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MMX: a breath of fresh air

On Linienstraße in Mitte, once a hive of cutting-edge artistic activity, trendy galleries have displaced the squats and affordable housing. But slick rooms don’t guarantee better art: that’s why MMX is so refreshing.

Image for MMX: a breath of fresh air
“Hasta Nunca” by Francisco Montoya. Photo courtesy of MMX

Right after the fall of the Wall, groups of artists invaded the abandoned buildings and storefronts on Linienstraße and, for many years, the street continued to attract international artists and gallerists priced out of New York, London or Tokyo.

Twenty years on, the neighborhood has been through some big changes and witnessed an influx of yuppies following the trail that those artists forged. Trendy galleries that serve sushi at their openings, and oh-so-chic bars and clothing boutiques have displaced the affordable housing – and rents are still rising. But slick rooms don’t guarantee better art and rundown places have their charm: that’s why MMX’s opening in the middle of Mitte’s commercial zeitgeist is a breath of fresh air.

So no, MMX is not just another Berlin gallery. This nonprofit temporary art space contrasts strongly with its brothers and sisters in this newly gentrified district. With a policy of being “committed to fostering new approaches to art”, the four co-founders managed to revive the area’s vibrant underground and reveal its still extant potential. Artist Daniel Wilson was on his way to Buenos Aires when his three friends managed to convince him to trade in his ticket for an LA-Berlin one. He has no regrets. Wilson teamed up with New York artist Rebecca Loyche, German-born photographer Jonathan Gröger and entrepreneur Phillip Eggersglüß to turn – in the middle of Berlin’s long, hard winter – a soon-to-be-renovated Altbau into a temporary gallery, “art bar” and general space for creativity. MMX occupies more than 1000sqm of floor space and boasts several gallery rooms, a video screening room, the aforementioned bar, a courtyard, a front garden (sure to come alive in the summer) and a first floor that will be turned into an artist residency space.

Through their creative engagement and their belief in “the power of art to inspire, enhance and change people’s lives”, MMX’s four founders have managed to put together a ground-breaking agenda of rotating exhibitions, film screenings, site-specific installations, lectures, musical and dance performances, and unique weekly events. For its second show, which opened on March 12 and runs until April 16, MMX features video works, interactive sculptures and a site-specific sound installation – not to mention a light-therapy installation which consists of huge light spots placed in a windowless room and has a greatly rejuvenating effect, especially when you’re stepping walk in from the assaultive Berlin winter. This, folks, is one that shouldn’t be missed.