Berlin Art Week: The Hit List 2023

Sept. 7, 2023

The 12th edition of Berlin Art Week kicks off next week from September 13th to 17th. Annually, Berlin Art Week becomes a platform for Berlin’s most important art institutions to showcase the latest of the city’s contemporary art scene. This year, the BAW Garten will open at Neue Nationalgalerie as the festival’s hub, offering a variety of workshops and events for locals and visitors alike. For the first time, digitization will play an integral part in the festival, with HAU Hebbel am Ufer’s digital stage HAU4 and Haus am Lützowplatz interrogating the contemporary use of Artificial Intelligence and virtual reality. nGbK will also open its new location at Alexanderplatz during Art Week, presenting the exhibition project ‘House of Kal.’

To serve as a guide during these intense, art-filled days, we’ve complied a hit-list to highlight some of the most anticipated and exciting exhibitions and events. To help you fill in the moments between shows, check out our art-themed Hotel and Restaurant Guide.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Coco Fusco: ‘Tomorrow I Will Become an Island’
Opening Reception: Saturday, Sept. 13; 7pm
Exhibition: Sept. 14, 2023–Jan. 7, 2024
Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin, click here for map

The first major retrospective of Cuban-American artist Coco Fusco will take place at KW Institute for Contemporary Art. ‘Tomorrow, I Will Become an Island’ charts the deep influence of Fusco’s work on contemporary art discourse globally. The exhibition features videos, photography, texts, installations and live performances that examine the ongoing effects of colonial power and imperial forces and question the institutional infrastructures that dominate the art world and visual culture at large. Alongside the exhibition, a varied public program of events will highlight the multidisciplinarity of Fusco’s writing, activism and performative work—including a multi-media performance staged in collaboration with independent theatre Sophiensaele in early December. For more than three decades, Fusco has been a key voice in discourses on racial representation, feminism and postcolonial theory. Amid the many cultural and political urgencies of our time, this broad retrospective reaffirms that Fusco’s standpoint is more important than ever.

Coco Fusco: ‘Mexarcane’, 1994 and 1995, performance // © Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez Peña. Photo by Kim Kozzi

Julia Stoschek Foundation

Group Show: ‘Unbound: Performance as Rupture’
Opening Reception: Saturday, Sept. 13; 6–10pm
Exhibition: Sept. 14, 2023–July 28, 2024
Leipziger Straße 60, 10117 Berlin, click here for map

The Western understanding of art was ruptured in the 1960s by the emergence of performance, which famously blurred the distinctions between art object, artist and action. Since then, various other instances of rupture, fracture and pause have taken place. Not least, the emergence of video technology, which shifted how we manage moving images—from early experiments in video to our contemporary use of images in social media. The group show ‘Unbound: Performance as Rupture’ at the Julia Stoscheck Foundation features work by 35 artists that traces these intersections of performance and video art, presenting historical works in dialogue with works by a younger generation of artists. Core to the exhibition is the notion of the body in relation to the camera, a concept with appeal across these different generations as a tool for resisting oppressive ideologies and historical narratives, as well as shaking up notions of identity. The works on view create connections across spaces and temporalities, taking diverse approaches that include performance documentation, performance-for-the-camera and investigations into how bodies engage with physical and digital spaces.

Patty Chang: ‘Shaved (At A Loss)’, 1998, video still // Courtesy of the artist

Wilhelm Hallen

‘Hallen 4’
Opening Reception & Performance ‘Hungry’ by Göksu Kunak: Friday, Sept. 8; 7pm
Festival: Sept. 9–17, 2023; 11am–8pm
Kopenhagener Straße 60-72, 13407 Berlin, click here for map

For the fourth year in a row, Wilhelm Hallen will be transformed into a huge exhibition space for ‘Hallen 4.’ The space, a former Winkelhof iron foundry, will show work by more than 50 international artists from 19 galleries and collections. As in previous years, there will be a signature exhibition of large-scale, gallery-owned works as well as three exhibitions from private collections. In addition, ‘Hallen 4’ will include an exhibition curated by Claire Koron Elat and Shelly Reich, a series of screenings of works by Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau and a series of talks hosted by ArtReview. For the opening, Göksu Kunak will perform ‘HUNGRY’—a live performance together with Nomi Sladko, Bilgesu Akyürek, Tischa The Tigress and Markus Hausmann—and King Kong Studio will launch a limited edition poster book.

