For my first experience at Berlin Art Week, I decided to explore art venues in the city instead of going to see “Positions” – with 70 international galleries and “Art Berlin” – presenting 110 galleries with emerging and established contemporary art along with Modernist works, the two major art fairs that were organized at the old Tempelhof Airport for the occasion.
What an adventure it was visiting all the exhibitions spread around the city without anyone showing around or at least indicating the best art routes! But I did it… and had so much fun while trying to unsuccessfully use the not so new app “ArtRabbit” that I kept forgetting on my previous trips, and a little bit more successfully – the official map for the event. My feet were sore but the soul was happy.
Berlin Art Week is one of the most important contemporary art events in the city where 3.7 million people reside and ten times more are visiting each year. This year Berlin Art Week celebrated its 8th edition and together with the city – the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall fall. There were several art projects that engaged specifically with this subject. “Walking Through Walls” at Gropius Bau Museum was one of them. Jose Dávila, Mona Hatoum, Aki Sasamoto and Javier Téllez were the artists whose work impressed me most during the viewing of this exhibition.
Another exhibition I enjoyed at Gropius Bau was “Garden of Earthly Delights”. It started with a 15th century version of the famous Hieronymus Bosch painting with the same name as the exhibition and interpreted its contents in the most different ways possible: starting with the futuristic “Mesocosmic Indoor Overture” by Heather Phillipson, going through plant porn (yes explicit plant porn) by Zheng Bo in “Pteridophilia 2” and finishing with the giant installation “Antoine’s Organ” by Rashid Johnson.
On the other side of the city, at Julia Stoschek Collection the garden subject morphed caterpillars. The first solo show in Europe by Studio WangShui exhibited three moving-image installations that explore different sides of transformation through an impressive LED lights woven, dragon skin reminiscent artwork “Silver”, “Gardens of Perfect Exposure” and a drone filmed “From Its Mouth Came a River of High-End Residential Appliances”.
In the gallery filled street Augustßtrasse at the more centric part of Berlin, I visited Me Collectors Club that was showing “Kirchner.Richter.Bugert” where I could find some of the beautiful works by these three famous German artists.
Next to it, at KW Institute, I arrived just in time for the opening of “The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue”. Despite the huge amount of art lovers viewing it at the same time, I loved the stylish sensual paintings by this American artist, famous for her corseted torsos and the meaning behind them. There was an interesting selection of artworks in dialogue with these paintings completing the exhibition perfectly curated by Anna Gritz.
My favorite single art piece was also on the same street. Without any previous planning, I entered Galerie EIGEN + ART, where a friendly gallerist invited me to visit the basement with a light installation “How to Fancy a Light of a Candle After it is Blown Out” by Olaf Nicolai. I was not impressed until another gallery employee explained to me how to interact with it. This installation consists of UV-light and afterglow paint. Once a shadow is cast on it – it remains for a few seconds. The rest depends on what the viewer does to it… my kind of playground.
The exhibitions I mention above are just a little part of everything that was on view during the Berlin Art Week. Filling my three days with art I still missed a lot, as the list of events was endless. There were also numerous private collections introducing their latest acquirements and I finally had a chance to visit Boros Collection but that experience is definitely worth a separate post which I will prepare soon. Meanwhile I can only say I will do my best to visit Berlin Art Week next year and visit all the art spaces that I missed this time.
For more information visit Berlin Art Week official site.