Whether you visit Berlin for a week, the weekend or an hour. Here is a selection of shows you should not miss.
Bejna Sachau – There Were Rumors @ Soy Capitán
Sachau himslef is furious ball of energy, al the more rare and precious does his current show appear. I am loving the Klemms-Soy Capitan ( a Turkish wedding agency + tiny gay coctail bar) synergy in the back yard of Prinzessinen Str. Two of the most promising galleries right now in my oppinion, both managing their galleries and their program in a way that makes me hope for the gallery future in Berlin, a new Berlin ethos if you want. Looking forward to the next steps. (D)
There Were Rumors is full of “A ha!” moments—the pleasant surprises when clues come together in an answer. It’s not that Sachau’s show is simpleton or conclusive, but rather impossibly perfect. It just makes sense. Hula hoops and nylon cords come together in a beautiful interplay between shadow and structure with correspondences too calculated to make sense, but completely understandable at the same time. Likewise, the text-based “There were rumors” and “Schlüssel (M16)” seem at first seem like word-search puzzles, but are in fact complete and coherent sentences. The show as a whole makes too much sense after a first glance, making it all the more curious, and a definite must-see. (N.)
Through December 14 at Soy Capitán.
Gwenneth Boelens – Riveted @ KLEMM’S
Gwenneth Boelen’s work has a incredible presence, demanding attention in the most nonchalant manner. The way the red plastic casually drapes off the wall, the way the concrete slab leans informally, and even how Boelen’s video piece floats barely off the ground—they all create an immersion in the show, striking but silent, understated just enough to make a statement that really deserves to be heard. (N.)
Open at KLEMM'S until December 14th.
Carina Brandes – Welcome @ BQ
It’s too easy to dismiss photographers for working too similarly to the greats: try to accurately “document” the life of the young and beautiful, and you are a Nan-Goldin-wanna-be; try to take a picture of a tree, and you’re infringing on Ansel Adam’s grounds. Carina Brandes is none of the above. Rich with symbols and stories, Brandes didn’t write the stories herself per se, but cleverly lets us read into them what we will. Welcome is fertile and approachable, knowingly balancing intentional symbolism with intentional open-endedness, and an appeal anyone can enjoy. (N.)
Through December 20th at BQ.
Wien Berlin @ Berlinische Galerie
I strongly believe it is better to fully live in one's own time, to support the contemporaries and especially the forward-thinking individuals. Sometimes it is also recommendable to take a break from the current hyperproductive art scene and look at the old masters that we used to admire in our teenage years while discovering love for art, only to despise their conventionality when we got old enough to know better. Lately I've encountered terms such as post internet art one too many times, which brought back the joy of appreciating a hundred years old Schiele and his colleagues' incredibly lovely works. This exhibition compiles a lot of seen and unseen German and Austrian art of the early 20th century and takes you on a time travel only to figure out that things were pretty much as weird, obscene, creative and fun back then as they are today. A must see tour through the smokey bars, brothels and cabarets and all the wicked grimaces from the past. (A)
Ongoing until 27.01
The 3 Fates / The Bhagavad Gita / The Self @ Bettina Witteveen Studio
For a long time I haven't been exposed to such an intense and even intimate art experience. Intense because of the deep, layered and highly humanistic artwork and the intention behind it; intimate for the way the visitor of Bettina Witteveen Studio is treated there - like a guest and a friend who gets to hear the whole story around the photo installation. This exhibition, as well as the rest of the work by Bettina Witteveen, exists in the first place to reveal a story that needs to be revealed, to point at the beauties and tragedies of the world. A highly poetic, spiritual and calming exhibition that should be discovered in a secluded space behind the quirky chirpy surface of the city. A tip for the future visitors: ask the lovely assistant Henriette to show you the rest of Bettina's work! Tip #2: although the dark mirrors installed there make you appear more elegant, slender and mysterious, do not spend too much time in front of it, you're missing the point! Take a deep breath and meditate away. (A)
Ongoing at Bettina Witteveen Studio until 20.12
highways and byways. together again / Nic Hess creates a setting for American art from the Daimler Art Collection
You ever wake up in the morning and have a craving for really formal painting that you can’t satisfy? Or maybe you need your fix of New York Abstraction, with a dash of Systemic Painting that a chocolate bar will just not cure. Well ‘highways and byways. together again.’ is the exhibition for you. The Swiss born artist, Nic Hess together with Dr. Renate Wiehager have assembled works from the Daimler Collection just for you and your specific taste for West Coast Hard Edge, Washington Color School, and similar aesthetic movements in painting. Nic Hess has created an installation for the selected works, which can be problematic when an artist has free reign as curator. However Hess’ install works in favor of the art, and his included works are a treat as well. There is a surprising amount of work on display considering the size of the Haus Huth gallery. The show is a piece of history that we should not forget about. And with all the re-re-re-hype surrounding painting these days, it’s always good to know where you come from, in order to decipher where you are going. (C)
However long it takes you to go from "Wow this is awesome" to "Mmm..maybe this too illustrative" - it could take seconds, it could take years, it might never happen. This is definitely a ride worth taking. Enjoy it! (D)
on view until March 16 at Haus Huth