Bringing it back to Berlin – the home turf of Exhibitionary – is the seventh Berlin Art Week from 26–30 September! Plotted around Berlin are two art fairs, 15 museums and institutions, two art associations, one theatre, eleven private collections and 20 project spaces, expecting your pretty feet on their freshly mopped floors. And mate, it’s an ambitious program!
The seven-year itch didn’t halt for Berlin Art Week, with it facing troubles of location, financing and scheduling this year, but in the end, they made it work (yaaay!) and are now back stronger than ever. Taking center stage, of course, are the two art fairs, art berlin & Positions. This year, both present their galleries in the hangars of the former Tempelhof Airport.
Since this is a home game for us, it’s needless to say that we’ve got you covered with all the information you need for immersing yourself into Berlin Art Week not only with all the exhibitions but also many performances, symposiums, screenings, talks and – you’ve guessed it – some of the hottest parties. Just enable push notifications in our app, and you’re all set.
Let’s kick it off with the much anticipated exhibition (and undoubtedly one of the highlights) of Julian Charrière at Berlinische Galerie opening on Wednesday. This year’s GASAG prize winner has produced a haunting body of work that resonates with the disconnectedness of our world. The artist created a spatial installation that takes you underwater into the Pacific Ocean. Charrière and his colleague Nadim Samman set off on an expedition to Bikini Atoll, where the U.S. tested thermonuclear weapons seventy years ago, and rendered the area entirely uninhabitable for human life, producing poetic reportages on the consequences of atomic power and radioactivity. The exhibition “As We Used to Float” is a physical, immersive experience that reveals the effects of those atomic tests, symbolizing the interaction between anthropogenic and natural transformations. It functions as an intersection of philosophy, science, and the way time acts to create transformation. If you are into this: on Wednesday night there’s a video performance, and record release party of Charrière and Inland titled An Invitation to Disappear at the notorious Berghain (11 pm till probably very late).
On our way from Berlinische Galerie to Hamburger Bahnhof, we stop over at Julia Stoschek Collection. Dedicated to artists’ moving image works, KW Production Series is a new commissioning project, organized in collaboration with the JSC and Outset Germany_Switzerland. For Berlin Art Week the Production Series showcases Jamie Crewe und Beatrice Gibson.
Jamie Crewe video installation Pastoral Drama comprises of two parallel videos that play simultaneously. Within them, Crew reflects upon the evolution of narratives that use allegory and animation to think about progress. Through chronological filming of intricate drawings in ink, pencil, speckled clay, and encrusted plasticine, Crewe explores (inter-)personal change and collective political time. Beatrice Gibson also explores ideas around gender, poetry, and disobedience. She developed her 16mm film I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Deadwith American poets CA Conrad and Eileen Myles. Using material that was shot on the eve of the 45th presidential inauguration in January 2017, Gibson distills and blends moments of perilous public authority with more intimate scenes and tender portraits, using poetry as a means to reckon with the present.
Next stop: Unter den Linden. Long awaited and now actually happening is the opening of the new institution of what replaced Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle: PalaisPopulaire. With a fancy location (next to the opera and vis-a-vis of Humboldt University), the new art hotspot in the old Prinzessinnenpalais has tripled its exhibition area in size. The rooms were redesigned by Kuehn & Malvezzi Architects. With state-of-the-art technology added and a garden that won’t just host sculptures but also sports enthusiasts, the PalaisPopulaire is set to cater to a mixture of art, culture and sports activities. With the opening exhibition “The World on Paper,” the Deutsche Bank Collection presents itself from a new perspective, with around 300 highlights and new discoveries, many of which have not been shown to the public thus far. Exploring the fascination of paper and its possibilities in the digital era, and offering insight into the diversity, history, and international orientation of the Deutsche Bank Collection, the show will be an overview of art after 1945, with artist such as Isa Genzken, Anish Kapoor, Maria Lassnig, Michel Majerus, Bruce Nauman, Imran Qureshi, Arnulf Rainer, Daniel Richter, Karin Sander to name but a few.
Now we head over to Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The Situationist International (S.I.), an international organization of social revolutionaries made up of avant-garde artists, intellectuals and political theorists first projected a “revolutionary front in culture” and then shifted to the political field. Employing ludic methods, the movement offered a fundamental critique of the spectacle of a consumerist society. The exhibition at HKW thematizes the break away from art in 1962 and follows the activities of the S.I. leading up to and including the uprising in France in May 1968. In an age in which the principles of the market economy are increasingly permeating all areas of life, “The Most Dangerous Game” instigates a new envisioning of the years in which the S.I. articulated its critique. The show features works by Guy Debord, Isidore Isou, Jacqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Piero Simondo amongst others.
