The eighth edition of Berlin Art week begins this month to showcase the best that Berlin’s creative scene has to offer, from project spaces to museums to commercial galleries. From September 11th to 15th, Berlin will play host to a number of exhibition openings, award ceremonies, such as the much-anticipated Berlin Art Prize, and events across the city, as well as two major fairs, Art Berlin and Positions. To help you find your way through this year’s program, we’ve compiled a hit list for you, to highlight some of the most exciting openings and events during the week. Plus, check out our social media channels to find out how you can win two tickets to Berlin Art Week—meaning you can visit all of the partner institutions and fairs without paying a cent.
Bettina Pousttchi’s new exhibition at Berlinische Galerie will reflect on the role of photography in the digital age and question the relationship between memory and history. The German-born artist’s sculptures often explore the political and social structures of the urban fabric and her site-specific photographic interventions in public space often occupy entire facades of buildings and reference the urban or historical context of a place. Pousttchi will present a selection of sculptures at the exhibition, as well as a site-specific façade work at the entrance of the museum.
Christopher Kulendran Thomas & Annika Kuhlmann: ‘Ground Zero’
Opening Reception: Sept. 11, 2019; 6pm
Exhibition: Sept. 11 – Dec. 15, 2019
Oberwallstraße 1, 10117 Berlin, click here for map
Christopher Kulendran Thomas’s work manipulates some of the structural processes by which art produces reality. In collaboration with New Eelam Creative Director and independent curator Annika Kuhlmann, ‘Ground Zero’ explores the interrelationship between contemporary art and human rights in an era of technological acceleration through artworks by Sri Lanka’s foremost young contemporary artists. The exhibition asks questions such as: What does it mean to be ‘human’ when machines are able to synthesize human understanding ever more convincingly? And, as technology challenges traditional conceptions of individual autonomy, what could post-human rights be?
A project by raumlaborberlin and Bernadette La Hengst, the Statistics Choir comprises a group of people from around the city who love to sing. It’s open to anyone and everyone, and is one of ten projects part of STATISTA, an ongoing investigation to generate artistic prototypes for a civil society built on collective principles. Together, the participants write and sing songs about the future of Berlin, about neighborliness, and the area around the Haus der Statistik complex at Alexander Platz. At the same time, the choir addresses urban issues, such as increasing rents and the resulting pressure placed on residents to relocate. The Statistics Choir, and STATISTA at large, emphasizes the idea that temporary usage does not have to lead to gentrification, but can be a form of urban renewal that benefits everyone.
Berliner Festspiele is once again moving into the urban space and set up their Mobile Dome on Mariannenplatz in Kreuzberg. In its second year, the series ‘The New Infinity’ will premiere works by Agnieszka Polska, Metahaven and Robert Lippok & Lucas Gutierrez, as well as host two evenings of live audiovisual performances—one by Dasha Rush, and the other by Robert Lippok & Lucas Gutierrez. By means of digital audio and visual technology, the artists create full-dome productions that allow us to experience a sense of what lies beyond our perception: infinity. During Berlin Art Week, Berliner Festspiele will present ‘Elektra’ by Metahaven, who will also give an artist talk in Studio 1 of Künstlerhaus Bethanien at 8pm on September 12th.
Marking WangShui’s first solo presentation in Europe, this exhibition will feature the video installation Gardens of Perfect Exposure (2016–18), the film From Its Mouth Came a River of High-End Residential Appliances (2017–19) and a new three-channel moving image work that has yet to be titled. Each of these filmic, diaristic works explore intimate modes of transformation through restaging architecture, live subjects, and everyday detritus. In these explorations, WangShui, which describes itself as an “amorphous studio”, activates the hallucinatory spaces between image and object, body and screen, diaspora and descent.
Group Show: ‘Durch Mauern gehen’
Opening reception: Sept. 11; 7pm
Exhibition: Sept. 12, 2019 – Jan. 19, 2020
Admission: 15 Euro/ reduced 10 Euro
Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin, click here for map
‘Durch Mauern Gehen,’ or ‘Walking Through Walls,’ at Gropius Bau opens on the first day of Berlin Art Week. The show, with 28 international artists, pays tribute to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by investigating the vulnerability and anxieties caused by power structures which thrive on confinement and segregation. Through its inclusion of painting, sculpture, photography, sound and film alongside site-specific interventions and performances, the show also references the charged history of Gropius Bau itself, which stood at the border of East and West. A section of the Wall even remains visible from some of the building’s galleries.
Miami- and Berlin-based artist GeoVanna Gonzalez will be hosting ‘Annex,’ an event to coincide with her exhibition ‘When We Open Every Window’ at gr_und. The exhibition presents a morphing structure intended to facilitate space for working, living, meeting and relaxing, posing questions about proximity, intimacy and access. Visitors are encouraged to engage with and exercise the utility of a space whose intentions are to both function and to challenge our boundaries. Progressing naturally from Gonzalez’s interest in the social binary that exists between public and private space, her work has evolved to include more tangible applications of architecture and design. ‘Annex’ will include a live performance by a guest artist, as well as a talk, and all attendees are welcome to paint or draw in response to the installation, listen to music, read or take part in informal discussions about the show and related ideas.
Group Show: ‘No Photos on the Dance Floor!’
Opening Reception: Sept. 12, 2019; 7pm
Exhibition: Sept. 13 – Nov. 30, 2019
Amerika Haus, Hardenbergstraße 22-24, 10623 Berlin, click here for map
‘No photos on the dancefloor!’ will explore Berlin’s evolving club scene since the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the intention of bringing the show to life, the exhibition will showcase photographs, videos, films and documentary material during the day, while at night part of the exhibition space will be transformed into a club. Surrounded by the pictures in the exhibition, visitors can dance the night away to a series of live performances by acclaimed DJs and sound and visual artists from Berlin’s club scene, both past and present. Artists involved in the project include Wolfgang Tillmans, Camille Blake and Matthias Fritsch.
The central piece in ‘Free Circulation = Free Copulation’ is Eli Cortiñas’s video installation The Excitement of Ownership (2019). Through a series of vignettes both literal and metaphorical, the Berlin-based artist explores the history of women, the representation of women and the use of women as a commodity and visual code. Across the two-channel video, viewers can expect everything from tortured faces obscured behind scold’s bridles to scenes from anime productions and Hollywood close-ups.
Laure Prouvost, who received the 2013 Turner Prize and is currently representing France at the Venice Biennale, is presenting her second solo exhibition at Carlier | Gebauer during this year’s edition of Berlin Art Week. ‘In Reflection We Rest’ intends to create an oasis to rest, relax, reflect and remember. A gathering of “metal men” will welcome guests, offering to rest with them and keep cool together. Their main job is to appear useful—supposedly helping visitors reach a state of relaxation away from the noise—to ward off their own obsolescence. Here Prouvost investigates the idea of reflection by inviting the audience to do exactly that: reflect and contemplate their own experiences and feelings.