Agnieszka Polska: ‘The Thousand Year Plan,’ 2021, 2 Channel HD film installation (still) // Courtesy Art Collection Telekom

Fotografiska Berlin

Group Show: ‘Nude’
Exhibition: Sept. 14, 2023–Jan. 14, 2024
Candice Breitz: ‘Whiteface’
Exhibition: Sept. 14–Dec. 4, 2023
Juliana Huxtable: ‘—Ussyphilia’
Exhibition: Sept. 14, 2023–Jan. 16, 2024
Oranienburger Str. 54, 10117 Berlin, click here for map

Three exhibitions will inaugurate Fotografiska Berlin, a centre for contemporary photography and the latest addition to the city’s artistic institutions. ‘Nude’ explores nudity in contemporary photography and related works by 30 female artists, including Carlota Guerrero, Laila Majid, Momo Okabe and Joana Choumali. Two accompanying solo presentations are by Candice Breitz and Juliana Huxtable. ‘Whiteface’ by Breitz brings together found video footage documenting “white people talking about race” who include news presenters, political figures and YouTubers. In a series of portraits, Breitz wears a white shirt, bright white contact lenses and various blonde wigs, playing out the many guises and constructions of whiteness. Juliana Huxtable, known for her work exploring gender, race, identity, queerness and sexuality, presents ‘–USSYPHILIA.’ This exhibition will include a video installation, a new site-specific body of work and a continuation from her ‘AKIMBO-SPITTLE-’ series, in which self-portraits are painted over to create mythologised figurations.

Carlota Guerrero: ‘Organismo formado por mujeres’ // © Carlota Guerrero

Haus am Lützowplatz

‘Unleashed Utopias — Artistic Speculations about Today and Tomorrow in the Metaverse’
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept. 8; 6pm
Exhibition: Sept. 9–Nov. 5, 2023
‘Digital Art Lab’: Sept. 13–17, 2023
Lützowplatz 9, 10785 Berlin, click here for map

How can we utilise new technologies for a better coexistence? How can technology and nature combine? What kind of utopia is possible? Such considerations are at the centre of ‘Unleashed Utopias — Artistic Speculations about Today and Tomorrow in the Metaverse,’ exhibited at Haus am Lützowplatz. In the exhibition, the artists nominated for the VR ART PRIZE by DKB, in cooperation with CAA Berlin, present their own utopian visions and explore how new technologies could be used for more inclusive, diverse and personal ways of being. Themes are also interrogated and questioned: the roles of artificial intelligence, 3D scanning, animation technologies, the scientific research of nature and the metaverse. The winning artists will be announced by a jury of experts on the Friday of Berlin Art Week. Accompanying the exhibition, the Digital Art Lab will be launched. Described as a “meeting place for digital art,” the lab will provide a programme of events during Berlin Art Week, including talks, panels, workshops and performances. A work by Anan Fries, which expands on their VR Art Prize-nominated piece with a performance by linking the virtual and physical space, will take place on September 13th, coinciding with the Digital Art Lab opening.

Lauren Moffatt: ‘Local Binaries,’ 2023, still, VR ART PRIZE by DKB in Cooperation with CAA Berlin 2023 // Courtesy Lauren Mofatt

Max Goelitz

Rindon Johnson: ‘five’
Opening Reception: Wednesday, Sept. 13; 6-9pm
Exhibition: Sept. 14–Nov 11, 2023
Rudi-Dutschke-Straße 26, 10969 Berlin, click here for map

Rindon Johnson’s first solo exhibition at the Berlin gallery is centered around a multimedia installation created on the occasion of his Future Generation Art Prize 2021 nomination, which will now be presented in an expanded exhibition concept with new works. ‘five’ is based on the artist and writer’s sci-fi novel, ‘Clattering,’ created in collaboration with Rainer Diana Hamilton as a proposition for open-mindedness, multiplicity and opposition to organisational states of our world built on various forms of dualism. In it, the authors challenge accustomed views of relationships, hierarchical structures and systems of reproduction. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication that includes the first 40 pages of ‘Clattering,’ which will be presented for the first time as part of a reading by Johnson at the gallery.

