Mia Florentine Weiss

  • Artist
  • World traveller
  • Goethe lover

Mia is a bundle of endless energy and drive. As a prolific performance artist and loving mother, she is living proof that one can follow one’s dreams. With regards to her art, she is always looking for the Faustian in the human being, which she subsequently almost obsessive tries to depict in her work. There is a quality of disruption omnipresent within her work, and she loves to polarise.

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My 24 Hours in Berlin

It’s probably a Sunday morning and as it’s not just any day, but the perfect 24hrs, we’re going to go for a long brunch at Café Einstein Stammhaus, between the districts of Charlottenburg and Schöneberg. This is a great place to meet with friends, eat and talk for hours on end. Another café which I only recently discovered but can highly recommend, is Café Ora in Kreuzberg. It used to be an apothecary and still has that cool, nostalgic look. You can walk by it without noticing it quite easily, but when you do find it you’ll be more than content, smirking inwardly (and perhaps outwardly) to yourself, knowing you’re going to have coffee at a wonderful spot.

Afterwards, jump into the car and head out of Berlin in the direction of Weißensee. Outside of the city there’s lake Bernsteinsee, which is breathtakingly beautiful and definitely off the beaten path. Even driving there is an experience in and of itself, as you will drive through cute little villages and pass by some sensational vegetable traders along the way, who sell only their own organic and locally grown produce.

If you’d prefer to stay in the city, check out the antique flea market at Ostbahnhof. I love to go treasure hunting here – my drug of choice is china, and here are all my dealers!

I lived in Berlin-Mitte for a while and my regular food haunts there were – and still are – the restaurant Simon, Mozzarella Bar, Milchladen and the sushi heaven which is Kuchi. All of these places are great to have lunch or dinner at and I recommend you try them all. And if we’re in Mitte at the moment anyway, I may as well go ahead and plug my frame builder, Berlin Framers, which is located here as well. They’re a big part of why I still spend a lot of time in Mitte. It’s just a joy to hang out here and see the great manufacturing work they’re doing.

Another very special place for me is the Paris Bar in Charlottenburg! An incredible and highly unique restaurant, which only serves delicious classic French bistro food…The walls are full with great art pieces (one of mine). It’s an institution for the art and film scene run by original host and artist form Austria Michel Würthle.

I also have to admit (maybe some Berlin locals will roll their eyes at me for this) that I really like the Soho House. Coming here is always great for getting work done, enjoying delicious food or just meeting people. Their Sunday brunch is a must!

The art galleries I love to visit once in a while are a little more spread throughout the city, but all of them are worth the commute. First and foremost, of course, is the Friedmann-Hahn gallery. A long-established Jewish gallery in Charlottenburg, their exhibitions are well-structured, showing the work of, among others, the talented Nikolai Makarov, as well as yours truly. Camera Work is also a wonderful and very impressive art space, especially for photography aficionados. When the sun is out I like to head to the Museumsinsel and stroll around there. Blain|Southern is fantastic, too. The place is so cool it’s almost unbearable – you feel as if you’re in the London White Cube, because everything is so white and sleek.

It just wouldn’t be a perfect day without some physical activity, so, to cap off, we’re going to do some yoga. I’ve been delving into Jivamukti yoga over the last couple of years and there are three studios altogether in Berlin. Not only is it good for the body, but to me it also represents the best way of calming down and focusing on what is important in life.

Enjoy “my” Berlin!

Locations



Café Einstein StammhausKurfürstenstraße 58, Berlin, Germany

A great brunch place, where you can have coffee and just sit back for hours, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
Café OraOranienpl. 14, Berlin, Germany

This café is very special – it’s kept the look of its former incarnation, an apothecary, and serves great coffee!
BernsteinseeAm Bernsteinsee 2, 16727, Velten, Germany

A beautiful oasis of nature, not far from the city.
Ostbahnhof flea marketErich-Steinfurth-Straße 1, Berlin, Germany

If you’re a predator like me, and live for the thrill of the hunt, check out this amazing flea market, where I always find some beautiful antique or other.
SimonAuguststraße 53, Berlin, Germany

My favourite Italian restaurant.
Mozzarella BarAuguststraße 34, Berlin, Germany

Come here to witness true love for food and the Italian way of life.
KuchiGipsstraße 3, Berlin, Germany

The best and freshest sushi around.
Der MilchladenDresdener Str. 20, Berlin, Germany

A great lunch spot where everything is prepared with love and seasonal produce.
Berlin FramersGipsstraße 23B, Berlin, Germany

I get all my works framed at this place because they simply do a great job. A cool store for artists and art lovers!
Paris BarKantstraße 152, Berlin, Germany

Fine dining in a beautiful French restaurant, where the Berlin art scene eats and exhibits its work.
Soho HouseTorstraße 1, Berlin, Germany

The Soho House in Berlin is always a cool place to hang out at and meet like-minded people.
Friedmann-HahnWielandstraße 14, Berlin, Germany

I will exhibit my work there until the 7th of March. I’d be delighted if you were to stop by during the Berlin Gallery Weekend and have a look!
Camera WorkKantstraße 149, Berlin, Germany

They always show awesome photography exhibitions!
MuseumsinselMuseumsinsel, Berlin, Germany

The area of the Museumsinsel is not so much about going into the museums themselves, but more about strolling around on a sunny day, finding a cosy little spot to sit down and enjoying the vibe.
Blain|SouthernPotsdamer Straße 77-87, Berlin, Germany

