Tresor Berlin at Red Gallery Captures Techno's Glory Years
Known for being one of the cornerstones in Berlin’s universe of minimal techno, Tresor is an institution in Berlin clubbing, though its name and reputation packs a punch far further than beyond the borders of Germany.
To give just a taste of the vast story of Tresor in Berlin’s culture, London’s Red Gallery hosted an exhibition featuring images, unseen material and artifacts from the club, as well as a documentary tracing the history and evolution of Tresor.
The industrial feel of the club and the significance of the building itself (formerly a department store) is captured perfectly in many of the photos and exhibits, showing the club’s intimidating but enticing exterior, grimy, dimly lit rooms and a series of television screens — reeling off snapshots of the club’s history — scattered carelessly amongst strewn timber beams. One photo, hung from chains attached to a large metal frame, is of an empty room, full of the debris of a doubtlessly debauched night and stunning in its haunting simplicity.
These shots of still lifelessness are offset by images of some of the millions who passed through Tresor’s doors to party over the years, showing scenes of untainted hedonism, but also of intense focus on the music.
Several shots of a young Jeff Mills in a tiny DJ booth, surrounded by sweaty, eager ravers, provide a genuine sense of nostalgia, but also serve as a reminder of Tresor’s role in helping minimal Detroit techno to explode across Berlin and wider Europe.
Interviews with other Detroit luminaries in a short film on Tresor’s importance confirm this, as Juan Atkins, Mike Banks and others wax lyrical about the Berlin crowd’s insatiable energy for their music.
The film also offers a thought-provoking sentiment from one inebriated reveller at the club, who laughingly declares “Everybody who comes here is somehow disturbed.” Perhaps, but then the disturbed always throw the best parties, as Tresor is testament to.