Rindon Johnson: ‘Clattering,’ 2021, installation view, Future Generation Art Prize, PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv, Ukraine // Courtesy of Rindon Johnson and François Ghebaly Gallery, photo by Maksym Bilousov

Berlin Atonal 23

Festival: Sept. 7–17, 2023
Admission: from € 27,54
Kraftwerk Berlin, Köpenicker Straße 70, 10179 Berlin, click here for map

From September 7th to 17th, Berlin Atonal returns to Kraftwerk Berlin’s cavernous hall and the adjoining Tresor, Globus and OHM for its first full edition in over four years. Among the highlights of the six festival days are shows by Laurel Halo, Florentina Holzinger, Caterina Barbieri with Space Africa and MFO, Lamin Fofana, Atelier Impopulaire + Dreamcrusher, Marco Fusinato and Emptyset. Between two long weekends of concerts and audiovisual performances, Berlin Atonal presents ‘Universal Metabolism,’ a four-day exhibition that takes as a starting point the bodily and extra-bodily cycles of exchange, adaption and transformation. Participating artists include Actress, Cyprien Gaillard, Deborah Stratman, Mire Lee, Sonya Boyce, VALIE EXPORT, Billy Bultheel and many others. This showcase of audiovisual works, performances, in-situ sculptures, video art and immersive sonic environments created or adapted for the building is followed by a screening and a concert, each day from September 11th to 14th.

Berlin Atonal // Photo by Frankie Casillo


Cevdet Erek: ‘In circulation’
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept. 15; 6–9pm
Exhibition: Sept. 9–Nov. 5, 2023
Linienstraße 155, 10115 Berlin, click here for map

‘in circulation’ consists of a trio of works, which play in dialogue with each other: ‘Daf without Skin’ (2021), ‘Larger Daf without Skin’ (2023) and ‘Ruler Daf without Skin’ (2021). Each originate from Cevdet Erek’s background as a percussionist and an interest in the particularities of instruments. Each daf—the drum’s frame, made in collaboration with instrument maker Sami Hosseini—is presented without its resonating skin. The instruments, suspended from thin cord, instead derive sound from a series of metal circles that are pinned to the daf’s inner side. In addition, ‘in circulation’ presents ‘The Mother Ear’ (2023), a sculptural work based on a silicone-cold portrait of Erek’s mother, which is characterised by “sonic landscapes, built environments and the objects that may populate them.” There will be a listening room in the adjacent space, featuring a library of the artist’s latest sound works.

Cevdet Erek: ‘Larger Daf without Skin,’ 2023 // Courtesy Cevdet Erek and neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Photo by Barış Özçetin


Group Show: ‘House of Kal’
Opening Reception: Wednesday, Sept. 13; 5pm
Exhibition: Sept. 14–Nov 12, 2023
Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 11/13, 10178 Berlin, click here for map

The multifaceted project ‘House of Kal’ transforms nGbK’s new space into a polyphonic community architecture continuously activated by radio broadcasts, music, films, performances and workshops. At its center, a makeshift kiosk with drinks, snacks, publications and various artistic and personal offerings by members of the ‘kal’ community invites visitors to meet and rest. Around the kiosk, five artistic and activist positions unfold queer and (post)migrant practices of collectivity, resistance and solidarity: Vicky Shahjehan, The Many Headed Hydra, Women* in Exile, Zahabia Khozema and Radio Kal with Radio We Are Born Free + Onelove Radio and Spaceship Beben. The exhibition space functions as a খুঁটি (khum̐ṭi; commonly khNuti), a device commonly used in the Bengal delta to tie down boats and cattle, which figuratively also refers to an anchor for hopes, wishes and dreams.

