Gallery Weekend Berlin 2023: Our Top Picks

Apr. 21, 2023

Returning for its 19th edition, Gallery Weekend Berlin is set to see 55 participating galleries open their doors to the public and present both new and existing works. Peripheral to the main event, gallery spaces, museums and institutions all across the city will also be opening new exhibitions and hosting performances and events alongside the official program. Among these, Sellerie Weekend is helping cast visibility on the work of independent artists and project spaces. To help you navigate your way through this year’s selection, we have curated our own top picks for the upcoming weekend.


Rhea Dillon: ‘We looked for eyes creased with concern but saw only veils’
Exhibition: Apr. 26–June 10, 2023

British-Jamaican artist and poet Rhea Dillon devotes her interdisciplinary work to exploring modern representations of Blackness in society. While referencing queer thought and feminist theory in order to deconstruct normative Western cultural tropes, Dillon’s practice delves into stories and experiences of Black diaspora and constitutes a medium for metaphoric storytelling.

Her upcoming exhibition at Sweetwater Gallery in Berlin is titled ‘We looked for eyes creased with concern, but saw only veils’ and draws on Toni Morrison’s debut novel ‘The Bluest Eye’ (1970). It follows the novel’s narrative and characters through the use of sculpture, painting and installation, and opens on April 26th, right before the start of Gallery Weekend.

Rhea Dillon 'Two Tears into Home'

Rhea Dillon: ‘Two Tears in/to Home,’ 2022, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 30.5 cm // Photo courtesy of the Artist and Sweetwater

Barbara Wien

Michael Rakowitz: ‘I‘m good at love, I‘m good at hate, it‘s in between I freeze’
Exhibition: Apr. 28–July 29, 2023

Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz’s third solo exhibition at Galerie Barbara Wien explores the relationship between art and politics through a narrative that stems from his long-standing interest in the work and life of Canadian songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. The work is an investigation that has evolved into a project titled ‘I’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze’ that began in 2009 and is still ongoing. It will be shown in the gallery through a video work along with an installation of collected documents and memorabilia.

Michael Rakovitz: 'I'm good at love, I'm good at hate, i'ts in between I freeze' (2017)

Michael Rakowitz: ‘I’m good at love, I’m good at hate, it’s in between I freeze,’ 2017, film still // Photo courtesy the Artist and Galerie Barbara Wien


Anan Fries: ‘Resurrect In Peace (R.I.P.)’
Performance: Apr. 27–30, 2023

Digital and performing artist Anan Fries centres their practice on the hybrid aesthetics of phygital worldbuilding and focuses on the relation between nature and technology. Their latest project, ‘Resurrect In Peace (R.I.P.)’ will be presented at HAU 3 on the occasion of Gallery Weekend Berlin and sees the culmination of both worlds: it consists of a funeral for the passenger pigeon—a variety of pigeon that became extinct more than a century ago—and is inspired by the work of scientists who are trying to de-extinct the bird using genetic engineering. By giving the pigeon a farewell, ‘R.I.P.’ celebrates the mortality of all existence and questions the political potential of a possible resurrection.

The exhibition at HAU 3 will show three performers engaging in a ceremony of burial while tracking devices register their movements and turn them into data for a digital ecosystem. In doing so, their bodies attempt to bridge the physical and the virtual, the absent and the present, and life and death, too.

Anan Fries: 'Resurrect In Peace' 2023

Anan Fries: ‘Resurrect in Peace (R.I.P.), 2023, still image // Photo courtesy of the Artist and HAU3

Schwartzsche Villa

Daniel Knorr: ‘Instant Community’
Performance: Saturday, Apr. 29; 3pm

During this year’s Gallery Weekend, the performance ‘Instant Community’ by Daniel Knorr will take place for the first time in Berlin, at the Schwartzsche Villa in Steglitz, where Knorr’s latest solo show ‘Rinde’ is also on view. During the performance, a 3.5km-long aluminum wire—which is soft and adapts to visitors’ interaction—is unwound directly from a spool by the artist and the audience, and stretched out across the rooms of the villa. The work is a tactile and expansive experience in which a shared perception is visibly manifested, and the unwound wire has the potential to be distorted and reshaped throughout the rest of the exhibition.

In addition to the performance, the artist book ‘Rinde’—an “artist special” in which each book was individually designed—will also be presented for the first time at the event. The book is published in cooperation with the publishing house of the Walther and Franz König bookstore and is limited to 100 copies.

