Berlin is a global city, and at no time is this more apparent than during Berlin Art Week. From 11 to 15 September, the German capital will revel in its artistic reputation, as institutions from across the city come together to present a whole week revolving around contemporary art. With participation from museums and galleries to private collections, the art on show spans the range of mediums and genres. Included in the events calendar is the presentation of artworks by the artists on the shortlist for the Berlin Art Prize. Whether your thing is showstopping paintings or thought-provoking video installations, Berlin Art Week has it all in abundance.
Iman Issa: Book Of Facts
Iman Issa is multi-talented. In an exhibition at Daadgalerie, she combines installation, sculpture, video and photography to examine the way language influences experience and history affects object. Interested in how the cultural label affects the way objects move through time and space, she makes her art objects into pseudo-monuments. With each piece labelled as though it’s in the archive of a history museum, the information relayed is ambiguous, but adds that air of historical officialdom, bringing us to ask ourselves, what is it that makes an object historically or culturally significant?
Exhibition 12 Sept to 10 Nov 2019; opening 11 Sept at 7pm
Christopher Kulendran Thomas in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann: Ground Zero
Christopher Kuelendran Thomas‘s exhibition at Schinkel Pavillon is pretty meta. Developed in collaboration with Annika Kuhlman, it’s an exhibition of a film of an exhibition. Continually dancing over the line between documentary and fiction, the film follows synthesised versions of a certain famous singer (look at the picture), a famous artist and a young Tamil artist, as they show the viewer round an exhibition filled with works by real contemporary Sri Lankan artists. As well as showcasing the up-and-coming artistic talent in Sri Lanka, the film looks to examine what human rights will look like in a post-human world, where technology has thrown into question the idea of what “human” means in the first place.
Exhibition 11 Sept to 15 Dec 2019; opening 11 Sept, 6 to 9pm
Christina Ramberg in Dialogue: The Making of Husbands
The KW Institute for Contemporary Art will present the work of Christina Ramberg (1946-1995), alongside several artists who continue the conversations that Ramberg started. With surrealist influences, Ramberg’s paintings examine the human body shaped by its environment, both physical and ideological. Nipped and tucked by corsets and binders, her bodies are formally elegant, but constricted by the societal norms that dictate such silhouettes as the ideal in the first place. The other artists featured in the exhibition include Alexandra Bircken, Konrad Klapheck and Diane Simpson.
Exhibition 14 Sept 2019 to 5 Jan 2020; opening 13 Sept, 7pm
KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Jenna Westra: She’s Reading
Schwarz Contemporary will present Jenna Westra’s first solo show for Berlin Art Week. Through her photography, Westra shows female bodies in positions of tension, as they stand immobile in strange positions. The nature of the photograph means that these uncomfortable momentary contortions can be captured and made permanent. Simple, carefully staged, the women position themselves in full self-consciousness of their bodies.
Victor Man, Jill Mulleady, Issy Wood: Claude Mirrors
The Claude glass—a tinted mirror popular in the late eighteenth century—allowed landscape artists to look at scenery from a black and white perspective, creating a reality which was recognisable and yet undeniably different. Inspired by this reality-creating phenomenon, an exhibition at Schinkel Pavillon looks at whether reality and identity can ever be said to be truly real, or whether it’s all just a created projection of a relative truth. As Victor Man examines shifting identities, Issy Wood portrays images of surreal mythologies. Her elements of dreamscape are in harmony with Jill Mulleady‘s shadowy figures in their gloomy pseudo- underwater bleakness.
Exhibition 11 Sept to 15 Dec 2019; opening 11 Sept, 6 to 9pm
Candice Breitz: Labour
Women’s birth stories are rarely discussed, least of all in the pristine gallery setting, where messy subjects abound but reproductive issues remain on the fringes. Candice Breitz is set to change this with her brand new series of video installations, LABOUR. These films document women giving birth in a variety of ways, though the footage then takes a strange and surreal twist. Breitz imagines the embodied power that flows through women at the moment of giving birth as a resource that can be tapped for other purposes. Redirected as a tool for eliminating the men in power who have been responsible for rewinding the bodily autonomy of women, LABOUR suggests a swift method for sucking them off the planet.
Exhibition 12 Sept to 25 Oct 2019; opening 11 Sept, 6pm
Tobias Dostal: Opening
Tobias Dostal is inspired by vaudeville and magic shows; at his exhibition at Kwadrat gallery, expect elements of the theatrical. His exhibition is certainly a unique experience, his acrylic glasses decorated with graphic drawings are lit up from below with LED lights, creating a spooky luminescence. With more than 200 of these glowing glasses lining the walls, entering the lit-up corridor feels like entering a narrow crystal cave, with each glass an artwork in and of itself, but also contributing to a larger greater whole.
Exhibition 14 Sept to 31 Oct 2019; opening 13 Sept, 7pm
Berlin Art Prize
The Berlin Art Prize is now in its sixth edition, and things are being shaken up this year. In place of the usual presentation of the nominated artists (selected via an open call) in a single, unified space, the nine nominees are instead exhibiting in solo shows across nine project spaces. Each of these exhibitions cast as much light on the hosting galleries as they do the artists in line for the prize, and celebrates Berlin’s rich independent scene. It is a collaborative, community-led affair, and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the city in tandem with its artists. Highlights include Ada Van Hoorebeke at Kinderhook & Caracas (a project space run by artists Sol Calero and Christopher Kline), and Agnes Scherer at Horse & Pony. The winner will be announced on 14 September 14 at midnight.
Winner to be announced 14 Sept 2019 at the Atelierhaus am Flutgraben
Bani Abidi: They Died Laughing
Believing that South Asia and Pakistan were over-portrayed in the news but under-portrayed in literature and art, Bani Abidi sought to correct this. A painter and video-maker, Abidi is as much a storyteller as an artist, exposing through satire elements of South Asian and Pakistani culture which sees as worthy of discussion. An exhibition at Gropius Bau will present a mixture of her works from her several-decade career so far.
Exhibition 6 June to 22 Sept 2019; guided tour 14 Sept, 3pm