“Hypezig”, or How Leipzig was Overrun by Hipsters
14 September, 2015
When it comes to Germany’s underground, everyone thinks of grand Berlin with its hipsters strolling through Kreuzberg, especially when it was alternative and arty – now Neukölln has taken over – its endless art galleries, flohmarkts and variegated events staged on any derelict or decadent-looking site.
However, it might occur to a few of you that Hypezig – from “hype” and “Leipzig” – has become Berlin’s major rival in the last ten years. The city is ideal for soaking up street art or homing in on radically alternative galleries, far removed from the bustle of the capital and beyond the tourist trail. A city where throngs of students, artists and musicians have been mingling for a long time.
Mom, I Want to be an Artist in Hypezig!
This former cotton mill – once the largest in Europe – is a paradise for any art lover. Nearly a hundred artists and many galleries coexist in this emblematic spot. And, if you happen to stop by, you should not miss the ASPN Galerie, headed by Arne Linde, as this was a beacon of Leipzig’s art scene when it first got off the ground. Also a must is the Galerie Kleindienst, the city’s “New Leipzig School” of artists involved with all kinds of media and materials. At the Spinnerei you will also come across small establishments offering creative products, as well as a cinema and a bistro to act as your watering hole.
This gallery, housed in a white cube in the middle of a Bauhaus villa garden, is a must-see landmark. Apart from providing viewers with a fine example of outsider art, the dialogue set up between the building’s architectural pieces and its surroundings will leave no one indifferent.
On display in this gallery are exhibits ranging from graphic design to sculptures, to installations of all types. Many of the exhibiting artists are graduates of the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (HGB), the city’s visual arts faculty.
But, perhaps the best way to soak up the art is to stroll through Leipzig’s streets. When you least expect it, you are likely to turn a corner and bump into such works as “Mural of the peaceful revolution”, by Michael Fischer, or Blek Le Rat’s “Madonna and child” graffito, which was restored and placed behind a protective glass screen.
Dancing in the Night
And, since man does not live by art alone, getting into the swing of the city’s nightlife is a good way of rounding off the day.
This is one of the first locales to be opened in the east of Leipzig, an area characterised by its industrial past and transformed into one of the city’s hot districts. The underground parties in Elipamanoke move to the rhythm of minimal techno and house, although you can also hear drum’n’bass or electroswing.
Institut fuer Zukunft
Their rule forbidding taking photos and their access policy make this an exclusive club which prides itself on being an alternative to the current club scene. The lineup at Institut fuer Zukunft features local and international DJs who gift experimental sessions of house and techno. During the day, they host conferences and debates on gender, club culture and electronic music.
The best parties are usually held at venues that were not originally clubs. Thus, this kulturhaus and biergarten called Villa Hasenholz, which is also a residence for artists, hosts rave-ups of all kinds. Making use of either the interior or their outside garden, the premises can operate as a disco, a concert hall or a multi-purpose festival venue, outside the established circuit and idyllically located in a forest.
Leipzig is the ideal destination for a weekend getaway where you can steep yourself in a bohemian ambience of art and music. It is also one of the iconic cities for its classical music or for lazing in its parks and gardens, like the Clara-Zetkin-Park, where jazz is played every Sunday. But the city offers, above all, a markedly alternative Germany, alien to any stodgy clichés. It also brings home the fact that smaller cities such as Weimar, Dresden or Bremen are also likely to raise the eyebrows of more than one cosmopolitan hipster.
I’m sure you’re eager to plunge into the city’s cultural effervescence. Make haste – check out our flights to Leipzig here.
Text by Carmen Gómez for ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
14 September, 2015