METRO supports Berlin exhibition „Wirte im Lockdown“

11 November 2022
METRO and AMANO invited big names from the gastronomy and politics together with the photo artist Helena Heilig to the opening.
Ivonne Bollow, Sven Liebert, Helena Heilig, Sandra Enis, Franziska Giffey and Ilona Scholl (from left to right)

Ivonne Bollow, Sven Liebert, Helena Heilig, Sandra Enis, Franziska Giffey and Ilona Scholl (from left to right)

  • Art and exhibition project "Wirte im Lockdown" (“Innkeepers on lock-down”) officially opened in the presence of the Governing Mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey
  • Exhibition runs until Nov. 30, 2022, at the Amano East Side Hotel Berlin - supported by METRO
  • Panel discussion "Pub, Café & KitKat Club - Why small businesses connect society": Restaurateurs and politicians talked about current challenges and appreciation in the hospitality industry

Without bars, restaurants and clubs, there is no society. The exhibition project "Wirte im Lockdown", which opened at the Amano East Side Hotel, shows the people behind the bars and tells their story against the background of the Corona pandemic in impressive pictures. The exhibition runs until November 30 in Berlin and will then be shown in other German cities.

Locked doors, deserted outdoor patios and lonely bars. The spring of 2020 and the subsequent Corona pandemic changed social life in one fell swoop. The disappearance of many cultural favorites demonstrated the special role of hospitality, tourism, and culture in our daily lives. These, who make this possible also face many challenges in view of the winter of 2022. The project "Wirte im Lockdown" by the photo artist Helena Heilig is the documentation of a full stop and the attempt of a status. It dares again and again to look at life after Corona: Will it be the same? Will the role of restaurants, bars, cafés be more appreciated in the future as places of encounter, of social togetherness?

At the official opening on November 10, METRO and AMANO Hotels offered a first exclusive insight into the exhibition "Wirte im Lockdown" by Helena Heilig and Susanne Fiedler and created a space to explore these questions in a joint exchange. Around 140 guests from the hospitality industry, politics, business, and public life accepted the invitation. Franziska Giffey, Governing Mayor of Berlin, opened the exhibition: "The hospitality industry plays a central role, especially for Berlin. It attracts Berliners as well as guests from all over the world. It is one of the industries that was particularly affected by the consequences of the pandemic. That is why it was essential to support the gastronomy with the restart program for the Berlin economy. The exhibition 'Wirte im Lockdown' appreciates this important industry and shows us what we lacked for a long time and what we can now be happy about again: Restaurateurs with full establishments."

The wholesale company METRO supports the project and offers the industry a platform to talk about the issues. Ivonne Julitta Bollow, Senior Vice President Corporate Public Policy METRO AG, comments: "The challenges of gastronomy must also be put on the table in society, because we are so happy about visiting a café in the morning, having dinner with friends or going to a club that we sometimes lack appreciation for the industry. 'Wirte im Lockdown' offers a thought-provoking opportunity to do just that.

Panel discussion: focus on Berlin gastronomy businesses

At the panel discussion "Kneipe, Café & KitKat Club - Warum kleine Unternehmen Gesellschaft verbinden" ("Pub, Café & KitKat Club - Why small businesses connect society"), Ilona Scholl, manager of the Michelin-starred restaurant Tulus Lotrek in Berlin-Kreuzberg, Sandra Enis, restaurateur, and owner of Milja & Schäfa, Berlin and Helena Heilig, artist, "Wirte im Lockdown", moderated by Sven Liebert, METRO AG. The discussion focused on issues surrounding the political and social perception of gastronomy in the pandemic and how more young people can be motivated to take the step into independent gastronomy.

Part of the exhibition project are 192 gastronomes, 16 of them from Berlin. Many of them visited the exhibition opening, including Sandra Enis, owner of the Milja & Schäfa restaurant in Berlin-Friedrichshain: "We were happy to take part in the project, because the pandemic has hit us hard, too. It is therefore more important that we discuss the value of the industry more in society and that politics creates the right framework conditions. A de-ferral of the reduced VAT of 7% on food, even beyond 2023, would be a strong signal to the entire industry to continue to persevere."

"The exhibition should also be a wake-up call and make people think about how important the hospitality industry is to us. For me, it was essential to show the many faces behind a hard-hit industry. I am very pleased that this exhibition is now coming to Berlin thanks to METRO and at the same time being used as a platform for dialog with politicians and businesses," said artist Helena Heilig at the opening of the exhibition.


About the art project "Wirte im Lockdown"

In April 2020, the Munich-based photographer-lyricist duo, consisting of Helena Heilig and Susanne Fiedler, visited 26 Munich restaurateurs in their establishments, conducted interviews, took photographs in the deserted inns. A few days earlier, on March 21, 2020, everything had changed for the city's approximately 3,500 restaurant and café operators - from one day to the next. Heilig and Fiedler wanted to document this break in a joint exhibition project "Wirte im Lockdown." An exhibition was planned for November 2020, but this had to be postponed again and again due to the second lockdown and the closure of all cultural venues. Since December 2020, restaurateurs in Berlin, Hamburg, Reutlingen, Stuttgart, Baden- Baden, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dresden, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Hanover, and Bremen have been given the opportunity to tell their story. Helena Heilig traveled 5,500 kilometers to photograph 192 restaurateurs in 14 German cities. The team increased to 8 journalists, who gave the innkeepers a voice according to Susanne Fiedler's text concept. From now on and until November 30, the project will be shown for the first time in Berlin. From April 2023 the exhibition is to be seen in Dresden. In addition, a picture book summarizing the entire project has been published.

More information at: wirte-im-lockdown.de

Wirte im Lockdown - Art & Exhibition Project
from 11 - 30 November 22 at the Amano East Side Hotel
Stralauer Platz 29
10243 Berlin

The images may be used freely if the source is indicated: METRO

Ivonne Bollow, Sven Liebert, Helena Heilig, Sandra Enis, Franziska Giffey and Ilona Scholl (from left to right)

Ivonne Bollow, Helena Heilig, Sandra Enis and Franziska Giffey (from left to right)

Helena Heilig

Helena Heilig

Helena Heilig, Sandra Enis, Ilona Scholl and Sven Liebert (from left to right)

Helena Heilig, Sandra Enis, Ilona Scholl and Sven Liebert (from left to right)

METRO is a leading international food wholesaler, which specialises in serving the needs of hotels, restaurants, and caterers (HoReCa) as well as independent merchants (Traders). Around the world, METRO has some 17 million customers who benefit from the wholesale company’s unique multichannel mix: customers can purchase their goods in one of the large stores in their area as well as by delivery (Food Service Distribution, FSD) – all digitally supported and connected. In parallel, METRO MARKETS is being developed as an international online marketplace for the needs of professional customers, which has been growing and expanding continuously since 2019. Acting sustainably is one of the company principles of METRO, which has been listed in various sustainability indices and rankings for many years, including FTSE4Good, MSCI, CDP and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. METRO operates in more than 30 countries and employs over 95,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2020/21, METRO generated sales of €24.8 billion. More information can be found at MPULSE.de, our online magazine.