Statement from the board of Flutgraben e.V.

Stellungnahme des Vorstands des Flutgraben e.V.

Statement from the board of Flutgraben e.V.

Six artists from Flutgraben e.V. have brought a conflict over the allocation of a studio to the public with a petition on, which has been burdening the association and the studio house for more than three years. With this statement we are responding to the petition addressed to us in order to once again remind everyone involved of the facts and to make it clear what our task and our responsibility as the board is in this case.

At the end of 2019, the artist Frank Nitsche signed a temporary rental agreement with Flutgraben e.V., which enabled him to temporarily use an almost 100 square meter studio until the end of April 2020. Such interim use was at the discretion of the board of directors. Ateliers are regularly awarded at Flutgraben e.V. through a transparent procurement process by a commission appointed for this purpose. In rare cases, the general meeting of members can decide on an exception to the allocation of studios with a two-thirds majority. However, after several discussions at the beginning of 2021, a corresponding request to award Frank Nitsche the studio in this way was rejected by a two-thirds majority at a general meeting of members. This means that it has been democratically agreed and, from a legal perspective, undisputed that the studio must be publicly advertised and awarded through the tendering process.

Flutgraben e.V. gave Frank Nitsche’s individual situation an extraordinary amount of time and attention. Frank Nitsche expressly refused to take part in the regular procurement process with an application. Transitional solutions either did not find a majority in the club or were rejected by Frank Nitsche, as was the case at the beginning of this year, when he decided to move out in September 2024.

Flutgraben e.V. now receives hundreds of applications for each publicly advertised studio. Precisely for this reason, in 2020 the association once again ensured by a large majority that, given the shortage of space and precariousness, all artists in the city are given equal consideration when allocating work spaces at Flutgraben e.V. Due to his refusal to vacate a 100 square meter studio that was contractually made available to him for a limited period of time, the regular allocation of this studio has been blocked for several years. Valuable scope for action that Flutgraben e.V. receives for artists through commitment, self-organisation and participation in this city is jeopardised by such mishandling of these structures by individuals. In contrast to the authors of the petition, we do not see this as an individual case of repression, but as a deeply lack of solidarity towards other artists in the city.

In the meantime, it was determined by the court that the artist Frank Nitsche had to vacate the studio.

In the petition we see an attempt to use public pressure to override majority decisions, legally binding contracts of the association and court decisions purely out of individual interest. The misleading representations in the petition discredit the democratic decision-making processes at the Flutgraben and damage the studio building as a whole. The petition continues efforts to award one of the largest studios at Flutgraben to an individual artist, in violation of the principles of our studio allocation.

The board of Flutgraben e.V. expressly rejects this attempt.