The “street art gallery” seems like an oxymoron. Shouldn’t street art be, well, on the street?
West Berlin Gallery is well aware of the paradoxes involved in bringing graffiti indoors, and that’s perhaps what makes it unique. Guillaume Trotin, original Parisian and proprietor of the two-year-old institution, manages to take “pure”, “post” and what he calls “grown up” street artists, nurture their work, steer them towards commission gigs, and create a safe space for them to hang (or in some cases, spray, stencil or paste) their work on the wall.
More than half of the artists on the gallery’s roster—both from Berlin and abroad—go solely by an artistic moniker and would probably avoid showing their faces even at their own opening. On the run from an elite Berlin police unit specialized in hunting them down, street artists have a legitimate reason to keep a low profile, and Trotin does everything he can to protect their identities.
Although original pieces on offer at the Gallery don’t ever go for more than 5000€ a piece—a large amount of which are sold in the online shop —the place is decidedly “grown up”, too. A newly refurbished space in the soon-to-be-tamed wilds of upper Brunnenstraße finds a way to flip the precariousness of the street art world to benefit both the fan and the artist.