What to See During Gallery Weekend Berlin 2021

Apr. 27, 2021

Celebrating its 17th edition this year, Gallery Weekend Berlin officially takes place in more than 40 galleries across the city, showcasing work by both new and established artists from April 30th to May 2nd. Additional galleries, peripheral to the official Gallery Weekend program, will be opening new exhibitions throughout the week, as well. All galleries require pre-booking and a negative schnelltest to visit. The choice can be overwhelming, so Berlin Art Link has compiled its own list of must-sees during this year’s Gallery Weekend, with a special focus on those offering virtual and outdoor programming.

Katharina Sieverding at KW Institute
Exhibition: Apr. 27–May 6, 2021

Katharina Sieverding’s billboard campaign ‘Deutschland wird deutscher’ was first on view 1993 in Berlin. After the campaign’s ban from its initial exhibition in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, the cultural scene of Berlin seized the opportunity to display Sieverding’s work in a unique presentation on more than 500 billboards, each 252 x 356 cm, throughout the German capital April 30–May 12, 1993. During their presentation, the 500 large-scale posters on display at various locations in the Berlin metropolitan area were occasionally tagged and altered—and soon became the pivot for a manifold discussion in the media and general public. On the occasion of KW’s 30th anniversary, a re-installation of Deutschland wird deutscher will be on view from April to May 2021, both in KW’s entranceway as well as on billboards across Berlin. A map of the billboard locations can be found here.

‘Die Balkone 2’ at Prenzlauerberg Windows and Balconies
Exhibition: Apr. 30–May 2, 2021

Initiated by curators Övül Ö. Durmusoglu and Joanna Warsza, ‘Die Balkone’ invites members of the artistic community living in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg burrough to activate their windows and balconies with a wide range of artistic contributions.This second edition also deals with histories and stereotypes of the neighbourhood. In addition to the more than 40 artistic installations spilling from the domestic into the public, the second iteration of ‘Die Balkone’ scratches another surface by exploring the complicated image of the place: Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district. Many prejudices are projected on the area—some with good reason. It is generally a privileged zone, a gentrified terrain shaped around the needs of the nuclear family, such as ice cream parlors, or organic food markets. But other worlds exist here as well; ones that don’t fit this picture between shame and comfort.

a building facade with two large black and white clocks installed on its windows

David Rych: ‘Untitled (our time), after Untitled (Perfect Lovers) by Félix González-Torres,’ 2021 // © Die Balkone

Bjørn Melhus ‘SOS – Save Our Souls’
Performance: Apr. 30–May 2, 2021; 9–10pm

The initiative ‘Tower to the People,’ consisting of the artist Bjørn Melhus, the Ebensperger gallery and the Art Brand LOQI, would like to invite you and call for the joint action ‘Save Our Souls – Rettet unsere Seelen.’ On the three evenings of Gallery Weekend Berlin, an emergency SOS signal will be sent by switching on and off the lights in the north tower of the Frankfurter Tor between 9 and 10 pm. The emergency signal SOS, otherwise used in shipping, will be morsed into the city space. The light flashing in the tower invites all Berliners to join in by flicking their light switches from their apartments. Whether in the form of the Morse Code (three times short — three times long — three times short) or just by simply switching on and switching off the room light. ‘SOS – Save Our Souls’ is the prelude of a series of light art installations by the initiative ‘Tower to the People.’

a blurry photograph of a tower light up against the night sky

Bjørn Melhus: ‘SOS – Save Our Souls,’ 2021 // Courtesy of Ebensperger

Agnes Scherer at Chert Lüdde
Exhibition: Apr. 30–June 26, 2021

Agnes Scherer’s site-specific installation ‘My refuge, my treasure, without body, without measure’ arranges anthropomorphic containers in order to construct discursive allegories around human life and its exploitability. Inspired by the poetic possibilities of object theatre, Scherer orchestrates her paintings and sculptures within ChertLüdde’s gallery space to create suspense and surprising effects. An aesthetic framework animated by the summery palette of Florentine Renaissance ceramics is undermined by a calamitous logic which reveals itself on closer look.

Diango Hernández at Barbara Thumm
Exhibition: Apr. 29–June 12, 2021

Galerie Barbara Thumm presents ‘Instopia,’ Diango Hernández’s sixth solo show at the gallery. The opening of ‘Instopia’ coincides with the launch of the standalone site of New Viewings, the new experimental platform for virtual art founded by Galerie Barbara Thumm in March 2020. Conceived as a utopian space for artistic expression, New Viewings has, in its first year showed over 70 artists in online exhibitions. As a counterpart to ‘Instopia,’ the show of physical works in the gallery, New Viewings will launch its standalone site with a presentation of digital works by Diango Hernández. At Galerie Barbara Thumm, Hernández, for the first time, exhibits paintings and sculptures that began their existence as virtual objects within his ‘Instopia.’ All of the works are, at least partly, articulated in Waves, an abstract visual language of wave-like forms devised by Hernández to graphically represent text. Typically, he uses brief excerpts from Cuban revolutionary writing, a fact obscure to the viewer but symbolically important to the artist.

