Carsten Nicolai “crt mgn” 2013, Installation: neon light, cameras, television, permanent magnets, motorized pendulum system, sound receiver, sound system, size variable (courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin)

EIGEN+ART has consistently followed its own path. When it was controversially excluded from ArtBasel in 2011, Judy reacted with typical chutzpah, denouncing the decision loudly and widely in the press and, true to the gallery’s traditions, holding an EIGEN+ART exhibition very close to the ArtBasel fair anyway. The temporary exhibition became one of the most highly attended events in Basel. The following year the gallery was reinstated to the fair.

EIGEN+ART has also exhibited regularly in Asia, including at ShContemporary in Shanghai from 2010-2012 and ArtHK, now Art Basel Hong Kong.

Galerie EIGEN + ART represents established and young artists working across a broad practice spectrum, including traditional and new media. Artists represented include Akos Birkas, Birgit Brenner, Marc Desgrandchamps, Martin Eder, Tim Eitel, Nina Fischer/Maroan el Sani, Stella Hamberg, Christine Hill, Jörg Herold, Uwe Kowski, Rémy Markowitsch, Maix Mayer, Ryan Mosley, Carsten Nicolai, Olaf Nicolai, Neo Rauch, Ricarda Roggan, Yehudit Sasportas, David Schnell, Annelies Strba, Matthias Weischer.

randian 燃点 space for Galerie EIGEN+ART