5 Must-See Art Events in Berlin This Month

These lectures, music, and performances will get you started in the new year.

Sebastian Goffin and Marta Navarrete Villalba of the Bayerisches Staatsballett II performing The Triadic Ballet (2014) Photo: Wilfried Hönl via Akademie der Künste

After a long weekend (especially in party-friendly Berlin) of welcoming the new year, 2016 is finally upon us. And it’s Monday. If the sudden rush of positiveness that motivated you to make all those New Year’s resolution has now been replaced by angst, we might be able to help. January in the German capital is filled with stimulating events to get you creative juices going. Get you diaries out, and hurry, tickets to some of these events are selling out fast.

1. The Triadic Ballet at Akademie der Künste, January 14—16.

In 1977, Berlin’s Akademie der Künste and the Bavarian State Ballet co-produced a performance of Oscar Schlemmer’s iconic Triadic Ballet, featuring meticulously reconstructed costumes inspired by the 1922 original. Back then, the late choreographer Gerhard Bohner set the performance to a new score by avant-garde composer Hans-Joachim Hespos, garnering international critical acclaim.

Now, the historical staging can be admired once again in a performance that celebrates Bohner’s theatrical experiment.

Ashraf Fayadh. Photo: Ashraf Fayadh, via Instagram.

Ashraf Fayadh.
Photo: Ashraf Fayadh, via Instagram.

2. Poetry reading for Ashraf Fayadh at HAU on January 14.

The International Literature Festival (ILB) in Berlin has called on all people, institutions, schools, and media who value civil liberties to participate in a global reading of poems and texts by the persecuted Palestinian artist and poet Ashraf Fayadh. A reading of solidarity with the poet—who has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia—will take place at HAU. Fayadh has appealed the death sentence in mid-December, and the case could soon move to Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court. Hopefully there’ll be some good news to report by mid-January.

The Slovenian band Laibach, one of the performers at Singing the War Photo: Jørund F. Pedersen via HKW

The Slovenian band Laibach, one of the performers at Singing the War
Photo: Jørund F. Pedersen via HKW, Berlin

3. Singing the War at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), January 14—17.

Before undergoing a $10.6 million modernization, Berlin’s HKW will host a series of concerts, performances, installations, films, talks, and workshops exploring the theme of war through the medium of music. The program, which includes performances by Ari Benjamin Meyers and Slovenian avant-garde band Laibach, will explore the extent to which today’s music is influenced by technologies originally developed for military purpose.

Hedwig Fijen, founder of Manifesta. Photo: sobaka.ru

Hedwig Fijen, founder of Manifesta.
Photo: sobaka.ru

4. Lecture by Hedwig Fijen: Manifesta—European Biennale for Contemporary Art at Kunsthochschule Weißensee on January 21.

In the early 1990s, Manifesta was founded by Hedwig Fijen as a nomadic European Biennale of Contemporary Art to establish a new platform of cultural exchange. Since the first edition held in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1996, the festival has been held in a different European city with each iteration, focusing on different thematic concepts.

In a lecture and conversation, the Biennale founder addresses how a sustainable structure can be achieved for a temporary event with dynamic regional specificities, ahead of the Manifesta 11 opening this June in Zurich, Switzerland.

Jean-Luc Nancy. Photo: HAU, Berlin

Jean-Luc Nancy.
Photo: HAU, Berlin

5. Jean-Luc Nancy: Our age is not the actual age of criticism anymore at HAU on January 28.

A lecture by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy serves as a preview and the kickoff of the symposium “What is Critique?” taking place a week later at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. In his lecture Nancy will discuss new theories of interdisciplinary art critique and address the various perspectives and aims of contemporary cultural criticism.


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