Social, political, economic and cultural issues are increasingly being framed and contested in the public realm, and consequently city dwellers are demanding their say in the decisions affecting these public spaces. DEMO:POLIS – The Right to Public Space, the Akademie der Künste’s major spring exhibition is an ambitious inquiry into these timely issues surrounding public space. Through an exhibition format, programme of special events, interactive discussions, symposiums, and a publication DEOM:POLIS addresses the options the public has in shaping its own cities – asking questions – how can we reclaim public space and tactically use it? And how do we imbue it with new meaning? The exhibition, curated by the architect Wilfried Wang, who is the deputy director of the architecture section of the Akademie der Künste, shows spatial designs and urban planning that affects small squares to entire strips of coast. Additionally, there is documentation from demonstrations, protests and art interventions that were known to ‘safeguard’ public space, such as White American Flags by Wermke/Leinkauf. Also part of the exhibition are profiles on projects La Ventana al Mar in San Juan by Puerto Rican architect Andrés Mignucci and Sports Park Stožice in Ljubljana by Sadar + Vuga, which amongst others, are deemed extraordinary examples of negotiating Neoliberalization versus Democratization. And artists’ observations of transforming cities and the ‘future city’ also feature, as seen in the work of Michael Ruetz (Timescape) Michael Najjar (Netropolis) and Nuno Cera (Futureland). Every Tuesday the “Urban Parliament” opens a forum for debates, in which, among other aims, activists from city initiatives and visitors will prepare the “Berlin Urban Rights Charta”. During a 36-hour conference “Public Space: Fights and Fictions” from 19 to 21 May, a cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, participants from around the world will discuss the developments and threats to public space; www.adk.de/demopolis.
The Kunstmuseum Basel, the world’s oldest municipal art collection, which houses over 4,000 paintings and sculptures, as well as 300,000 drawings and prints from seven decades is about to become richer in space. The main building (opened 1936) and the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart (opened 1980 and is sited in close vicinity on the banks of the Rhine) are to be complemented by the new building. The 2.740 square metre extension has been designed by renowned Basel-based architects Christ & Gantenbein and is primarily dedicated to the museum’s special exhibition programme. The extension is connected to the main building across the street by an underground passageway, and through many of its elements, it cites the rich architectural language of the main building. This is manifested in the monumental stairway with a central circular skylight, the sgraffito in the open areas of the foyer and the staircases. References to the historical building are also present in the colour qualities of the brick facade as well as the highly refined details in the materials used. Despite homage to the old building, the new extension is a standalone building with its own contemporary architectural identity. The polygonal ground plan comprises a series of well-proportioned rectangular exhibition halls. Particularly impressive are the expansive hallways (around five metres in height) that make up the basement level of the building. The new building blends harmoniously into the heterogeneous structure of Basel’s St. Alban quarter and radiates, quite literally, through the LED frieze woven into the facade, out onto the city. To coincide with the opening of the new building, the inaugural exhibition Sculpture on the Move 1946-2016 will take place. The extensive survey, curated by Bernhard Mendes Bürgi., will map the dynamic evolution of the sculptural form – from its antiquated beginnings to its contemporary context, with works by Alberto Giacometti, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, Katharina Fritsch, Félix González-Torres and Oscar Tuazon on display.
Since the 1960s the Dreischeibenhaus has defined Dusseldorf’s skyline with its height of 94 meters. It is among the most significant examples of post-war modernist International style and a symbol of the so-called Wirtschaftswunder in West-Germany. Located in Düsseldorf’s city center, the sleek steel and glass building forms an ensemble with the Schauspielhaus and the Kö-Bogen. It´s unusual silhouette is shaped by three slim construction blocks, featuring curtain wall façades made of aluminum and glass, and narrow sides cladded with stainless steel. The building has now been completely refurbished by HPP Hentrich-Petschnigg & Partner with the intention to preserve and highlight its original character from the 60s, which is particularly visible in the iconic lobby with a dark green marble floor, high steel walls, colorful risers, Barcelona-styled chair furniture and even a glass phone box. Beside measures to maintain the old charm, new features were also added to the building, including terraces on the rooftop and the new restaurant Phoenix on the ground floor, hosted by the building owner Patrick Schwarz-Schütte and designed by Etienne Descloux and Irina Kromayer.
