The book is not a retrospective but a continuation of the idea of Substitut. It focuses on artistic contributions. It is a snap-shot of an art space and the city of Berlin. It is a statement to the current situation of an independent art space within the art system and the city of berlin.

Context: independent art spaces and Berlin

There are countless independent art spaces, project spaces, and off-spaces (or whatsoever they are called) around the world. One thing they all have in common is that they are non-profit and that the people running the spaces (curators and/or artists) usually are unpaid. All the spaces depend on the perseverance and passion of their managers since they are all operating with very little and unsecured budgets. Respectively non-permanent is the character of many spaces and the know how is transferred mostly in a small circle.

There are about 500 exhibition spaces in Berlin (Institutions, galleries, project spaces etc.). Numerous known and unknown artists moved to the city where they found cheap production conditions and most important: a lot of space. But the boom seems to have reached the limits. It is still very difficult to find jobs and money to make a living. In spite of numerous galleries the art market didn’t grow. And even the established institutions still have to work on a low budget. Poor but sexy they say, but sexy is not enough…


Artistic contributions by:

  • Marc Bauer, Patricia Bucher, Les Frères Chapuisat, Eric Emery, Ruth Erdt, El Frauenfelder, Nicolas Galeazzi, Goran Galic / Gian-Reto Gredig, Emanuel Geisser, Melanie Gugelmann, Haus am Gern, Christina Hemauer/Roman Keller, Susanne Hofer, Georg Keller, knowbotiq, Aurelio Kopainig, Isabelle Krieg, Mediengruppe Bitnik, Cat Tuong Nguyen, Delphine Reist / Laurent Faulon, RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co), Martin G. Schmid, Loredana Sperini, Vreni Spieser, Nina Stähli, Ana Strika, Christoph Wachter/Mathias Jud, Christian Waldvogel, Bo Wiget (Beide Messies), Andrea Winkler.

Some exhibition views:

Texts (in G and E):

  • Greeting by Heinz Stahlhut
  • Forword by Urs Küenzi
  • Sally De Kunst about new forms of curating
  • a talk with some Berlin based curators etc.
  • Christian Saehrendt: «Dream Job Artist»
  • Heinrich Gartentor about the art system and itʼs supporting
  • Emilia Rosa Sulek about working for Substitut
  • Urs Küenzi about Substitut
Picture cc1ebe77 5181 4c5f 9d4a 0c4b6d57e96bPicture 8a851baa e01b 4e6a 9351 33c34dc9a62cPicture 4ea0e0e3 746b 4d47 acc1 8ce220701576Picture 658d3904 6e8f 45ca b176 ac88908965e2Picture 9a889532 6a86 4ce7 8a57 08ea2b62d5cePicture e079ba63 c281 43ff 8a54 35d2f0353ddcPicture 1727b159 3e06 44fc b4be 976df9a0936bPicture 5611d23d 388b 46a2 9993 e8eab841ae29

Curatorial Concept

Similar to many exhibition projects at Substitut the concept of the book is as open as possible. It was (and still is) developed equitable with the graphic designers. Starting point was how to transform the idea of independent curating (res an independent art space) into a book.

Editorial Concept

A book in the digital age will become like a Vinyl record. The nostalgia aspect gives it a higher value and maybe even a romantic note. Why not collect all your text-messages and hand it to your lover as a book? Nowadays everyone is a sender, not just a receiver. On the other hand also in the case of book-printing digital culture empowers the individual. The internet and digital printing techniques made the production of (certain) books cheaper. While the latest «Harry Potter» by J.K. Rowling is released worldwide in a massive number of editions «My secret magic skills» by John Smith is ordered just by his beloved ones. The latter printed on demand.

Picture dc9a3d97 ea78 44c6 b2c6 30566d60cc3aPicture 7527095e 0f74 4c98 b488 018552d90847Picture b7e5caf5 cf98 464f 99f0 5e2a0736a224

Print on demand – The Book as Performance

The book will be printed on demand and not in a pre-defined number of editions. It will be produced at Substitut in April 2013. You can order the book but as a visitor you can also buy it at Substitut and follow the printing process. By displaying the whole process of the production within the frame of an art exhibition we focus on the performative aspects of editing and printing a book.


We need your support for:

The CHF 6000 we use to pay the authors, the lectorship and the translation of the texts.

For 50 CHF you get a textile bag

Already for CHF 75 you get a book!

For CHF 200 you get a A3 print of one of the contributing artists.

For CHF 350 you get a multiple by Melanie Gugelmann of your choice and for CHF 500 you get both.

Picture 1d4a68f6 0d56 4dc2 866a 1612941b8e0fPicture 73959d73 bf55 4e30 aa29 73e35cfb3ddd