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12.12.2019

"We want to update the idea of recycling."

Material Warehouse offers a major opportunity to make the exhibition business more sustainable. With "Material für Alle" (Material for All), gallerist and cultural creator Felix Grosse-Lohmann has successfully kick-started his dream of just such a contact point in Frankfurt. MFA is now supporting the Luminale and its artists as a partner.

Almost all are agreed on one point: the arts and culture sector must become more sustainable. Realizing art exhibitions inevitably costs resources – but, in addition to saving emissions, there are ways and means of significantly reducing their consumption. The New York City Department of Culture has been setting a good example here for several decades: the "Material for the Arts" program offers a gigantic stock of donated, new and used materials for artists and cultural workers, as well as schools and non-profit organizations.

In Germany, the idea of a material warehouse or material management system has only gradually been gaining a foothold. Frankfurt’s residents can now count themselves lucky: The start-up "Material für Alle", or MFA for short, has just been financed. Felix Grosse-Lohmann was able to generate over 10,000 euros for his project through crowdfunding. The warehouse is officially opened since 9.11.19 and available to artists, creatives and also institutions. "We're opened," explains the Frankfurt native, "but of course there's always something to do." The big challenge, says Grosse-Lohmann, is not the collection of used or otherwise no longer needed materials. He is well networked and can collect and distribute the delivered materials as required. But financial support was urgently needed to cover infrastructure, warehouse construction and fixed costs.

Grosse-Lohmann slid into the culture business by chance. "I studied art education and English for teaching, but even while I was studying, I decided to take another path," explains the 35-year-old. A few years ago, he founded the Husslehof showroom in the Gallus district. Felix Grosse-Lohmann sees the MFA warehouse project as a meaningful continuation and addition: "I appreciate the opportunity of being actively involved in the art and cultural scene and at the same time be able to create structural change.”

Describing one of his major tasks for the near future, he says: "It's not just about collecting and offering materials. It is far more important to create ideas - so that used materials are also re-used and creating positive examples to show all that can be done with them. We want to update this old recycling concept and organize it so that MFA can establish itself locally in Frankfurt and its surroundings and assert itself as an economically sensible structure".

Felix Grosse-Lohmann sees his participation in the Luminale 2020 in two ways: On the one hand, as a partner for artists and exhibitors needing help in finding materials. From table and plinth to actual building material – well-networked, he knows where to find materials for the exhibition business at short notice. "In any case, the warehouse will be open, likewise for those interested in making a small detour from the Light Walk,” he explains. Exchanging ideas, donating materials or taking them with you - all of this should also be possible during the Luminale. And this fits perfectly into the concept of the "Better City" section, where projects are to be realized that the city will retain even after the Luminale 2020 has come to an end. In other words, in keeping with the name, ideas that carry on. He himself has also registered a lighting installation for the exhibition program, although how this will look exactly is still open to conjecture. In any case, on one point Grosse-Lohmann is sure: he wants to work with recycled materials.

Picture: Material for all © Radar Frankfurt

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