Revision: Peripherie als Ort

The Hellersdorf Project. Photo series by Helga Paris and Ulrich Wüst

13 September 2020–10 April 2021
Opening: 12 September 2020

Event Series

The exhibition was closed from 2 November 2020 to 11 March 2021 due to the corona pandemic and reopended from 13 March until 10 April 2021.

nGbK (Event space, 1st floor), Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
Sports hall, Carola-Neher-Straße 51, 12619 Berlin
station urbaner kulturen, Auerbacher Ring 41, 12619 Berlin


Helga Paris, Ulrich Wüst


Ulrich Domröse, Wolfgang Kil, Urs Kohlbrenner, Helke Misselwitz, Arne Schmitt, Inka Schube, Ulrich Wüst

Project group station urbaner kulturen

Jochen Becker, Fabian Bovens, Eva Hertzsch, Margarete Kiss, Constanze Musterer, Adam Page


Jana Müller

The exhibition »Periphery as a Place - The Hellersdorf Project«, organised by Ulrich Domröse (outgoing curator for photography at the Berlinische Galerie), was first shown at the nGbK in Kreuzberg over twenty years ago. Now nGbK will present two of the photo series from that exhibition – urban landscapes by Ulrich Wüst and portraits of young people by Helga Paris – at its satelite location, the station urbaner kulturen in Hellersdorf. This revision will afford a new discussion about the work and will be complimented by additional works by both photographers.

For the exhibition in 1999 commissioned by the Hellersdorf housing association (WoGeHe), Ulrich Domröse invited the renowned artists Helga Paris and Ulrich Wüst, as well as Jens Rötzsch and Max Baumann, to explore the large Hellersdorf housing estate and to materialise their observations in photographic series.

Frictions between »The Hellersdorf Project« today and in 1999 will now be the subject of a re-examination in the station urbaner kulturen: how has the estate developed since 1999, what connections exist between the inner city and the periphery, and what are the people involved in the original project doing today? In addition, the photo series will be placed in the context of the photographers’ bodies of artistic work.

In 1999, the exhibition was presented to an audience interested in photography and urbanism at the nGbK in Kreuzberg and later in Hellersdorf itself. Having also been shown in Turin, the photo series was then bought for the Berlinische Galerie collection.

The WoGeHe used fine art as part of its struggle to stem the rapidly deteriorating image of so many prefab ›Plattenbau‹ estates in fomer East Berlin at the end of the 1990s. It commissioned numerous sculptures in public space as well as this ambitious photographic exploration of the periphery.

»The Hellersdorf Project« was documented in an extensive catalogue with essays by Alexander Osang, Rolf Schneider and Gerwin Zohlen.

The photography curator Inka Schube (today curator at Sprengel Museum Hannover), the director of nGbK Leonie Baumann (today rector at Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin), the curator Karin Scheel (today artistic director at Schloss Biesdorf) and “WoGeHe”’s former managing director Jack Gelfort (today member the AfD Party in Freiburg) were also involved in the realisation of »The Hellersdorf Project«.
Julia Hartmann, an anonymous schoolgirl photographed by Helga Paris at the time, played the part of a trainee policewomen in the German crime drama series »Tatort«, and the women who still run the butcher’s shop opposite the venue also feature.


Saturday, 10 October 2020, 18:00
Talk with Ulrich Wüst and Arne Schmitt

The photographer Ulrich Wüst (born 1949 in Magdeburg, based in Berlin and Norduckermark) rarely talks about his work in public. He will be accompanied by the photographer and artist Arne Schmitt (born 1984 in Mayen, based in Cologne and Zurich) whose exhibition in station urbaner kulturen will open early December. Both share an interest in a sober, often black and white observation of the public sphere and of urban modernity. Both think in terms of photographic series rather than individual images.

Thursday, 22 October 2020, 18:00
Film screening »HELGA PARIS, FOTOGRAFIN« and talk with Helke Misselwitz
Moderation: Jochen Becker (AG station urbaner kulturen)

The director Helke Misselwitz (born 1947 in Planitz near Zwickau) works mainly with documentary formats. She has influenced an entire generation as a filmmaker and professor of Film Direction at the Konrad Wolf University of Film and Television in Babelsberg. She has had a long friendship with the photographer Helga Paris (born 1938 in Gollnow). Helga Paris worked on her Film ›Herzsprung‹ (1992) as a still photographer and as an actress in ›Engelchen‹ (1996). Helke Misselwitz’s documentary film triptych, “HELGA PARIS, FOTOGRAFIN” (completed 2019) will be shown before the discussion.

Saturday, 21 November 2020, 16:00 via video conference
Talk with Ulrich Domröse (Berlinische Galerie) and Urs Kohlbrenner (Planergemeinschaft Kohlbrenner)
Moderation: Jochen Becker (AG station urbaner kulturen)

Over twenty years ago Ulrich Domröse (departing curator for photography at the Berlinische Galerie) organised the exhibition »Periphery as Place: The Hellersdorf Project«, which was first shown in 1999 at the nGbK in Kreuzberg and later in Hellersdorf itself. Domröse invited, among others, the artists Helga Paris and Ulrich Wüst: »The Hellersdorf Project arose from the need to reflect on current developments in the periphery using Hellersdorf as an example. We were looking for pictures that interpreted their subject matter rather than documenting it.«

Parallel, the urban planner and architect Prof. Urs Kohlbrenner produced a »Concept for Hellersdorf neighbourhoods - a large housing estate becomes part of the city«, which sought to give this former GDR estate a new face. Both Domröse and Kohlbrenner were commissioned by the Hellersdorf Housing Association (WoGeHe), who deployed fine art as part of its attempts to resist the rapid deterioration of the image of the ›Plattenbau‹ housing estates in the east of Berlin.
The discussion seeks to reconstruct this decisive moment in time, with special regard to the present and future situations of such housing estates.

Saturday, 21 November 2020, 18:00 via video conference
Talk with Inka Schube (Sprengel Museum Hannover) and Wolfgang Kil (critic / architect)
Moderation: Jochen Becker (AG station urbaner kulturen)

As curator for photography at the Sprengel Museum Hannover, Inka Schube organised the first major retrospective of Helga Paris’ photographs in 2004 and more recently at the Akademie der Künste on Pariser Platz in Berlin. She is also the editor of the book recently published by Spector Verlag with photographs of Leipzig’s main railway station, which she rediscovered in Paris’ archive. Her exhibition »Helga Paris Photography/Photography« is being shown all over the world by Germany’s Institute for Foreign Relations. Inka Schube was also involved in the »The Hellersdorf Project«.

Wolfgang Kil studied with Ulrich Wüst in Weimar - Kil Architecture, Wüst Urban Planning. Both initially worked in these professions, but soon gave them up, as they could no longer see any room for creativity in the technocratisation of GDR urbanism. While Wüst concentrated on artistic photography with a focus on city views, Wolfgang Kil worked as a critic on photography and urbanity.
The discussion will focus on the particularities of the photographs currently exhibited in the station urbaner kulturen.

Financed by