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Hannah Kruse of Goldrausch / an interview

Starting 27 years ago in former West Berlin, Goldrausch Künstlerinnenprojekt has provided a free one year intensive course for a range of female visual artists to expand their portfolio of work  and gain insider knowledge in the still challenging art world of Berlin. Here, arts manager and project curator Hannah Kruse talks about the importance of the project and their exhibition in September.

Paula Kenny: How did the Goldrausch Künstlerinnenprojekt project begin?

Hannah Kruse: It began in 1989 in West Berlin. It was set up by a group of feminist art historians who wanted to provide a platform for female artists to help themselves. There were many more women attending art school than men, but afterwards the women’s art wasn’t publicly shown. So this programme helped provide the tools female artists needed to help themselves reach their end goals. They were successful in finding funding from the Senate Department for Health, Long-Term Care and Gender Equality, Berlin and the European Social Fund (ESF). This means we are not connected to a university or art school and the artists that apply must have gone through their own education and be working in the art world. This programme allows them to gain more exposure. It has changed a lot over the years – the staff, the requirements and also Berlin as a city, so we have to tailor the programme to these changes.

We focus on visual art which can range from photography to sculpture. We choose 15 visual artists every year, it’s a very international range of people but our working language for the programme is German. As the artists are working in Germany, it is important to have the language so they don’t limit any opportunities here.

We focus on visual art which can range from photography to sculpture. We choose 15 visual artists every year, it’s a very international range of people but our working language for the programme is German. As the artists are working in Germany, it is important to have the language so they don’t limit any opportunities here.

P.K.: You get a lot of applicants each year. How do you choose the final fifteen?

H.K.: We offer open days and whoever is interested can apply, we try to give a lot of information before hand to prepare them for how intensive the Goldrausch project will be. We have a selection panel which consists of a museum curator, an artist that has gone through the programme in the past and for example an art critic  – all of which are women. We do work with men, so  we are not a separatist group but it’s good for women artists to have a female panel they can work with. It’s very diverse but very supportive of each other.

The year long course is free but the participants have to be able to pay their own living costs and support themselves financially.

P.K.: Do the shows have a theme?

H.K.: No, they don’t. We call for a diverse range of artists and they have different pieces for the final exhibition. We feel having a theme would dampen the individual style of the artists.

P.K.: How are the past artists from the Goldrausch Künstlerinnenprojekt doing now?

H.K.: There is a lot of artists from the past years and what they are all doing now is quite diverse. A lot of separate organisations in Berlin have said the applicants who came through the Goldrausch project are very organised, precise and clear in their work.  We’ve often heard the way the Goldrausch project is taught and the discussions within it open up many opportunities, teaching and otherwise for artists also. The chance to network also opens up a lot of collaborations among the artists for many years. Also being a visual artist can be very lonely and it allows them to network and get fresh eyes and perspective on their work.

P.K.: The art scene is quite diverse here but do you think there is still a gender bias happening?

H.K.: There definitely still is a gender bias happening. We usually keep track of figures in the pay gap in general, it’s about 35% in the Berlin art world. It is a very personality based way of working, so there is space for bias not only towards women but also towards different backgrounds. It is improving but nevertheless, when you look at the number of women going to art school and female artist’s earning in comparison to their male counterparts, it’s still a large difference. There are several entities to offer support but it is a very slow process. Projects like Goldrausch help with exposure that maybe the artist wouldn’t normally receive.

P.K.: And this year’s exhibition has happened in September.

H.K.: Yes, it began on the 8th of September and it ran for two weeks, mostly over two weekends. We’ve had a lot of talks and performances along the final year exhibition.

Goldrausch 2017 was held in the Kunstquartier Bethanien from the 8th to the 23rd of September.
You can read our interview with one of the featured artists here.

 

Image: Laura Link, You can’t touch this, 2017. Courtesy of Goldrausch and the artists.