A Guide to Berlin Art Week Assembled By 9 of the City’s Most Plugged-In Curators
From Aby Warburg's historic show at Haus der Kulturen der Welt to an exhibition at a secret location—here are curator-recommended shows to see in Berlin.
This year’s annual Berlin Art Week is ready to open around the German capital. In a year marred by cancelations, the decentralized event is one of the few dates on the art calendar that has not been moved or erased completely.
With a truly wide-ranging schedule of shows that occur at small project spaces, private collections, and even a nightclub, it can sometimes be hard to know where to head first. That’s why we decided to ask those who probably know best.
Below, nine talented Berlin-based curators tell us which exhibition they are most looking forward to seeing next week and why it’s worth a look.
Övül Ö. Durmusoglu and Joanna Warsza, Autostrada Biennale co-curators
“In the 1920s, the historian of art and culture Aby Warburg created his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, tracing recurring visual themes and patterns across time, from antiquity to the Renaissance to contemporary culture, setting a new understanding of art history. His way of reading and connecting images over epochs, geographies, cultures, and civilizations is still one of the richest sources for visual and media studies.
This exhibition, realized in collaboration with the Warburg Institute in London, creates a very special occasion that brings together all panels of Warburg’s unfinished magnum opus for the first time after his death. It is a must-see for everyone who is intrigued with reimagining the world.
Fabian Schöneich, Curator
Sam Bardaouil, 16th Lyon Biennale co-curator and affiliate curator, Gropius Bau
Lisa Long, Curator, Julia Stoschek Collection
“I am excited to see Vivian Suter’s exhibition at Brücke Museum. The building and interior, especially the carpets, are very particular and I’m keen to see how Suter positions her works amongst the collection, a selection made by her mother, artist Elisabeth Wild. Collages by Wild will also be in the show, and in my mind this proposes a matriarchal lineage counter to [and inserted] amongst Kirchner, Nolde, Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel, Müller, Pechstein, and Kaus.”
Ellen Blumenstein, Curator, Artistic Director Imagine the City, Hamburg
“Michael Müller is clearly unstoppable: Having started his career in the medium of drawing, he spent the last decade or so creating ever more complex conceptual installations crisscrossing all artistic genres, from meticulous mega-drawings to seemingly casual scribblings, from ready-made sculptures to artisanal objects, from scripted audio plays to ambitious sci-fi animations.
This insatiable tour through artistic strategies, all of which he champions brilliantly, arrives at a new chapter: this is his first exhibition focusing on painting. One could quite rightly call this hunger for peeing on every tree presumptuous. But just as well one could follow this highly inquisitive, inventive, and clairvoyant mind expediting art way beyond what one usually gets to see.”
Maurin Dietrich, Director, Kunstverein Munich
“I am very much looking forward to seeing the works of indigenous Canadian artist Walter Scott, presented at the project space Ashley Berlin [full disclosure: Artnet News’s EU Editor Kate Brown is a co-organizer of the show]. I’ve been following his constructed character ‘Wendy’ for some time now; it chronicles the adventurous and tiresome reality of a young woman artist placed into a sinister, satirical, funny, and true-to-life version of today’s contemporary art world. I thought about Wendy last week when someone said that sometimes the art world can be the worst mixture of exhausting and boring at the same time. I’m excited to see how his long-term investigation into the character of Wendy and her narrative translates into a spatial setting and how this is embedded in his larger practice that looks at questions of representation and narrative construction.”
Nadim Samman, Curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
Tomke Braun, Curator Kunstverein Göttingen
“What draws me to Benedikte Bjerre’s work is her bold approach to materials and everyday objects. The Copenhagen-based artist claims My Dream Is Longer Than The Night in an exhibition at Goeben that promises to emerge from a state of mind many involuntarily inhabit in our current situation. Having previously dealt with how overconsumption increasingly disconnects time and space, the recycled reality of dreams marks a new chapter in her practice. With tongue in cheek while questioning socioeconomic conditions, Bjerre expands her sculptures into an installation inviting visitors to encounter an animated and outraged air circulation system.”
Berlin Art Week is opening from September 9 through 13 around the city. For more information about the official program, see their website.
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