During the pandemic queer life has almost completely vanished from the public eye. With bars and clubs closed, gatherings prohibited, there was hardly any way to meet with like-minded people. We’ve seen wonderful human beings starting to fade into the grey melancholy of our lockdown-reality. We had to do something.
At our House of Love, our mission is to make love visible. Always and for everyone. So we decided to use our strongest weapon, art, to give a signal. We wanted to reinvent a space in Berlin Mitte, by showing people the naked truth. The idea of Container Love has always been to show up where you least expect it. In this case, in the middle of Berlin’s shopping paradise.
Our motto: Visibility for everyone. Anytime and anywhere.
One store that shared our vision and understood our idea was H&M’s Mitte Garten – a flagship store with its own garden, known for hosting exhibitions and other actions of the kind that one normally wouldn’t expect from a fashion giant. So we found a partner who was dedicated enough to the cause to host our special exhibition for three weeks in the summer of pride and even scrap their logo for three weeks in favor of our photographs.
Some say it takes generations to change the behaviour of people, but we believe that by using the right kind of mediums we can take a huge step in the right direction. Because it doesn’t matter where you came from, what language you speak, how you dress, what you believe in or who you love – every human being deserves to feel visible in the eyes of others.
It was important for us to present a cross-section of the art that we also present in our magazine and that reflect what this exhibition stands for: Diversity and Love.
In the showroom, we ended up using the gorgeous photos of Florian Hetz, Shane Reynolds, AdeY, Kostis Fokas, Leo Maki, Agustin Hernandez and Laurence Philomène in rotation to turn window displays, mirrors and fitting rooms into living pieces of art.
And of course, we couldn’t help but to celebrate with style, with a finissage extraordinaire. An intimate garden party with our favorite combination of magical people, blue skies and a fair amount of champagne.
The Container Love exhibition was meant to bring us closer to each other, letting everyone feel proud, appreciated and supported in times when togetherness is more important than ever. But it’s also a statement to the world: we are here and we are here now. And we won’t stop until we make love visible for everyone.
However, we can’t resist one final comment. We hope that next year more stores will be ready to open their doors, windows and hearts. Because just hanging a rainbow flag on the street doesn’t say anything about whether we are welcome as a queer community or not. So our motto remains: More visibility, get out of the bubble, and show your beauty, your vulnerability and your strength.
Thank you for making this project possible with us. A big thank you to Stiliana Stoyanova and AnnSophie Koerber from H&M Mitte Garten.
Location: H&M Mitte Garten, Neue Schönhauser Straße 13, 10178 Berlin
Photos © Sven Serkis & Christian Ruess