Amidst the swelling chants of “We are one people” and “Germany Germany” echoing through the streets of the GDR capital, Kreuzberg queers occupy Mainzer Straße 4 in East Berlin on the evening of 1 May 1990.
Fig. above: Faggots roll GDR emblem across Mainzer Straße, 1990. Photo: Michael Oesterreich
The fag house Forellenhof quickly grows to include East Berlin faggots as well as faggots from all over the world and develops into a large anti-patriarchal commune full of dreams, utopias and concrete projects in the neighbourhood. A joint playground project with the old-established neighbours, the Max Hoelz antiquarian bookshop for GDR literature and the night bar Forelle Blau all find their place in and around the squatted house. The short summer of gay communism came to an abrupt end after a three-day street fight with the police and the subsequent eviction on 14 November 1990.
The exhibition Tuntenhaus Forellenhof 1990 portrays the Tuntenhaus as a place of collective everyday life in the balancing act between shopping, cooking, washing up and defending the houses against Nazis as well as lavish parties and political actions. However, it does not conceal the internal conflicts between East and West Berlin queers, autonomists, gay students and the neighbours of the women’s/lesbian house.
At the centre of the exhibition, set designer Bri Schlögel re-stages an important location of this occupation, the dining room of the Tuntenhaus – including period details such as opened roll-your-own tobacco (FRG) and filterless KARO cigarettes (GDR), original copies of the squatters’ newspaper of the time and a plaster Lenin on the wall silently advertising for the next plenum. The exhibition brings together voices, anecdotes and relics gathered since 2020 from Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Contributions by Juliet Bashore, Ronald M. Schernikau, Katrin Rothe, Guy Pariente, Ingo Hasselbach, Wolfgang Tillmans, Hajo Beer, Helga Krenz and others invite visitors to look, listen and touch.
Friday, 1. July 2022 until Monday, 13. February 2023