Helena Heilig, a photographer, and prominent figures from the worlds of politics and food were also invited to the opening
The Governing Mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey attended the ceremonial opening of the art and exhibition project “Wirte im Lockdown” (“Innkeepers on lock-down”).
Exhibition at the Amano East Side Hotel Berlin runs until November 30, 2022; supported by METRO Panel discussion Politicians and restaurateurs spoke at the event “Pub, Café & KitKat Club – Why small enterprises connect society” about the difficulties and respect that the hospitality sector is currently facing.
There is no society without pubs, eateries, and nightclubs. Impressive photographs convey the narrative of the individuals behind bars in the exhibition “Wirte im Lockdown,” which debuted at the Amano East Side Hotel. The images are set against the backdrop of the Corona pandemic. The exhibition will be on display in other German towns once it concludes in Berlin on November 30.
Locked doors, empty patios outside, and lonesome bars. The spring of 2020 and the Corona pandemic that followed drastically altered social life. The loss of numerous cultural icons served as a stark reminder of the unique roles that hospitality, tourism, and culture play in our daily lives. In light of the winter of 2022, those who make this feasible also face numerous difficulties. The picture artist Helena Heilig’s project “Wirte im Lockdown” documents a complete stop and an attempt to establish a status. It repeatedly dared to consider whether life would remain the same after Corona. Will the importance of restaurants, bars, and cafés as gathering spaces for people to get together in the future be recognised more?
On November 10, METRO and AMANO Hotels provided a first-ever exclusive look at the exhibition “Wirte im Lockdown” by Helena Heilig and Susanne Fiedler and set up a platform for discussing these issues in a collaborative setting. The offer was accepted by about 140 visitors from the hospitality sector, politics, business, and public life. The exhibition was inaugurated by Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey, who said, “The hotel business plays a key role, especially for Berlin. It draws tourists from all over the world in addition to Berliners. It is one of the sectors that was particularly hard hit by the pandemic’s effects. Supporting this was crucial because of this.
the cuisine and the economic recovery plan for Berlin. The exhibition “Wirte im Lockdown” honours this significant sector of the economy and demonstrates to us what we have long been missing and what we can now rejoice in once more: restaurateurs with bustling businesses.
The wholesaler METRO backs the initiative and provides a forum for the sector to discuss the problems. Ivonne Julitta Bollow, Senior Vice President Corporate Public Policy METRO AG, states: “The challenges of gastronomy must also be put on the table in society, because we are sometimes lacking in appreciation for the industry. We are so happy about going to a café in the morning, having dinner with friends, or going to a club. It provides a stimulating opportunity to do so in “Wirte im Lockdown.”
Panel discussion with an emphasis on Berlin’s culinary establishments
Ilona Scholl, manager of the Michelin-starred restaurant Tulus Lotrek in Berlin-Kreuzberg, Sandra Enis, restaurateur and owner of Milja & Schäfa, Berlin, and Helena Heilig, artist, “Wirte im Lockdown,” were on a panel discussing “Pub, Café & KitKat Club – Why Small Businesses Connect Society” in a discussion moderated by Sven Liebert of METRO AG. The conversation was on how gastronomy is perceived politically and socially in the Netherlands and how to inspire more young people to pursue autonomous gastronomy.
16 of the 192 chefs participating in the exhibition initiative are from Berlin. The Milja & Schäfa restaurant owner from Berlin-Friedrichshain, Sandra Enis, was among those who attended the inauguration of the exhibition in large numbers: “Given that the pandemic has severely affected us as well, we were pleased to participate in the effort. Therefore, it is more crucial that we have more societal conversations about the value of the sector and that politics sets up the ideal environment. Even beyond 2023, the industry would receive a strong signal to persevere if the decreased VAT rate of 7% on food was postponed.”
The artist Helena Heilig said at the opening of the exhibition, “The exhibition should also be a wake-up call and make people think about how important the hospitality industry is to us. For me, it was essential to show the many faces behind a hard-hit industry. I’m very happy that this exhibition is now coming to Berlin thanks to METRO and at the same time being used as a platform for dialogue with politicians and businesses.
Regarding the artistic endeavour “Wirte im Lockdown”
The Munich-based photographer-lyricist team Helena Heilig and Susanne Fiedler visited 26 restaurateurs in their places of business in April 2020, spoke with them, and took pictures in the abandoned inns. For the roughly 3,500 restaurant and café owners in the city, everything had changed on March 21, 2020, from one day to the next. Heilig and Fiedler intended for their collaborative installation piece “Wirte im Lockdown” to capture this split. A show was scheduled to open in November 2020, but it had to be repeatedly postponed because of the second lockdown and the closure of all cultural institutions. Berlin, Hamburg, and other restaurant owners since The chance to share their narrative has been provided to Reutlingen, Stuttgart, Baden-Baden, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dresden, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Hanover, and Bremen. In 14 German locations, Helena Heilig went 5,500 kilometres to take pictures of 192 restaurateurs. The group grew to 8 journalists, who used Susanne Fiedler’s text approach to give the innkeepers a voice. The project will be displayed in Berlin for the first time starting today and running until November 30. The exhibition will be on display in Dresden starting in April 2023. A picture book that summarises the entire effort has also been released.
More information at: wirte-im-lockdown.de
The press kit with further visual material on the exhibition can be found at
we.tl/t-lGvnq2lRbO (link is active until 15.11.2022).
Wirte im Lockdown – Art & Exhibition Project
from 11 – 30 November 22 at the Amano East Side Hotel
Stralauer Platz 29