What Did I (Not) Miss: Berlin Art Week 2015

Some of you surely agree with us - this year's Berlin Art Week was impressive as ever, and possibly more positively exhausting than ever. Although the intense art & party week ended, the good times can be streched way further -- we hope that our bits of impressions will encourage you to visit all of the wonderful and inspiring shows that are still open, and to keep an eye on the upcoming events. 

 

"Ich kenne kein Weekend. Archive and Collection René Block" @ Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)

With the exhibition "Ich kenne kein Weekend. Archive and Collection René Block", Neuer Berliner Kunstverein presents works of art and favorite pieces from the curatorial work of the gallery owner and exhibition organizer René Block since 1964, when he presented at the time unknown artists such as Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter. The exhibition is obviuosly a treasure box with heaps of brilliant findings. 

Among those we spotted early Despina Stokou emoji series (signed as Nam June Paik) ...

... and prototype for Pharrell's Vivienne Westwood hat.


Exhibition ongoing until 24.01

Meanwhile, obnoxious art tourists pointed out the strong dichotomy between the past and the present. At least the gallery was not overly crowded, as there were many other places to be that night. But it was so easy to get sucked in circling repeatedly through the rooms of n.b.k., carefully examining each exhibit, and casually conversating with art loving comrades who you only meet on days like these.

“STADT/BILD - The Dialogic City: Berlin wird Berlin” and “Ich kenne kein Weekend! Archiv und Sammlung René Block” @ Berlinische Galerie
With this dual opening, as well as the great exhibition Radikal Modern still ongoing, the Berlinische Galerie was also a great event to attend last Tuesday.

First, the exhibition STADT/BILD – a cooperation between four leading art institutions, i.e. the Berlinische Galerie, the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, the KW Institute for contemporary art as well as hors-les-murs happenings for the Neue Nationalgalerie – takes place in the main hall. Composed of documentation and models of Berlin building competitions, the exhibition addresses the issue of the lack of manpower and funds, and therefore the problem the the digitalization of all this material poses.

Picture by Cyrus Smith
Another part of STADT/BILD by the Neuenationalgalerie proposed ‘Allan Kaprow: Fluids, 1967 - 2015. A Happening in the city’ from September 16 to 19th where sartists like Olivier Gusselé-Garai, Assaf Gruber, Ante Majewsky, Agnieszka Polska, Juliane Solmsdorf, Alexandra Pirici and Stamd Im Regal collective, in turns reenacted the original ‘Happening’, or gave it various forms and interpretations.
Curiosity: Allan Kaprow first connoted the term “Happening” in 1957. John Cage staged his first happening in Black Mountain (cf. Hamburger Bahnhof exhibition). Cage’s teacher and German designer Josef Albers studied painting in Berlin and was a professor at Bauhaus for several years, before leaving Germany to Nord Carolina (USA). Let’s flow the connections and go crazy with all these marvelous discoveries!
Further tucked in the Berlinische Galerie, the second part of the exhibition “Ich kenne kein Weekend! Archiv und Sammlung René Block” takes place here and shows material, documents and photographs of selected exhibitions, as well as selected works from the René Block Collection.
It was funny to see the crowd scattered in the different part of the museum, visiting the Radikal Modern exhibition, then concentrate to wait and finally enter the René Block exhibition.

 

Toshihiko Mitsuya and June 14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff @ Studio Picknick

The studio June 14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff, which was responsible for this year's new architectural concept of the abc fair, had also set up an exhibition with the artist Toshihiko Mitsuya for the Berlin Art Week at the lovely space of the Studio Picknick.

"Aluminium Garden" is literally a garden consisting of shimmery metal sculptures representing various kinds of plants. This unusually calming setting was commented on by many as a whole rather than a sum of individual pieces, which was actually the case considering the fact that you could have bought a single plant. What made most sense, though, was to buy all, and transport the entire thing into your home. Instant zen.


Exhibition ongoing until 30.09

Although looking more fragile than the actual living garden, it proved to be resistant to instagram addicts not caring much about rearranging a few leaves in pursue of getting the right angle. Alcohol might have also been the reason for the lack of balance (whoops).
The opening was followed by quite a nice party, great music on two floors that were just the right size for the occasion. A proper warm-up for the fun chaos that was the Monopol party at the House of Weekend...

‘’Monolog aus dem 11ten Stock’’ @ Haus am Waldsee
Opening last Friday at Haus am Waldsee (understand, for most, Timbuktu), Alicja Kwade’s solo show is a must-see. The exhibition spanned on the 11 rooms of house, totally modified to this occasion, was really worth the trip.
Alicja Kwade really integrated –to say the least- her pieces to the building, and artworks such as ‘Theoretisches Gebilde’, a system of copper tubes and funnel-shaped openings, invite the audience to playfully engage with them.
The setting in itself was also quite pleasurable, with the crowd gathering on the grass and around the brasero as dark fell over Haus am Waldsee.

 

"Stendhal Labor *" @ Erratum Galerie and Vesselroom Project & Project Space Art Award @ Bar Babette


The new format Xchange thought by Project Space Festival for Berlin Art Week is a discerning idea and we have to admit it is a good way to introduce as many as possible independent spaces to visitors. Two spaces share a project and develop its different aspects. Once you visited one you cannot miss its twin exhibition. At least if you are listening to your couriosity telling you to do so.

Just to be clearer: first we went to Erratum Galerie and then to Vesselroom Project a few blocks away in Kreuzberg. Same day. The two spaces welcome visitors to enter in their own inner dimension to take a breathe and to be able to digest all the images and informations assumed during this intense art week. The Xchange exhibition here is called Stendhal Labor* and is performed by Leipzig-based artist Caren Loch in the Erratum spaces and Cristina Moreno Garcia and Marco Montiel-Soto in Vesselroom. Two really different spaces, two opposite atmospheres performing light and darkness, as well as relieving and transition processes. Truly recommended experience!