Haven’t seen enough? Follow us to Neuer Berliner Kunstverein the exhibition project “A 37 90 89 – The Invention of the Neo-Avant-Garde” is dedicated to the genesis of art practices critical of institutions since the 1960s based on the example of the project space A 37 90 89, founded in Antwerp in 1969. The exhibition is accompanied by a film program in cooperation with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art and a discussion series. Besides that, there will be a small but mighty show by the grand dame of Romanian concept art Geta Brătescu who sadly passed away last week, as well as a facade project by Ceal Floyer.
Last stop on Wednesday is the opening of Agnieszka Polska‘s exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof. About a year ago, Polska received the ninth Preis der Nationalgalerie. The prize, which consists of a solo show, is awarded every two years to an artist under the age of 40 who lives and works in the German capital. So this year, Polska will present a new multi-channel video installation in a solo show titled “The Demon’s Brain.” In the Historic Hall at Hamburger Bahnhof, Polska combines animation and filmed sequences with encrypted adaptations of cultural artifacts. Her visually powerful explorations of lost times turn to how the past is fictionalized and re-worked. Often poetically constructed and with unsettling undertones of the ambiguity of our time, the artist‘s visually-rich universe addresses our role and responsibility within the state of the world today.
On Thursday it’s all about the fairs. We cannot wait to see both art berlin and Positions closer to each other than ever. In year two after the friendly takeover by Koelnmesse, art berlin, as well as Positions, are temporarily relocating. Occupying Hangar 5 and 6 (art berlin) and Hangar 4 (Positions) of the former Tempelhof Airport, it was never easier and more convenient for visitors to go to both fairs. art berlin hosts around 120 galleries from 21 countries with an unsurprisingly strong emphasis on Berlin galleries, showcasing a comprehensive overview of contemporary positions, as well as works of classic modernism plus some exciting talks on Saturday and Sunday. At Positions, booths of another 74 galleries, mostly from Germany, are awaiting you.
Friday night’s the night for gallery openings. Needless to say that Potsdamer Strasse is the art autobahn countless visitors will be frequenting. Don’t forget to see Simon Fujiwara’s amazing large-scale installation at Esther Schipper, which features an immersive simulator experience which is based on the artist’s interest in the accelerated dynamics of today’s production and consumption of images. Head over to Berlin’s Project-Space-Darling PS120 to see the third and final iteration of “The Way Things Run” with an amazing artist list mixing more established positions from Fischli & Weiss over Alicja Kwade to Katharina Sieverding to some younger interesting artists like Isabella Fürnkäs, Mariana Hahn and Gina Proenza. On your way, pop by Helga Maria Klosterfelde to see Dan Peterman’s Love Podium (travel version), which will serve as a platform for some events, like Annika Kahrs’ performance This Is A Love Song on Friday night. From PS120 it is only a short walk to Darren Bader at Sociéte. Definitely worth seeing is also “True Stories” at Galerie Max Hetzler, a show about the 80s curated by veteran Peter Pakesch and “The Vitalist Economy of Painting” at Galerie Neu, which was curated by Isabelle Graw, the intellectual force of nature behind Texte zur Kunst.
Another novelty this year, are the various interventions in public space with which Berlin Art Week is literally taken to the streets: The “New Infinity” series of Berliner Festspiele / Immersion builds a mobile planetarium at Mariannenplatz, artist Mischa Kuball expands his installation res·o·nant from Berlin’s Jewish Museum to the city space, and “Posters are made political” at Underground station Alexanderplatz, platform U5.
One last recommendation before we leave you to the plethora of exciting exhibitions: Adrian Piper’s show at Akademie der Künste at Pariser Platz which is on view in conjunction with this year's awarding of the Käthe Kollwitz Prize. Questioning the political conditions for the production process of art, its reception and significance (both now and in the past), as well as addressing subjects such as gender and race, xenophobia and the nature of the self, the American artist and analytic philosopher expands the spectrum of first-generation conceptual art and minimalism. Her way of thinking and working brings forth an unusual societal, economic, psychological and spiritual potential of the visual arts in her research and projects.
So, in short, it’s going to be an exciting week in Berlin: Wednesday’s the day for the institutional openings, Thursday is fair day, and Friday is the night of the galleries. Saturday and Sunday are (in case you are either quickly detoxed or still sober) for shifting down a gear, taking a second look at the fairs and maybe a little less rushed and a more relaxed visit to the exhibitions. If you want to be up to date with everything you could potentially miss out on, then you already know the drill: You make sure notifications are enabled in Exhibitionary, and we make sure you won’t miss a thing.
— Naa Teki Lebar