You have to visit this wonderful gallery, which always exhibits the best of international contemporary art.
Jivamukti Yoga StudiosBrunnenstraße 29, Berlin, Germany

Jivamukti yoga is the kind of yoga I feel best with. There is also another studio in Kreuzberg. Find your inner peace!
‘To me, Berlin is cruel and gracious at once.’
  • Blain|Southern, © Christian Gläser
  • © Café Milchladen
  • © CAMERA WORK
  • © Mozzarella Bar
  • © CAMERA WORK
  • © Mozzarella Bar
  • © Café Milchladen
  • © CAMERA WORK
  • Blain|Southern, © Christian Gläser
  • Classic French bistro food at Paris Bar.
  • An old pharmacy now café ORA.
  • Best lemon tartes at café ORA in Kreuzberg.
  • In my studio located in a loft on Stralau.

My thoughts about Berlin

What do you love about your destination?

I came to visit Berlin for the first time on my graduation trip in 1999. For me, coming from a village like Würzburg, this was pretty much the coolest thing I could imagine – I was absolutely amazed by the city. Nowadays I really appreciate my network here and I love how ready the access to art is. Living here means living in an amazing art hub. This city gives you a lot, but it also demands a lot of you. I always say Berlin is like a whore that can’t get enough. She takes up all your day and then she also wants the night. To me, Berlin cruel and gracious at once .

Take a vacation into My life

What’s your background?

After graduating from high school in my hometown of Würzburg when I was nineteen, I just wanted to leave. Even though Würzburg is a university town with a lot of students around, it’s still a little village, and I wanted to get as far away as possible.

Back then, everybody was doing Interrail, and Alex Garland had recently published his book ‘The Beach’, which inspired me a great deal. I decided to go on a journey around the world, living the solitary backpacker’s life for a while (until my studies started, for which I had already enrolled – philosophy and English and whatnot). In the course of my travels, I unexpectedly stumbled into my first artistic performance in Africa, during my stay with the Himba tribe. They covered me in red paint and locked me in a circle of lances. When I woke up and came to, there was all this red paint dripping down my body and I started drawing words with it on my skin. At that moment, it became clear to me that the ‘Word’ had led me to Africa, just as it would lead me to performing afterwards.

With this newfound insight, I returned to Germany, left my old student apartment and got myself a studio. Ever since then – 2008 – all I’ve been doing is making art. In the beginning, of course, I had to make ends meet by working many part-time jobs, like modelling, waiting and babysitting. I’ve been around, I guess.

In 2010, I got my first very own gallery, and slowly but surely managed to make a living out of it. I spent some time in New York, came back, moved to Berlin. I applied for drama school, and even got in – it wasn’t for me, in the end, but that took me one and a half years to figure out. Acting made me realise I don’t want to be told what to do, I don’t want to be exploited. However, even though I’d quit drama school, I had still managed to find my footing in Berlin. Next, I found it in Frankfurt, where I lived and worked for a while when I was awarded an art grant there, and was also offered my own exhibition.

These days I’m back in Berlin, where I have a great studio, but I still have a smaller one in Frankfurt. I also own a small garage in L.A. where I can always live and work, which I started using back in the days when I was sharing a flat with Roland Emmerich’s gardener.

What inspires you?

All the women in the world, but most of all my mother. She is a textile designer and painter. I’d say my mom is the Rauschenberg of the 21st Century. She’s taken on everything relating to colour and dialectic, and she taught me Goethe’s theory of colour, as well as collage and rapport.
There are also the grand dames of art, from Marina Abramovic to Cindy Sherman to Jenny Holzer.

I do think, however, that women are still struggling to find their place in the art world and are not exhibited as often as men are.

I want to emphasise the fact that it’s possible to live in both worlds, that of an artist and that of a mother. That you can be both a hard worker and a woman. I admire all the ladies who are working, doing something they love, while maintaining a firm grasp on their femininity.

How would a good friend describe you?

‘She’s nuts’ they’d say. ‘She can be very exhausting but you also always have the best time with her. She is always there for you and would do anything for you. She is a little insecure, which you would never think. She’s full of fear and has no fear at all at the same time. She never considers herself too good for something. She is lovable and she can give love.’

Person you’d like to sit next to in an airplane?

Goethe. If it were possible I’d really love to meet him. My favourite quote of his is ‘Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, weiß was ich leide’, which more or less translates to ‘only those who know longing know what I suffer’.

What are your favourite destinations around the globe?

I love L.A. because I’ve been there so many times and can always live and work there. There are so many freaks in this city, which makes it the perfect place for me. I also have a special relation to the island of Ibiza. My parents went there for their honeymoon and the photo album from that trip was always lying under my pillow when I was a child. I used to look at it every night before going to sleep, and I think it had an immense impact on me.

My own child was conceived on Ibiza, too. 😉

Your life philosophy?

Do everything and never give up! That doesn’t sound very deep, I know, but for me it absolutely makes sense and it is the truth. Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries but you just have to keep going!

What else should we know about you?

From the 28th to the 30th of April it’s Gallery Weekend in Berlin, where I will have my works exhibited at the wonderful gallery Friedmann-Hahn – pop in and check it out! Wielandstrasse 14 in Charlottenburg!

Travelling is…

broadening your horizon. I believe that you do much better work and are able to give back to this world much more when you have a little bit of knowledge about it.

Life is…

art.

Artist Portrait Mia Florentine Weiss by Sabine Carbon for Galerie Friedmann-Hahn

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