What is design? A 3D-printed prosthetic hand, or a chair inspired by the structure of bone? A new exhibition format at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg investigates core questions of the multifaceted contemporary discourse on design with a radically formalized approach. The exhibition series DESIGN DISPLAY opens up spaces for discussion on political and social dimensions of design by posing provocative questions. A 20-meter long, 2.40 meters high, triangular glass display was produced to stage two arrangements of objects in comparison to each other. Each exhibition runs for four months and is accompanied by the magazine ON DISPLAY with essays and interviews, available both in print and online. The first exhibition deals with innovative production methods by juxtaposing a low-tech, 3D-printed prosthetic hand with the Bone Chair, an aluminum cast chair that was computer generated by adopting bionic principles. www.designondisplay.de
Tomás Saraceno’s artistic project Aerocene is a series of air-fueled sculptures that will float in the longest, most sustainable journey around the world without engines, becoming buoyant only by the heat of the Sun and infrared radiation from the surface of Earth. The material realization is surpassed by the message it bears: Its aesthetic form follows a both utopian and real idea of open source force of movement. Inflated by the air, lifted by the sun, carried by the wind, the project questions and seeks answers to our current and troublesome dependency on fossil and hydrocarbon fuels and pollution – the topics that places Aerocene at the core of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP21 topical framework. Crossing the frontiers between art, science and education, it becomes a visionary and open platform of shared knowledge. Thus it seeks for the deep understanding of our planet and all its physical, natural and social entanglements in order to project new ways of how we can move, dwell and be-together here on Earth. www.aerocene.com
The globalized world seems at once transparent and opaque. While modern life is characterized by a desire for more transparency in communication, politics and business, limitless access to information has eroded personal privacy, creating an ever-present, now long-running social dilemma. Despite the generally positive promise of transparency, there have been growing doubts about its impact on the community and on our understanding of the public sphere. Transparencies examines the cultural facets and atmospheres of the notion of (non-)transparency. The two-part, joint exhibition project in Bielefeld and Nuremberg is dedicated to developments in »transparent society,« and asks how these are reflected in current work by contemporary artists. Participating artists deal with the paradigm of transparency and the ambivalence of the term in multiple, diverse ways. They examine the consequences of an algorithm- and data-collection-driven, life-world transparency and explore our changed relationship to privacy. Other key points of investigation include interpersonal exchange and its possible control. Curated by Simone Neuenschwander and Thomas Thiel, the exhibitions include contributions by Neïl Beloufa, Juliette Blightman, Ryan Gander, Calla Henkel, Max Pitegoff, David Horvitz, Metahaven, Katja Novitskova and Yuri Pattison.
Opening I: Friday, 6.11.2015, 7pm
Opening II: Friday, 20.11.2015, 7pm
Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft
Following the two major exhibitions “Return of Landscape” in 2010 and “Culture:City” in 2013, Berlin’s Akademie der Künste is now working on their next project coming up in spring 2016 titled, “Demo:Polis”. This exhibition is dedicated not only to the future of public space but the right to this real, physical space. While the Internet simulated a virtual public sphere, its promise was disappointed by Wikileaks and Edward Snowdon’s revelations. In contrast to this, people are again voicing their views with relative anonymity by demonstrating in real public spaces. Today, social media and real public space are the new framework for self-determination. Neo-liberalism has made the real public sphere a target for commercial interests: from advertising, sponsored events and the sale of publicly owned property, almost every public privilege and property have been sold. As cities grow denser, building projects encroach more and more on public space, an issue in which citizens demand to have a greater say in. As an ambitious endeavor on a highly complex issue, always close to failure – just like the constant fight over the right to setting the rules for the meaning and use of public space – “Demo:Polis” will include an exhibition, a catalogue and a series of conferences and parliaments, bringing together multiple approaches and working principles.
