Gallery Weekend Berlin is a celebration of the galleries and serves as a culmination of their year-round activity. As they discover artists, maintain lasting relationships with them, and continually promote and disseminate their work worldwide, the galleries are a point of contact for curators, critics, and collectors. Sprawled across 47 spaces in the city, easy to find with the Gallery Weekend Map.
How do political and economic interests shape the urban environment? Which boundaries and power structures are encoded in it? In Between Spaces, 15 artists examine questions and contradictions found in urban life. The exhibition places work by Gordon Matta-Clark and perspectives on East Berlin into a dialogue with current artistic positions. The featured artists appropriate unused spaces and lend new forms to the inconspicuous spaces in-between. From 1970s New York to 1980s East Berlin and the global village of today, various frames of reference are brought together with the notion of urban space acting as the social, artistic and political hub of a society. Artistic positions on urbanism and public space, with Gordon Matta-Clark, Isa Melsheimer, Sabine Peuckert, Andrea Pichl, Diana Sirianni, Annemirl Bauer, Sibylle Bergemann, Simon Faithfull, Antje Fretwurst-Colberg, Brigitte Fugmann, Raumlabor, Marjetica Potrc, KUNSTrePUBLIK, Tomás Saraceno, and Ursula Strozynski.
“Museums should be invisible. With an imaginary museum you can do whatever you want.” –
What does the term anti-art encompass? It’s shaped by an array of concepts that reject prior definitions of art and question the art system and how it functions. “The Anti-Museum“, an extensive anthology by Mathieu Copeland and Balthazar Lovay, addresses the idea of anti-art through numerous contributions by renowned artists and writers. From interviews and historical reprints to manifestos and commissioned essays, the 794-page encyclopaedic tome presents the first comprehensive exploration of the radical and paradoxical concept that is the ‘anti-museum’ – a term so present in art history and yet one that has never been the object of detailed investigation. The museum has always been a target for criticism, whether it comes from artists, thinkers, curators, or even the public. Dedicated to all forms of “anti” such as Anti-Art, Anti-Technology, Anti-Design and Anti-Philosophy, the publication features numerous texts from the 60s until today – including newly commissioned as well as never-before-translated pieces – to define the idea of anti-art in a broad sense, evoking attempts to disrupt rules and customs in artistic disciplines.
After leaving its home in Kassel for a few months, documenta has moved to Athens for the first part of its 14th iteration, and we were there to experience its multifarious program sprawling across museums, cinemas, residential spaces, pavements and even radio stations and kiosks, to name a few of the locations. Four years in the making, under the working title “Learning from Athens”, one of the topics addressed in documenta 14 is the meaning of education and its reconstitution through the works of more than 160 international artists. Following the press conference opening featuring a cacophony of all participating artists and members of the team onstage, the artistic director Adam Szymczyk encapsulated this year’s approach: “Unlearning what we believe we know is the beginning. There are no masters that can tell us how to live or what to do. We are in need to mobilize energies and act through unlearning. As we abandon preconceptions, and some of our hopes too, we immerse in the darkness of now knowing. And only from that state can we then make small steps towards something different.” More than a couple of times we were urged to “get lost” in the city, fully experience the public realm and embrace the peripatetic manners of ancient Greek philosophers. Among numerous spaces and places, the program took us from the impressive building of the Athens Conservatoire built in the ‘50s as a vision of central European rationalism, to the former brewery housing the National Contemporary Art Museum, to the Polytechnion – an emblem of historical resistance, to a pavement inscribed with Samuel Beckett’s poetry, and a kiosk turned into an electronic music station on a picturesque plateia. Sound has indeed a prominent role in the program and is an essential part of its impact. Sonic elements are dispersed throughout, whether as protagonists or as discreet additions permeating the visual spectrum; appearing announced or other times fully conquering your headspace. It often felt like this year’s documenta should be heard more than seen.
As April 9th marked the first day of the 1,850-mile journey on horseback to Kassel starting from the side of the Acropolis, we also anticipate the second part of documenta and the evolution of this ‘continuum’.
As an active response to the social challenges of our times, a new creative initiative advocates for the seamless integration and inclusion of people with a refugee and migration background in Germany through the arts, music, theater, and dance. One in five people in Germany have a migratory history, two-thirds of which belong to the first generation. We don’t always celebrate the same festivities. We don’t always speak the same language. We don’t always believe in the same deity. But it’s undeniable that the world of the arts can act as an equalizing and unifying resource, and that’s the direction we should be moving towards to. With The Power of the Arts initiative, launched by the Philip Morris GmbH, each year an independent jury selects four winning projects, awarded with 50,000 euros each, put forward by non-profit institutions and creative artists. All participants use numerous artistic disciplines to endorse social and cultural equality as well as deeper understanding among individuals. What serves as the main purpose of the initiative is to encourage an open, interculturally shaped society that leaves no room for discrimination and marginalization. Creativity and people’s abilities are invested in coexistence and collaborative progress.