Daniel Knorr: ‘Instant Community,’ 2013–present // Courtesy of the artist, copyright Daniel Knorr

E-WERK Luckenwalde

Agnes Denes, FM Einheit and Vinzenz Schwab, Kira Freije: ‘The Material Revolution’
Exhibition: Apr. 29-July 16, 2023

E-WERK was built in 1913 as a coal power station and for over 60 years it supplied coal-powered energy to the city of Luckenwalde. It ceased production in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin wall, and lay dormant for almost 30 years. In September 2019, Performance Electrics transformed E-WERK Luckenwalde into a renewable Kunststrom power station and contemporary art centre, which now occupies the entire first floor of the structure and presents a wide-ranging program of commissions, exhibitions, performances and events.

Opening on April 29th, ‘The Material Revolution’ is a year of programming dedicated to the exploration of new material approaches to the cultural sector. ‘The Throat is a Threaded Melody‘ by Kira Freije forms part of the exhibition program, alongside Agnes Denes’ ‘Tree Mountain and Wheatfield’ and ‘High on the Wind’ by FM Einheit.

Freije’s exhibition will showcase a collection of new figurative metal sculptures that feature the artist’s recurring use of lamps as a technique to mark space and time. This way, Freije warps traditional and light industrial metalworking techniques. Denes’ practice has been situated at the intersection of land-art, eco-feminism, mathematics and philosophy for over 50 years. Her works often have a prophetic quality including her iconic urban intervention ‘Wheatfield – A Confrontation’ or ‘Tree Mountain,’ a community land reclamation project initiated in Finland in 1982 and inaugurated in 1996, as well as other powerful environmental interventions and large-scale earthworks. The sound and material researcher FM Einheit was a founding member of the legendary experimental music group Einstürzenden Neubauten. FM Einheit’s self-made instruments are created out of industrial waste. For the opening of the exhibition at E-WERK Luckenwalde, FM Einheit will perform live alongside collaborators Siegfried Zielinski, Rica Blunck, Saskia von Klitzing and Volker Kamp.

Kira Freije: 'The Forgiver,' 2022

Kira Freije: ‘The Forgiver,’ 2022, stainless steel, cast aluminium 212 x 86 x 50 cm // Photo courtesy of the Artist and The Approach

Agnes Denes: ‘Wheatfield – A Confrontation,’ 1982, battery park landfill // Photo by John McGrail, courtesy of the Artist and Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

Amtsalon & Lovis Restaurant

Eva Jospin, Sophia Rudolph, Sissel Tolaas: ‘Ruinart Maison 1729 – From Reims to Berlin’
Exhibition, Master Classes & Food For Art Dinner:
Apr. 27-May 2, 2023; 12–8pm, booking

Every year since 2008, Ruinart has invited one internationally renowned artist to visualize their own interpretation of Ruinart champagne. After collaborations with Jaume Plensa, Liu Bolin, Vik Muniz, David Shrigley and Jeppe Hein, among others, Ruinart’s “Carte Blanche” was given to French sculptor Eva Jospin this year. Jospin’s artworks, created exclusively for Ruinart, will be presented during Gallery Weekend in the exhibition ‘Ruinart Maison 1729’ at Berlin’s Amtsalon. For the occasion, the champagne house brings Reims, home of Ruinart, to Berlin. Constructed mostly of cardboard, Jospin’s installation, entitled ‘Promenades,’ takes the form of a collection of hauts-reliefs, drawings and embroidery works that are articulated around a “Carmontelle”— an aesthetic invention of the Age of Enlightenment, a nod to the 18th century, which gave birth to Maison Ruinart.

In addition to the exhibition of Eva Jospin’s works, visitors can enjoy the ‘Food For Art’ dinner in the Lovis Restaurant, a 5-course-menu created by Sophia Rudolph, kitchen chef at Lovis, and inspired by the pieces of the artist. Two other highlights will complement the experience: a fragrance and aroma workshop with the Norwegian smell researcher Sissel Tolaas and a culinary master class with Sophia Rudolph.

Artist Eva Jospin in her atelier for Ruinart 2023

Eva Jospin working on her Carte Blanche ‘PROMENADE(S)’ in her Parisian workshop, 2022 // Photo by Joseph Jabbour


Loretta Fahrenholz: ‘Trash the Musical’
Exhibition: Apr. 26–July 29, 2023

As part of the program series ‘In Medias Res: Media, (Still) Moving’ Fluentum is hosting the final chapter of their threefold project. ‘Trash The Musical’ is a solo exhibition by visual artist Loretta Fahrenholz and the result of a two-year dialogue with Fluentum’s historically marked exhibition space. Whilst employing a site-specific series of images, an object installation as well as a new film, the exhibition interrogates historiography as performance, resulting in Fahrenholz’s most extensive new work and her largest exhibition to date in Berlin.

