Gallery Weekend Berlin 2016: Round One

Berlin's gallery olympics have just began. Anxious from all the choices I had to make (50 galleries in 5 hours...can't do...or?), I headed out with a list of 15 places I would visit under any and all circumstances, despite the hysterical weather that kept ruining the day. The Gallery Weekend Guide booklet brought to life this year was proven extremely helpful and welcome in the process of picking out the shows, and pretty much in all phases of yesterday's intense press preview journey.

Just as the rainbow wrapped the sunlit streets simultaneously showered with ice and rain, I left our office with an unreliable umbrella and a bag full with Bpigs goodies. Across the street, the only thing visible was the gorgeous Charlottenstraße / Leipziger Straße corner that belongs to the Galerie Thomas Schulte. The gallery regularly makes a great use of the exposed exhibition room; for the Gallery Weekend they got Daniel Buren who made a bright site-specific piece called „Tryptich: A work in situ“ (see the cover photo above), which emphasizes the already emphasized thin line between private and public in the given space. Great artist, who you will have the chance to catch today during the opening, either at Thomas Schulte, or at the Buchmann Box where he is also exhibiting. Although amusing enough from the outside, you should certainly go inside the gallery for Idris Khan's solo show titled „Rhythms“, featuring a new large sculpture and several paintings on glass, aluminium, and paper.

After Galerie Thomas Schulte and the neighbors Buchmann Galerie & Buchmann Box, the next logical thing is the nearby gallery cluster surrounding Stadtmitte. At Veneklasen Werner you can find playful works by Pat O'Neill. „Sweep / Broken Sweep“is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Berlin, spanning five decades of his multifaceted career, featuring several groundbreaking films, sculptures, collages, and drawings. If you want to meet a pioneer of avantgarde film, who seems to also be a friendly California-cool guy, show up at the opening and look for the biggest beard.

Carlier Gebauer once again wooed with mistery and elegance. Mark Wallinger's Rorschach pieces are a sort of artist's autoportraits mirroring the subconciousness of the spectator. Visually stunning, and of course interesting to use as a personality test. In the other room, Iman Issa's „Heritage Studies“ are made of sculptures and texts pointing to the existing museum objects that are in some way relevant to the artist. The show reveals a talent whose quiet, clever playfulness fits so well in this gallery.

Galerie Barbara Thumm might have been the favorite stop this year. It certainly had a lot to do with the artist Diango Hernandez being present, looking sharp, and explaining eloquently what exactly is his show titled „Marina“ all about. See the show first, preferably during the opening while the artist is present, and look up the background story later. As the artist said himself – this show is supposed to turn the gallery into a bright positive space where you feel at ease, simply enjoying the beautiful looking tropical seaside ambient. Mission accomplished. And now back to Berlin's Sturm & Drang...

Next stop: Lindenstrasse. After the beach we arrived to the desert. Among the four galleries visited, the impressions from Konrad Fischer Galerie lingered the longest; so it happens when things get a bit weird. Alice Channer's „Early Man“ is an amusing show on two floors, which also has the element of danger, as the floor covered with slippery polystyrene pebbles can be a challenging terrain. The „Achtung“ sign is there to make it clear; the responsibility is yours if the pebbles start to move too fast after you had one Prosecco too many. The show is accompanied by two specially commisioned texts – an essay by Mara-Johanna Kölmel, and a fictional story by Dietmar Dath. The artist will be present at the opening, and that elevates this show to the very top of must-sees tonight.

Few M29 bus stops away, the Schöneberger Ufer galleries shine bright, as always: Isabella Bortolozzi, Esther Schipper, Barbara Wien, Aurel Scheibler, and Future Gallery.

The most hyped one was, of course, Oscar Murillo's show at Isabella Bortolozzi. Perhaps overhyped, this show is still pretty interesting beyond the fact that it's made by a current art superstar. The exhibition space is made almost impenetrable with massive piled metal frames and heavy textile pieces hanging in layers. Altogether it evokes a discovery of a post-war ruin in the dystopian version of future that points to the present affairs. A specific scent haunts you for a longer while, but it might just be the smell of big money involved.

Esther Schipper is the second most obvious pick in the row, with Tomas Saraceno's exhibition titled „Aerocene“. The artist shows a series of airborne sculptures that carry the message of simplicity and living in harmony with our environment, in its structure that is as light as air. Graceful and inspiring.

It was interesting to end the stormy journey at the Future Gallery, which is not the official participant at the Gallery Weekend, but is worth a slice of your attention this weekend nevertheless. The most art-forward one in the neighborhood was at the time of my arrival just finishing preparations for the opening that took place one day before all the others – just to keep things one steap ahead.

And tonight... Round two.

See you at the open bar!

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Gallery Weekend Berlin
29.04 - 01.05.2016
More info

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