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The Berlin dealer Johann König is tomorrow opening a new gallery next to the city’s Museum Island in a building that once housed the postal service’s telegraph office.
The gallery is König’s second in Berlin. The first, in a Brutalist former church, St. Agnes, opened in 2015. His company also operates a gallery in Seoul and is planning to open a new location in Mexico City in February 2024.
The former telegraph office, next to Monbijou Park on Oranienburgerstrasse, has recently undergone extensive renovation and also houses a hotel and a restaurant. Neighbours include Google and Fotografiska, a private photography museum that opened earlier this year.
The first exhibition in the new König Telegraphenamt is devoted to works by the painter Karl Horst Hödicke, a co-founder of the Neue Wilde movement of the early 1980s.
”It’s a more commercial space than St. Agnes,” König says. “We were intrigued by the architecture but also by the location. It is suitable for smaller works, while the space at St. Agnes invites bigger institutional works.”
König Galerie lost a number of artists from its roster—including Katharina Grosse and Monica Bonvicini—after the weekly newspaper Die Zeit published a report in 2022 containing allegations of sexual misconduct against Johann König, which it was later compelled to redact on court orders. The gallery was also not invited to art fairs it has attended regularly for years, König says. He denies all the allegations in the article and says he is suing Die Zeit for damages.
“It has been a really intense last year, with this on top of all the other challenges we are all facing,” König says.