Elisa and Lennart have known each other since they were 14 as they both grew up in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg.

Creative Couples: KM Temporaer put art in context.

The Berlin duo KM Temporaer juxtaposes traditional and contemporary art with social issues – via installations that encourage exchange.
Text: Christian Wust
Photos: Trevor Good
  • Creative couples: KM Temporaer put art in context.

  • The city of arts.

    If the city of Berlin had an Open Day, it would start with a vernissage and end with a finissage. Berlin is the city of artists, art dealers, art critics – and those who’ll take art (and every- thing else) as an excuse for a party.

    Yet there is more to Berlin’s art and subculture, beyond established institutions and the commercial gallery realm: KM Temporaer’s thematical exhibitions are a prime example.

    Their deep bond was fuelled by the love of art.

    Above the roofs of Berlin.

    KM Temporaer, aka Elisa R. Linn and Lennart Wolff, have made it their mission to rekindle thought and dialogue through art. To find out more about their approach, we meet the two at Berlin’s Uferhallen where a friend and fellow artist has an atelier in the studio complex. Passing wall-size illustrations and after scaling a rickety ladder, we reach a rooftop with a view, bathed in unseasonably early springtime sun. First things first: The one thing everyone wants to know about a couple that lives, loves and works together is – what came first, love or work? “We’ve known each other since we were 14 as we both grew up in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg,” reveals Elisa. “And three years later, we were a couple.”

    KM Temporaer shows: personal appreciation extends to the professional realm.

    Although they didn’t attend the same school, they soon shared the same circle of friends – and a deep bond fuelled by the love of art.

    Elisa and Lennart have made it their mission to rekindle thought and dialogue through art.

    A thousand miles apart.

    According to Lennart, they “only really got to know each other at 17 when Elisa left for Jena. I still had to finish school and then started studying architecture in Berlin.” Around the same time, both travelled the world: independent from each other, they both enjoyed long stints in South America, Lennart in Santiago de Chile, Elisa in Buenos Aires. Yet the thousand miles between the two coasts hardly deterred the two from seeing each other. “Flights were pretty cheap and Lennart was in Buenos Aires almost every month,” Elisa tells us.

    The topic and theme is at the heart of it all, rather than the artist or a particular work.

    Two hearts, one passion.

    Back in Berlin, their collaboration was sparked more or less by chance when a suitable exhibition space for all those accumulating ideas popped up. So, what is it like to work together when you’re a couple? “Once you know each other really well, there are few misunderstandings,” Elisa reveals.

    “You often know in advance what the other is thinking.” Personal appreciation extends to the professional realm – and the partner’s opinion provides welcome support and security. “We also need each other’s feedback to be completely sure that this is how we should be doing things.”

    While Lennart has a close affinity to architecture, Elisa takes a more theoretical approach, resulting from her art history background.

    Unlock and uncover.

    Their work is characterised by an uncompromising interest in thematic context and connections. They do not produce solo shows or sales-focused exhibitions. Elisa and Lennart consider themselves modern curators who ensure that each and every exhibition has a clear concept, focus and red thread for artists, audience and curators alike, serving as a basis for discussion. The topic and theme is at the heart of it all, rather than the artist or a particular work. For the duo, art is not an end in itself. “We offer others the opportunity to unlock and uncover new connections that go beyond the context of art; connections related to social and political issues,” explains Elisa.

    Creating discourse.

    Their latest exhibition, the “Surplus Living Group Exhibition“ in Berlin-Mitte, centred around the notion that people – and thus also art and artworks – are increasingly commodified, encouraging a drive to self-market and exploit ourselves. Lennart emphasises the on-going need to translate social issues into art for an audience. “Art offers huge room for interpretation. It’s not about seeking definitive answers according to a fixed thesis, but about creating discourse and awareness.” This approach switches passive reception in favour of a bona fide dialogue between audience, artists and curators.

    Their latest exhibition

    That dialogue generates real insights rather than just mere reception is something we ourselves get to experience on the sun-warmed Uferhallen rooftop: while the incredible view encourages laid-back lounging and deckchair bliss, our lively discussion throws up plenty of surprising findings.

    Yearning for new inspirations.

    Lennart and Elisa consider their exhibitions to be collaborations, but they also frequently work with external curators. “Considering our enmeshed existence, new input can be incredibly helpful,” according to Lennart, although both pursue quite different and individual approaches.

    While Lennart has a close affinity to architecture, Elisa takes a more theoretical approach, resulting from her art history background. Nevertheless, their bond has engendered similar goals, perceptions and aesthetics, enriched by these collaborations.

    Another project by KM Temporaer - in mega art hub New York City - is currently in the planning and scheduled for opening in a few months' time.

    Yearning for new inspirations.

    Their constant and continual search for expansion is mirrored in the couple’s gaze, frequently drifting to the horizon towards the end of our rooftop talk. They reveal that another project – in mega art hub New York City – is currently in the planning and scheduled for opening in a few months’ time. A liberating step for the two creatives, and a chance to soak up new experiences and develop their own art further. “Here in Berlin, we know the art scene and lots of people, but feel that some of it lacks momentum and dynamic change,” Elisa adds and pauses for thought. “I guess what drives us is a yearning for a new environment and new inspirations.” Our cue to leave the roof and head for new adventures.

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