Artists of House of Kal Karachi at a workshop in the mangroves with Karachi LaJamia (Karachi Anti-University), 2021 // Courtesy of Fiza Khatri

Esther Schipper

Anicka Yi: ‘A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam’
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept. 15; 6–9pm
Exhibition: Sept. 15–Oct. 21, 2023
Potsdamer Straße 81E, 10785 Berlin, click here for map

Esther Schipper presents the first solo exhibition of Anicka Yi, an artist working at the intersection of politics and macrobiotics to ask incisive questions about human psychology and the workings of society. Following on from Yi’s 2022 paintings, which involved the artist collaborating with machine learning models to hybridise her own visual patterns with those of other entities, Yi’s new horizontal—and also algorithmically-generated—paintings glisten and swell with biomorphic abstractions of blood cells, fish eggs, clumps of algae and ruptured skin. Displayed here, these works are accompanied by a suspended constellation of undulating pod sculptures that diffuse flickering light through the darkened exhibition space. A sprawling and incandescent pond-like structure occupies a shallow crater on the gallery floor, reflecting the light and evoking a darkly shimmering world. Yi has further added to the immersive, sensory experience by infusing the air with a custom-made fragrance by French perfumer Barnabé Fillion. With ‘A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam’, Yi delivers an alchemical ecosystem of bio-techno lifeforms that questions the distinctions between human, plant, animal and machine.

Anicka Yi: ‘§†£R†§ñ’, 2023 (detail) // © Anicka Yi / VG-Bild Kunst, Bonn, courtesy of the artist, Gladstone Gallery and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul


Sven Johne: ‘Das sowjetische Hauptquartier’
Opening Reception: Tuesday, Sept. 12; 6–10pm
Exhibition: Sept. 13–Dec. 16, 2023
Clayallee 174, 14195 Berlin, click here for map

Coming up at Fluentum, an art space with a focus on time-based media and located at the imposing main building of a former military facility and administrative centre for the Nazi Luftwaffe, artist and filmmaker Sven Johne presents his solo exhibition ‘Das sowjetische Hauptquartier’ (The Soviet Headquarters). The exhibition comprises a film of the same name complemented by an installation of five earlier video works that continue John’s long-standing themes of the longing for change; the feeling of political stasis; and the present and past of East Germany. Johne’s approach is to retell the cornerstones of official history through individual perspectives, subverting documentary aesthetics with fictional elements. The 33-minute film ‘Das sowjetische Hauptquartier’ (2023) is set on the deserted palatial-estate of the former Haus der Offiziere (House of Officers) in Wünsdorf, Brandenburg, which served as a headquarters and cultural centre for the Soviet troops until 1994. The film depicts the fictionalised narrative of a real estate showing at the desolate Neo-baroque estate, whereby the prospective buyer Katharina Baronn (Luise Helm) enters into a nostalgic inner monologue reflecting on her childhood in the USSR.

Sven Johne: ‘Das sowjetische Hauptquartier’ (The Soviet Headquarters, 2023, still // © Sven Johne / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

alpha nova & galerie futura

Group Show: ‘I Made You to Find Me’
Opening Reception & Artist Talk: Thursday, Sept. 14; 7pm
Exhibition: Sept. 15–Oct. 21, 2023…/en-i-made-you-o-find-me
Am Flutgraben 3, 12435 Berlin click here for map

At feminist art space alpha nova & galerie futura, ‘I Made You to Find Me,’ curated by Li Yang, presents the work of three artists who engage with the concept of feminist mothering and how it manifests in artistic practice. The name of the exhibition comes from a poem by Anne Sexton, ‘The Double Image’ (1981), in which the poet speaks directly to her daughter while acknowledging the deep complexity of motherhood. Featured artist Cai Yaling is one of the first generation to grow up under China’s one-child policy and later gave birth to two children herself after the policy relaxed. Yaling works with corporeal and sensory materials in her sculptures, employing a “maternal gaze” and ambivalence. Zhou Yujie utilises photographs and installations to reanimate family memories, digging through entwined identities and uncovering the common thread that runs through four generations of her family. Magdalena Kallenberger includes her child directly in her photographs, which depict harsh, natural environments that allude to the challenges of motherhood. Together, the artists create rich visual dialogues across generations, cultures and nationalities.

Zhou Yujie: ‘I lay on great grandma’s bed’, 2019-23, photograph // Courtesy of the artist

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