And yes, of course, we didn’t miss the Project Space Award and… the Party! The awesome location of Bar Babette was packed, people enjoyed their glasses of wine while talking and talking about art and artists and spaces… our beloved kind of stuff.

Eveline van de Griend - ""Reincarnation of Jheronimus Bosch?" @ Platoon Kunsthalle

One of the events that got the formula for a fun evening right (art + DJs + special cocktail bars + open end) was the Saturday night opening of Eveline van de Griend's show at Platoon Kunsthalle. The space regularly provides good times for a cool crowd, and this was no exception. 
The paintings looked as if they were about to explode! A simple canvas did not seem to be enough for the wicked tormented creatures bursting with colors captured in still frames. It is one of those shows where you can have a single piece in front of you, and it will keep you around analizing it for ages. Quite ambitious, kind of epic, and above all entertaining.
Exhibition ongoing until 24.09
Black Mountain & Preis der Nationalgalerie 2015 @ Hamburger Bahnhof

No one knowing even the least about the huge influence that Bauhaus had and is still having on our perception of shapes should miss the current exhibition “Black Mountain. Ein interdisziplinäres Experiment 1933 - 1957 “ at Hamburger Bahnhof. Through installations made of archives and video-interviews with the main students of Black Mountain College (a kind of american twin of the Bauhaus and incubator of American Avant Garde), visitors can enter in a stimulating world of connections and exchanges between artists and designers like John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg and Josef and Anni Albers, respectively alumni and teachers but must of all friends.

 

Wait! we haven’t finished with things happening (look at the cit.!) at Hamburger Bahnhof: Two by Two, the first joint exhibition of New York-based artists Mary Heilmann and David Reed, and Preis der Nationalgalerie 2015. This year, the Freunde der Nationalgalerie Jury selected Christian Falsnaes, Florian Hecker, Anne Imhof and Slavs and Tatars.The Prize consists in a solo exhibition at one of the Nationalgalerie’s locations in the following year, not money but facts. So we can’t wait for Anne Imhof's solo show…Ta-da!
Sammlung Boros
In Berlin, many people have heard about the Boros Bunker, but surprisingly, a lot fewer have actually set foot in the building. And the Berlin Art Week was the ideal occasion to right this wrong, as visitors could simply pop in without prior reservation.
The bunker, which was first built as an air-raid shelter, then converted into a tropical fruit warehouse, only to become the toughest fetish and techno club in the nineties, was acquired in 2003 by Christian Boros, art collector and advertising mogul, to house his extensive art collection. The current exhibition (running until September 2016) features 130 works realized by 23 artists   – all ranging from the early nineties up to the present.
Unlike usually, there were no guided tours. This format changed a lot to the atmosphere of the building, giving it a more relaxed touch and prompted the guests to address the in-house guides if needed. This was the perfect occasion to (re)dicover the many pieces of Alicja Kwade, Awst & Walther, Michael Sailstorfer, to name but just a few.

 

Official opening of the space + exhibition by Simon Schubert @ Kanya Berlin
Last week Berlin became richer for another art venue -- Kanya Berlin is the new big thing on the project space scene! You might have already checked it out in August, when they hosted a one-day event for the Project Space Festival. Now it officially opened the doors and launched the program with the inaugural exhibiton of works by Simon Schubert.
We absolutely love the location (a stone's throw from Rosenthaler Platz) and the space itself, and already look forward to the next opening.
Welcome to the Jungle @ KW

The KW contribution to STADT/BILD is a collective exhibition thinking over the idea of the big city life we lead. On one hand, living in a big city means to intensify our routine thanks to countless input and to ideally improve the quality of belonging to a community, but on the other hand, cities also have a destructive impact on our relationship with Nature.
Right in the middle of KW’s underground floor you can see a sand fountain by Klaus Weber becoming the exhibition leitmotif. During the opening on September 15 visitors were like colonies of ants juggling in their cave, nobody excluded neither us.
 
Cindy Sherman – Works from the Olbricht Collection @ me Collectors Room
Imagine to find an open door, then to be welcomed to join the lunch by a special landlord. A lot of people like you sitting at the dining table are looking at the dishes shown on tacky tablecloths. We are at the Cindy Sherman’ show opening and the generous landlord is the Olbricht Foundation.
Here you have a huge retrospective of one of the main photographers and artists of the 20th Century with 65 works from almost all periods of her career. Here is displayed a complex human landscape, dozens of characters, with each one having something that reminds you of yourself or a friend of yours or someone you know very well. Welcome to another Cindy Sherman’s masquerade, don’t be upset but feel at home.

Rudi Meisel + Talents 34. Lives of the Unholy + 100 years of Leica Photography @ C/O Berlin
If you like everything about photography, if you like photojournalism as well as fine art photography or vintage photographies… you cannot miss your regular visit to C/O Berlin, just outside the Zoologische Garten railway station! There are three ongoing exhibitions, the space is always packed with photography lovers and the quality of the show proposals is really high. Until November 1st you can see Rudi Meisel’s solo show focusing about Germany during the decade ’77-’87. In many of her photographies you can clearly find the streets you are used to walk and realize all the changes Berlin went through in only a few decades.
But if you want to see big names and some of the famous pictures you found on books (this is not for millennians, ah!) when you were young, you definitely have to see ‘Augen auf! 100 Jahre Leica’! Eventually, If you are always looking for new talents, we truly recommend to see the dual exhibition of Krzysztof Pijarski and Annika K. Kuhlmann.
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