The 6th edition of the NORDWIND Festival, with its focus on exploring the North European and Baltic performing arts scene, will also throw a spotlight on Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union this year. Under the title “BALAGAN!!! – Zones of Resistance” Artistic director Ricarda Ciontos presents performances, choreographies and installations by some of the most exciting artistic teams and directors from Northern and North-Eastern Europe such as Oskaras Koršunovas, Stina Nyberg, Verdensteatret, Mungo Park and Elina Pirinen. A special program concentrating on contemporary performance in Russia will show controversial, innovative and formally sophisticated productions by artists such as Dmitry Krymov, Mikhael Patlasov, Olga Jitlina and Petr Pavlensky. “BALAGAN!!! – Contemporary Art from the Former Soviet Union and Other Mythical Places”, an exhibition taking place in three venues across Berlin, will feature works by over 50 artists as well as the first retrospective outside Russia of Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe (1969-2013), comprising his paintings, films, photography and performance.
Since its foundation the biennial NORDWIND Festival has been continuously expanding its interdisciplinary program in terms of output, structure and ambition. This year it will take place in Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden and – for the first time – in Bern. Performance and exhibition venues in Berlin include Volksbühne, Sophiensæle, Max Liebermann Haus and KühlHaus Berlin.
The autumn of 2015 marks the second collaborative project between four of Berlin’s leading art institutions: Berlinische Galerie, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will present a total of four thematically related and coinciding exhibitions. Titled STADT/BILD (Image of a City), the project approaches the notion of “the city” as thematic cluster from various perspectives. Architects Brandlhuber+ Hertweck, Mayfried will devise a spatial intervention in the Berlinische Galerie. The Dialogic City: Berlin wird Berlin sets out to question the museum as an institution, its acquisition policy, conditions of exhibiting, and different constraints. Xenopolis at Deutsche Bank KunstHalle will focus on the city as a living organism that does not belong to anyone in particular. Working under the hypothesis that there is no such thing as one coherent city, curator Simon Njami explores the multiplicity of cities. At the heart of the exhibition Welcome to the Jungle at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, a “jungle” serves as a desired imaginary space, symbolizing the subconscious, potentially dangerous counterpart of the controlled urban environment. The jungle marks a maximum distance from everyday life, as the name of the best-known discotheque in the history of West Berlin illustrates. With Fluids. A Happening by Allan Kaprow, 1967 / 2015 the Nationalgalerie presents a comprehensive reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s Happenings from 1967 in the public sphere. Originally constructed out of ice blocks, Fluids explored the questions of authorship, participation and communality, temporality, and choreography. Berlin-based artists are invited to react to this process-based work. Their versions of Fluids will appear in different locations around Berlin on successive days during the Berlin Art Week.
After their pastrami buvette Maxie Eisen, the three restaurateurs Oskar Melzer, James and David Ardinast took the next step, opening their first fine-dining restaurant Stanley Diamond, named after Maxie Eisen’s notorious Jewish- American mafioso associate from the 20th century and also located in Frankfurt’s Bahnhofsviertel. Culinary references to bygone times characterize the kitchen which is inspired by European classics. Traditional recipes that have steadily disappeared from restaurant menus are revived with a contemporary take to form a diverse and seasonal menu featuring classics such as Leipziger Allerlei, plaice ‘Finkenwerder style’, Osso Bucco, Bouillabaise, Baba au rhum or apricot dumplings. The interior, designed by Paul Bauer in collaboration with the architects Hollin+Radoske and the design company e15, plays with the combination of contrasting materials. A long stone wall made from green Indian marble, a rose-pink concrete flooring and a gleaming copper ceiling are set off against wooden elements and custom made seating. With strong ties to the city, Melzer and the Ardinast brothers combine fine-dining with the rough and vibrant atmosphere of the Bahnhofsviertel.