BNKR gives space to the ideas of our present time. In its name are two empty spaces – spaces left unsettled, unordered and undefined. This drives BNKR’s program: the former bunker becomes a flexible network that activates reflections on our present day in art, design, and architecture and further animates it with ideas taken from literature, film, music, philosophy and/or science.
BNKR was founded in 2014 by Munich entrepreneur Stefan F. Höglmaier to support his long-term interest and engagement in art and architecture, not only sustaining it financially, but also providing a platform that furthers exchange and dialogue.
The first exhibition held in this 200-square meter exhibition space, spread out over several rooms on the bunker’s ground level and basement, was curated by Gregor Jansen, the director of the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. The exhibition, whose title Labyr 1 cites a term deriving from the 1960s that oscillates between laboratory and labyrinth, examined active spaces between art, architecture, history, and utopia. The exhibition presented the work of eight international artists: Kathryn Andrews, Thomas Houseago, Franz Ackermann, Erika Hock, Jenny Holzer, Cerith Wyn Evans, Manuel Graf, and Alexander Ernst Voigt.
The exhibition Die Innenwelt der Außenwelt followed in 2015, presenting artworks and collaborations emerging from the project Bungalow Germania, the German contribution to the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014, along with related research. The interdisciplinary exhibition was curated by the art historian Sandra Oehy (Managing Curator, Bungalow Germania) and the architect Alex Lehnerer (General Commissioner, Bungalow Germania; Professor at ETH Zurich), who presented work by Quinn Latimer, William Forsythe, Armin Linke, Bas Princen, Kaufmann & Gehring, and Ciriacidis Lehnerer Architekten.
This was the first exhibition overseen by Nina Pettinato, the director of BNKR. Under her guidance, a curator is annually selected to realize exhibitions and an accompanying program promoting dialogue between art, architecture, and other disciplines.
In 2016, the curatorial collective section.a from Vienna took on this task. Their exhibition Im Raum mit_ consisted of several parts and was in continual development until the end, developing a dynamic exhibition project that was expanded upon and punctuated over the run of the show with a sequence of artistic interventions. It was realized by the architects FattingerOrso and the artists Julia Wilms, Constantin Luser, Peter Kogler and Christian Falsnaes. For a second project for 2016, section.a has curated Urban Shelter? by Annett Zinsmeister, currently showing at BNKR.
The building housing BNKR is a project by Stefan F. Höglmaier’s company EUROBODEN; it is the only aboveground bunker in Germany under heritage protection that has been allowed it to turn all stories into daylit spaces. The restoration and renovation were executed by raumstation Architekten from Starnberg. With its historically sensitive transformation and repurposing, the bunker on Ungererstraße has moved to finally become part of the present day and future.
raumstation Architekten Starnberg
Construction time: February 2012 – Spring 2014
Exhibition space: basement + ground floor / three appartments / penthouse
Sculpture: Tony Cragg (2005), „Discussion“, Bronze, 170 x 190 x 240cm.