We meet Lukas Feireiss on a summer afternoon in his studio at the old Ritter Butzke Werke in Berlin Kreuzberg. After climbing several stories we reach Lukas’ studio where the walls are covered with photographs, images, snippets. A mixture of books, album covers, pictures and sketches create an overall image, a collage. We would dare to say Lukas Feireiss’ studio seems to be as diverse as he himself.
While studying Religious Studies, with a minor in philosophy and ethics, he discovered his passion for architecture. Architecture came as a welcome source of friction in which his acquired knowledge and abstract theory become tangible.
Lukas calls himself, to simplify matters, a curator, whereas his creative field is very differentiated. Metaphorically spoken he describes himself as a cultural mediator, as a kind of interpreter who imparts creative processes especially concerning urban processes. In addition, he works as a consultant on design and layout issues, but is also involved in collaborations with fashion designers. He works as an editor and author, publishes books and is active in teaching at universities. As an independent curator he curates exhibitions for large museums and small galleries.
His latest body of work is a personal manifesto, LA DI DA DI, a tribute to the pop culture in a way. Consisting of forty quotes or song lyrics and titles, LA DI DA DI is his ‘personal lexicon’, a ‘collage of wisdom’, ‘a written mixture’. ‘ Almost everyone is able to make a soundtrack for his or her own life, or rather, is probably able to name a dozen songs that have accompanied him or her in different times and have had a strong influence’. It could be described as a collage. He uses collages in many areas of his work as the beginning and starting point, but it is also something that calms him down and has a therapeutic and catalytic effect. At the beginning of most of his projects he uses the concept of a collage, creating a ‘Critical Cut-Up’. This is a phase in which he moves certain tinges out of context, analyzes and reassembles them. His ‘Creative Theory’ functions as a kind of a tool, an instrument in the creative process, helping him to define the creative and artistic process. ‘My projects often carry a distinctive personal style. Furthermore my concepts usually contain three components. The social component, which is important in co-productions for example, when it comes to leading a team and developing something together’. But it also comes to application in the development of exhibition concepts, creating an exhibition space that functions as a discussion forum at the same time. The notion of the ‘spectacle’ plays a crucial role. ‘Sometimes it’s easier to address unpleasant affairs by creating a spectacle. As Marry Poppins said some time ago: ‘A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down’. And she was right – playing with a certain term in a way, creating a spectacle will get peoples attention an get them interested’. The third component is the speculating. ‘I try to provide a opportunity to broaden you horizon through my projects. I want to encourage people to look beyond the horizon and start thinking.’
In September he will be curating a symposium at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and will moderate the International Architecture Summit in Berlin.
Thus, the all-rounder Lukas Feireiss has been self-employed for about 5 years and moves between his home town Berlin and metropoles of the world as a mediator, interpreter and teacher, whose source of inspiration is the cultural reality as such. Grateful for the diversity of his work, he says ‘even if not all people have always understood me and what I do immediately, I can live my dream and managed to turn my passion into my work.’
Text by Hannah Edwards | Photography by Caroline Kurze