Pret A Diner is exactly the kind of place that veterans of the Berlin scene bemoan. It’s expensive (relatively), the people about as far from Neuköln-grunge as one can be, the food by Michelin starred chef Tim Raue high concept and often bite-size, beer not in the vocabulary. Oh, and it’s a pop-up, twice yearly, roughly coinciding with fashion week. Luckily, I’m not one of those people. While the experience can be at times contrived, places like Pret A Diner offer an interesting dimension to Berlin’s cultural and culinary offerings, in many ways representing the new trajectory one which the city finds itself (think more London, less Warsaw).
This edition, up through February 29, adds a particularly Berlin spin to the pop-up, adding Circleculture Gallery “In the Mix.” The self-proclaimed urban fine art gallery opened in 2001 to support various creative activities in art, music, fashion, and design. For “In the Mix” they created a gallery in the second floor of the Alte Münze, which visitors traverse to go to the restaurant and club below. In a statement to ARTINFO, Circleculture founder Johann von Lanzenauer said, “I like the idea of bringing art and food culture together under one roof but in separate rooms. It allows each discipline to be focused and presented with the right attention. In correlation of a temporary event a unique experience is created for the visitors. High culture in a relaxed and unpretentious context.” Von Lanzenauer brought some of his top artists to show in the exhibition, among them XOOOOX, Stephan Strumbel, and Katrin Fridriks. Highlights of the exhibition also included ATMA’s Minotaurus, a 10-foot-tall wooden cross strewn with nails and a depiction of Jesus with a bull’s head, located in the entry way.
According to von Lanzenauer, the whole project came together last December: “I was at the Art Basel Miami as they had heard about Circleculture gallery from different sides. It turned out they also where in Miami, so we met and they proposed me to collaborate at the Berlin edition of Pret A Diner.” The soft opening of “In the Mix” on saw elites of the Berlin scene such as Gallery Weekend's Michael Neff and RTL's Hendrikje Kopp flood the post industrial, avian themed space.