a painting of a  seated figure made up of abstract colorful doodles

Diango Hernández: ‘Mujer esperando,’ 2021, Pure pigments and acrylic on coated cotton, 188×140 cm // Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm

Susan Philipsz at Konrad Fischer Galerie
Exhibition: May 1–July 17, 2021

Konrad Fischer Galerie presents Susan Philipsz’ first solo exhibition in Berlin. Susan Philipsz explains the origin of her works ‘Separated Silos’ (2021), and ‘Slow Fresh Fount’ (2021), which lends its title to the exhibition: “Whenever I enter a space that I am considering working with I call into the space to measure its acoustics. By projecting my voice into a space, I measure that space; through the resonance and echo I can ascertain the volume, scale and depth of that space. The gallery has a particularly resonant acoustic with lots of echoes and reverberations. The sounds from one level are audible on the other.”

Robert Elfgen at Sprüth Magers
Exhibition: Apr. 28–Aug. 25, 2021

‘Higgs-Boson’ features a new body of work by Robert Elfgen. It is the first presentation at Sprüth Magers Window, a new format that takes the art out of the gallery space and places it in a more domestic environment with wood-paneled walls, while also offering the chance to experience the exhibition from the street. Elfgen’s mystical paintings of landscapes and mythical creatures as well as objects from his studio transform Window into a “Wunderkammer”, a spatial work of art that addresses man’s relationship to the world and our existence in its entity.

Aleksandra Domanović at Tanya Leighton
Exhibition: Apr. 30–June 5, 2021

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, Aleksandra Domanović joined poet Ariana Reines’s online group reading of Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’ (1923). Rilke’s poems, which famously contrast angelic transcendence with earthly suffering, gave impassioned form to questions of human mortality. Through Rilke, the vast and ineffable became lines of poetry. The works in Domanović’s exhibition ‘Worldometers’—named after a website that aggregates live tickers for various real-time statistics including coronavirus data—give form to things that are difficult to imagine. Understood by the artist as hybrid image-objects, they consist of revolving LED fan-displays affixed to lathed forms. Like clay on a potter’s wheel, for both the LED fans and their solid bodies, forms emerge through spinning.

Aleksandra Domanovic: ‘Worldometers,’ 2021 // Courtesy of Tanya Leighton

Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu at Galerie Auslage
Performance: May 2, 2021; 1–9pm

For her* installation and live performance “I plant my seeds in here” Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu collaborates with Turkey’s Queer icon Jilet Sebahat (Razor Sebahat) to create a critical appreciation of the films ‘Madame X: An Absolute Ruler’ and ‘Ticket of No Return’ by Ulrike Ottinger while exploring an inclusive and intersectional feminist solidarity. ‘I plant my seeds in here’ focuses on the topic of mobilization under European border policies and making a new home in a new place as a citizen of the “Global South” moving to Europe. Darıcıoğlu begins to question the immigration conditions of citizens from the “global south”, creating a critique of European immigration policy that goes hand in hand with approaching the baggage of the one’s immigrated. Adopting a queer-feminist, punkish stance to break through the victim discourse, the artist first appropriates a “dirty immigrant” image and appeals to some solidarity and inflammatory approaches from Turkey’s past and present as the baggage she* carries with her. To this end, she* first turns to Kanto music.

a red blanket is covered in sunflower seeds, and atop it sits a framed black and white photograph of a reclining woman, dressed in a flapper-style outfit

Leman Sevda Darıcıoğlu Featuring Jilet Sebahat: ‘I plant my seeds in here,’ 2021 // Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Auslage

Jeanette Mundt at Societé
Exhibition: Apr. 27–June 11, 2021

Société present ‘Wash Us With Fire,’ Jeanette Mundt’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition includes recent works from a series of paintings begun in 2018 based on photo composites of the 2016 United States Women’s Olympics gymnastics team originally published in the New York Times. In ‘Wash Us With Fire,’ Mundt pairs such iconic references with others that are more personal or hermetic in her quest to perpetually reconfigure the image—gesturing towards how our understanding is always in flux and therefore we can’t possibly be consistent in our seeing, in our psychic space. Alongside her gymnast paintings, Mundt presents another recent series that, in contrast to the crisp, bold compositions of ‘Born Athlete American’ and ‘Best American,’ depict a darker, more ominous realm.

‘Hell, Yes!’ at Horse & Pony
Exhibition: Apr. 30–May 30, 2021

The group exhibition ‘Hell, Yes!’, curated by Rocco Ruglio-Misurell, is an attitude, a perspective and a position of aggressive optimism, dressing up the endless repetition with lipstick, nail color, high femme weirdness and a queering of norms. The machine of pop culture is operable only with the energy its fandom brings as fuel and fire. Cutting through the noise of the attention economy in order to champion heterogenous points of view and resist a leveling out. And at this moment when the digital reigns supreme, bitches and witches and their friends put their handicraft where their witchcraft is. Stitching their spells and sending the rest into the flames.

the words Hell, Yes! written in an orange gothic font

Flyer for group exhibition ‘Hell, Yes!’ // Courtesy of Horse & Pony

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