See the Top 10 Exhibitions by Women Artists During Gallery Weekend Berlin
With so much women power, will Berlin's museums follow suit?
The 11th iteration of Gallery Weekend Berlin is about to kick off on Friday with some 47 participating galleries, and a slew of further openings and events around the city. A quick browse of the list of artists in this year’s official program reveals that some of the strongest exhibitions to open this weekend are by women artists.
In the year 2015, this mere fact should be a non-issue but, alas, women have been severely under-represented in Berlin’s museums and institutions in recent years, and it is positive to see that the city’s galleries are throwing down the gauntlet (see We Asked 20 Women “Is the Art World Biased?” Here’s What They Said).
What’s more, it is sadly not self-explanatory either for galleries to exhibit women—whose artworks sell for considerably less than those of their male counterparts—during the one weekend filled with commercial shows geared towards attracting collectors to the city, where everyone is pulling out the big guns (see Once Again… Where Are All the Women Artists?)
artnet News has selected the 10 most exciting shows by women artists opening across Berlin this Friday, with hopes that the message will also resonate with the city’s state-run institutions.
1. Isa Genzken at Galerie Buchholz
The non-conformist doyenne of German art has been recently honored with a retrospective at the MoMA in 2013, and survey shows in Vienna and Salzburg in 2014, and Frankfurt in 2015, none of which have traveled to Berlin, her hometown. Genzken’s gallery is showing works from an earlier stage of Genzken’s artistic experimentations, most notably her elongated Hyperbolos sculpture El Salvador, from 1980. The sculpture translates her earlier geometric drawings into seemingly floating sculptures that lay on the floor and redefine the space.
Isa Genzken “El Salvador” runs from May 1-June 27.
2. Laura Owens at Capitain Petzel
“I feel no shame about having paintings be as grandiose and ridiculous as possible,” the Los Angeles-based painter once said in an interview. Borrowing freely from all periods of the medium’s embattled history, Owens is like the “Dr. Frankenstein” of painting, according to MoMA curator Laura Hoptman. “She takes bodies from other pieces of work and puts them together to create a whole new monster.” But rather than devising a master plan for each work, Owens prefers to be randomly influenced.
Laura Owens, May 1-June 27.
3. Ida Ekblad at Galerie Max Hetzler
The Norwegian artist works across genres, and navigates between various mediums with lightness and gusto. She often mixes found materials in her vibrant paintings and spontaneous-seeming sculptures, which play on digitally rendered imagery. For her first solo show with the Berlin gallery, Ekblad presents a selection of new paintings, which feature signs, tags, and elliptical scribbles resembling letters or human figures in movement. Having the visual effect of anything from cartoons, graffiti, CGI, and abstract paintings, her two-dimensional work is delightfully elusive.
Ida Ekblad “Reload” runs from May 1-30.
4. Klara Lidén at Galerie Neu
No space, public or private, is safe from the Swedish artist’s disruptive manipulations. Lidén famously shrunk Reena Spaulings’ dilapidated Lower East Side space in half, to create a narrow corridor that led to a tiny niche with a sofa. Behind the walled-off space, she housed pigeons, whose faint noises could be heard by visitors. Her work is concerned with proposing alternative ways of living, which she conveys with improvised constructions. Lidén is showing new works at Neu, that shift the focus to the nature of object as artworks versus functional things.
Klara Lidén “Do Not Bench” runs from May 1–June 6.
5. Katharina Grosse at Johann König (St. Agnes)
This show marks the long-awaited opening of Johann König’s new gallery space in the St. Agnes Church, reconstructed by Arno Brandlhuber. Grosse’s large-scale, color intensive, multi-layered works are perhaps best equipped to compete with the building itself for magnitude. Just days before the opening of the 56th Venice Biennale, where Grosse is showing a vast, walk-in painting in the Arsenale, her handling of the imposing space of the Brutalist building is sure to be on everyone’s tongues this weekend.
Katharina Grosse “The Smoking Kid” runs from May 2- June 21.
6. Rosa Barba at Meyer Riegger
The Italian-German artist dissects all components of the medium of film into formal, material, and narrative abstractions. She thus achieves an exploration of the medium’s dispositif, and highlights the role of imagination therein. For her first solo show with the gallery, she is transforming the space into an engine room of sorts. Films from the last three years will be projected in the space along with newer works such as the eerily comforting, vibrating sphere The Conductor (2014), a sound-transmitting ball.
Rosa Barba “Inside a Magnified Picture” runs from May 1-June 20.
7. Renata Lucas at Neugerriemschneider
The Brazilian artist questions how the organization of urban space affects individuals, their bodies, social interactions, and even submission to intrinsic definitions of ownership. With playful–but at times also radical–alterations, she reimagines public space to explore the hidden, unexploited passages and create alternative architectural systems. For her first solo show with the gallery, Lucas has investigated Berlin’s net of waterways. Ranging from rivers, canals, and ground-water to sewage channels, this complex network is often invisible.
Renata Lucas “Fontes e sequestros” runs from May 2-30
8. Haegue Yang at Barbara Wien Wilma Lukatsch
The South-Korean artist works with everyday household objects to express languistic and literary narratives. Her most recent work deals with notions of folk and take as a point fo departure Victor Hugo’s novel The Man Who Laughs written during the author’s voluntary exile from France in 1869. There, Hugo criticizes the construction of the class system while depicting vividly characters charged with allegorical meaning.
Haegue Yang “Temporary Permanent” runs from May 1-July 31
9. Agnieszka Polska at Żak Branicka
Three new film installations by the Polish artist delve into the efefcts language has on the human perception. Polska animates images from books, magazines, and stock photography in her non-narrative videos. A common thread in her output has been the idea of individual responsibility and social influence of the artist.
Agnieska Polska “The Body of Words” runs from May 1-June 20
The gallery is also presenting a bonus show by Polish sculpture Magdalena Abakanowicz for four days only, at St. Elisabeth-Kirche.
10. Other shows not to miss include Haleh Redjaian at Arratia Beer, Athena Papadopolous at Supportico Lopez, Rachel de Joode and Kate Cooper at Neumeister Bar-Am, and Lindsay Lawson at Gillmeier Rech (see Meet The Next Generation of Berlin Art Gallery Dealers).
And an artist talk with Frances Stark and Diedrich Diederichsen at HAU on May 2.
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