Project submissions and information on the call for applications from 27 March until 9 June 2017.
British artist Paul Elliman has consistently engaged with the production and performance of language as a material component of the socially constructed environment. In a world where objects and people are equally subject to the force fields of mass production, Elliman explores the range of human expression as a kind of typography. His exhibition As you said includes various works, both existing and new, that test the boundaries of our communication through letter-like objects, language- like vocal sounds, actions, shapes, silences, and movements of the body. Whether concealed by clothing or techniques of mimicry, our gestures and the desire for language are always within easy reach of the violently communicative raw material of the city. As you said is structured around a set of vitrines devised by the artist Ian Wilson —which Elliman considers as sculptures, objects of display, and sites for discourse—and a pair of billboards. Elliman employs the vitrines as a framing device for a selection of his work from over the last 25 years, while the billboards extend the exhibition out into the streets of Berlin.
Adam Pendleton‘s multi-disciplinary practice engages with language and the reframing of history, and he follows Hanne Lippard as the second of three artists to present exhibitions reflecting on the work of Ian Wilson. Beginning his practice as a painter, Wilson increasingly took on communication, abstraction, and the nature of knowledge as subjects, and used dialogue as a form. As a response, Pendleton stages an intervention to the entire third floor of KW. Cutting across the exhibition space is a diagonal wall, across which is printed the first sentence of Ron Sillman’s poem “Albany” – “If the function of writing is to ‘express the world.’” This statement, or question, is met with an arrangement of posters, collages, and other archival materials from Pendleton’s practice, pasted in successive layers and constrained to a black-and-white palette. And Wilson’s voice is present in the midst: shot him in the face includes one of his monochromatic paintings, with which the artist aimed for producing an object devoid of referential content and touching true abstraction. As part of KW’s The Weekends agenda, three of Pendleton’s film works will also be showing at the Babylon cinema. All showcase Pendleton’s focus on the themes of portraiture, artistic exchange, and methods of representation – filmic and otherwise.
When science fiction scenarios are applied to reality: How is robotics changing our lives and what is design’s role within that spectrum? As these technological advancements have found their way into our everyday environs, design has a central responsibility in this process, for it is designers who shape the interfaces between humans and machines. The exhibition Hello, Robot at the Vitra Design Museum examines the current robotics boom from the scope of various disciplines in extensive detail for the first time. Comprising more than 200 exhibits, the exhibition includes robots used in the home, in nursing care, and in industry as well as computer games, media installations, and relevant examples in films and literature. Through this sweeping analysis, the show broadens our awareness of the associated ethical, social, and political issues that arise. As our environment is becoming ever smarter and more autonomous, Hello Robot initiates a necessary discussion on how design cultivates the relationship between human and machine. Accompanying the exhibition, an extensive programme of talks, films, performances, and workshops further illuminates the topic in question from a number of different perspectives.
The reopening of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art is marked by a series of exhibitions reflecting on the work of South African artist Ian Wilson, who explores spoken language as an art form and places great emphasis on dialogue. In Wilson’s non-tangible practice, language morphs into the quintessential vehicle for communication and knowledge. To highlight the importance of his objective in relation to the role of language, three selected artists have been invited to concentrate on different aspects of his artistic output and use them as inspiration for the production of new work. First in line to delve into the topic is Norwegian artist Hanne Lippard with the immersive installation Flesh that takes Wilson’s Statements and Circle Works as its point of departure. Lippard’s physical piece—a spiral staircase leading to a platform—incorporates the artist’s voice which completely encompasses the audience and opens up a world in which ourexperience of language as pure voice is further investigated. Maintaining Wilson’s oeuvre as a guiding framework, Lippard’s exhibition will be followed by artists Adam Pendleton and Paul Elliman.
After relocating to a more spacious venue right behind the Volksbühne, the Dittrich & Schlechtriem gallery inaugurates its new home with an installation by the Berlin-based artist collective Das Numen, made up of artists Julian Charrière, Andreas Greiner, Markus Hoffmann, and Felix Kiessling. The collective’s practice is premised on the methodological primacy of experimentation and the significance of engaging with their surroundings and the present moment. Entitled Das Numen Meatus, the exhibition focuses on sonic compositions and the importance of atmosphere for their existence. Something intangible and ephemeral fills the gallery’s rooms: sounds emerge, produced by an array of pipes suspended in the space. Das Numen feed readings—wind velocities and directions—from twenty weather stations into a computer program that converts the data into impulses. The latter in turn control valves that allow compressed air to pass through the pipes, which begin to sound. Scientific data that, due to its enormous quantity, often goes unused is transformed into sensual sounds and a curious aesthetic experience.