As an ongoing project initiated in 2021 by Dennis Brzek and Junia Thiede and still ongoing, ‘In Medias Res: Media, (Still) Moving’ has blended different formats and combined new commissions, group and solo exhibitions, and a multi-part publication series. Using the historical building of Fluentum and its political weight as a starting point, the two curators have focused on the methods and processes of remembering and storytelling in moving image works.

Loretta Fahrenholz: ‘Trash
The Musical,’ 2023, video
still // Photo courtesy of the Artist and Fluentum

St. Elisabeth-Kirche

Yahon Chang: ‘Floating Poetry, Meandering Mindscape’
Performance: Apr. 29, 2023; 6-7pm

Yahon Chang is a contemporary ink painter whose performative practice draws on Chinese and Buddhist heritage and results in an engrossing activity that connects body, mind and spirit. Chang’s entire body functions as an axis for his paintings, whose controlled energy is the product of his training in calligraphy and Chinese martial arts, which are explored in connection with Chinese literati culture, Confucianism, philosophy, and spirituality.

Parallel to Berlin Gallery Weekend, Yahon Chang Studio will present ‘Floating Poetry, Meandering Mindscape,’ a 60-minute solo painting performance taking place at St. Elisabeth-Kirche in collaboration with Kultur Büro Elisabeth. The show is curated by Manu Park and will be accompanied by music by Adele Bitter on cello and Holger Groschopp on piano performing compositions by Isang Yun. Following the performance, Yahon will sign copies of his newly published monograph ‘Painting as Performance’.

Yahon Chang doing a solo painting performance

Yahon Chang: ‘Floating Poetry, Meandering Mindscape,’ 2023 // Photo by Wei-Tsan Liu

Soy Capitan

Paloma Proudfoot: The Three Living and The Three Dead

Exhibition: Apr. 28-June 10, 2023

Soy Capitan presents ‘The Three Living and The Three Dead,’ the third solo exhibition of Paloma Proudfoot. The work emerges from the artist’s research into medieval cultural traditions, in which death was a celebrated and personified force in dialogue with the living realm. In stark contrast are the stigmatising and fearful treatments of death in modern Western times. In three sequential scenes in glazed ceramic, corporeal bodies are seen in several stages between fully bodied and skeletal, which mark out a visual dialogue between the living and the dead.

Paloma Proudfoot: ‘The Three Living and The Three Dead,’ 2022 (detail), glazed ceramic, 300 × 500 x 4 cm // Courtesy of the artist and SOY Capitan, Berlin

Esther Schipper

Hito Steyerl: ‘Contemporary Cave Art’
Sun Yitian: ‘Portrait’
Exhibitions: Apr. 28-May 25, 2023

During Gallery Weekend, Esther Schipper will present two exhibitions by Hito Steyerl and Sun Yitian. On view will be a site-specific iteration of Steyerl’s ‘Animal Spirits,’ first exhibited in 2022. ‘Animal Spirits’ is a video installation consisting of a film and a live computer-generated animation as well as spatial installation elements. The title is in reference to British economist John M. Keynes’ term “animal spirits,” referring to the swaying power of emotions influencing consumers and the financial market.

Sun Yitian is best known for her photo-realist paintings of artifical textures and mass-produced objects, such as mannequin heads and inflatable plastic toys. At Esther Schipper, three new works from Sun Yitian’s portraits of doll heads will be on show. Blown up to large proportions in acrylic, these ubiquitous and typically banal objects acquire a quality teetering somewhere between grandeur and vacuousness.

Hito Steyerl: ‘Animal Spirits,’ 2022 (detail), single channel HD video, live computer, simulation, sensor devices, glass spheres, organic materials, duration: 24 min; simulation duration variable, dimensions variable // Courtesy the artist, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul, © the artist / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023, Photo © Kunsthaus Graz/N. Lackner

Galerie Max Hetzler

Group Show: ‘In Defense of Symbolic Value: Artistic Procedures in the Resort
Exhibition: Apr.27–June 10, 2023

‘In Defense of Symbolic Value’ showcases the paintings of nine artists curated by Isabelle Graw, who coined the term “resortisation” in response to an emerging shift in the art market. Over recent years, mega galleries have opened branches in luxury resorts catered to exclusively wealthy audiences. In contrast to the democratic potential of online art, “resort” exhibitions are available only for those who can afford access.

The exhibiting artists include Jutta Koether, Valentina Liernur, Kerry James Marshall, Avery Singer and Rosemarie Trockel, among others. The works, both directly and implicitly, respond to the impact of such a migration upon value reflection, social contexts and the medium of painting itself. At the heart of the exhibition lies the question: “How can the symbolic value of art […] be determined in the luxury resort when those who traditionally determine this value are absent?”

Valentina Liernur // Photo Santiago Orti

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