Specialising in contemporary art and representing over 45 artists and estates, Esther Schipper has locations in Berlin, Paris and Seoul. The gallery is committed to presenting groundbreaking exhibitions by leading international artists. Mainly active in the primary market, the gallery represents its artists at all major international art fairs.
Throughout its more than three decades of exhibition practice, Esther Schipper has provided a platform for artists to present projects that mark novel territories, initiate important conceptual departures, and bring forth new bodies of works. Building on an early pioneering program the gallery initially specialized in fostering institutional support and finding markets for radically experimental and time-based works. Today Esther Schipper represents international artists across several generations working in all media, its program spanning established artists to newly discovered talents.
Esther Schipper is jointly owned by its founder Esther Schipper and Partner Florian Wojnar. Besides its locations in Berlin, Paris and Seoul, the gallery has representatives in Barcelona, Beijing, London, New York, Monaco/Nice, and Taipei.
Esther Schipper founded the gallery in 1989 in Cologne. A one-woman operation, the gallery began exhibiting with a core group of 5-6 artists, all of whom continue to be an integral part of the gallery’s program. Many of the artists with whom Esther Schipper has worked since the 1990s are central figures in radically rethinking the exhibition as form. This paradigmatic shift in the notion of exhibitions has been a central tenet of the gallery’s practice.
From its beginnings, activities went beyond exhibitions to include lectures, talks, performances, and musical events, decisively shaping the gallery's mission as a site of experimentation and an engaged, discursive environment.
In the mid-1990s, the gallery operated spaces in both Cologne and Berlin where many artists moved after German Reunification. In 1997 the gallery moved its entire operation to the German capital. Since then, the gallery has relocated several times within Berlin to accommodate the expanding architectural and technical requirements for its ambitious exhibition projects.
Collaborating with cutting-edge architectural firms, each gallery location had a distinct style: the first Berlin locations were designed by Caruso St John and by Arno Brandlhuber, while the current premises and offices, inaugurated in 2017, were designed by Annabelle Selldorf, who thirty years earlier had already designed the Cologne gallery. The new location in Seoul is designed by the New York-based studioMDA.
In 2014 Florian Wojnar became a partner in the company.
In May 2015 Esther Schipper took over Johnen Galerie, integrating the program under the Esther Schipper name. Jörg Johnen had opened his gallery in Cologne in 1984 and organized more than 250 exhibitions, first as Johnen+Schöttle in Cologne, and after 2004 as Johnen Galerie in Berlin. With this step, Esther Schipper significantly expanded the program to include artists working in a wide range of artistic practices.
Two new venues, in Seoul and in Paris, opened in Fall 2022.
Esther Schipper Seoul is situated in the Geyonglidan-street area of central Seoul, in a newly renovated building designed by studioMDA. Across three floors of a free-standing building, the space features two intimate showrooms, two offices and a rooftop deck with expansive views of the Namsan area. With its small, exclusive premises, Esther Schipper Seoul is a springboard to continue supporting gallery artists with institutional projects in Korea, working with Korean gallery partnerships and Korea-based artists.
Esther Schipper Paris is located in the heart of the 1st arrondissement, in the interior courtyard at 16 Place Vendôme. The 100-square-meter-large office and exhibition space constitutes an exclusive venue for exhibitions by the gallery artists. Besides a long-standing personal connection of Esther Schipper with Paris, the new location further supports our Paris-based artists and French institutional projects of all gallery artists.