From September 9th to 13th, Berlin Art Week will run its ninth edition, with events, performances, talks and exhibitions taking place throughout the city and online. To help you sort through the extensive program, we’ve put together a list of highlights.
When planning your Berlin Art Week visits, make sure to take corona hygiene and security measures into account.
To avoid crowds and wait times, booking a time slot in advance is recommended. Berlin Art Week has launched an online booking system this week, where you can select a time slot for openings and special events and book for free. For all exhibitions and events not listed on the registration page, tickets (sometimes with an entrance fee) can be booked directly via Berlin Art Week’s partner institutions.
See also: our guide to Gallery Weekend Berlin.
Radical Passivity: Politics of the Flesh
At the day-long opening of the exhibition ‘Radical Passivity: Politics of the Flesh’, nGbk will be hosting a couple of additional Berlin Art Week events. Starting at 8pm with a lecture by Leonhard Fuest, which aims to “mix up a few sci-fi stimulants to situate the present and future subject (human/cyborg) in its pharmacological destiny.” At 9pm, they will be screening Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’ with commentary by Marie-Luise Angerer.
The exhibition itself features 27 artists, including Jimmy DeSana, Sophia Eisenhut/Christian Kölbl, Till Gathmann, Oliver Husain/Kerstin Schroedinger, and Jeroen Jacobs. In three ‘scenes,’ the exhibition deals with new forms of sensibility and corporeality in the arts.
Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca: ‘Swinguerra’
Berlinische Galerie’s IBB-Video Space will present the work of artist duo Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca. ‘Swinguerra’ (2019) was produced in collaboration with dance groups from Recife, a remote city in northeast Brazil. Drawing from the diverse local pop music scene, the film combines three styles of music and dance — swingueira, brega funk, and passinho do maloka. In a country with one of the highest rates of murder of LGBTQ+ people in the world, dance is used here as a form of resistance by the ensemble of Black male, female and transgender artists. The film was featured at the Brazil Pavilion of the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Open Houses Werkhof L.57
The buildings of the Werkhof complex will hold a variety of exhibitions during Berlin Art Week. Artists Katharina Grosse, Karin Sander, Via Lewandowsky, Regina Schmeken, Anri Sala, Paola Yacoub, Jo Schöpfer, and Konstantin Grcic will open their studios and take part in a self-curated group show. Ensemble mosaik will host a special musical intervention in the space, Sammlung Ivo Wessel will present a vast selection from their collection, and Editeur René Schmitt will be presenting a show by Peter Saul and Michael Mueller. Additionally, there will be food and beverages offered in Werkhof’s courtyard.
When: Opening Friday September 11, 5–9pm; the rest of the weekend 2–8pm
Where: Werkhof L.57, Lehrter Straße 57 10557 Berlin
Tickets: Free admission. Book your slot here
Role Playing the Black Swan
Responding to the precaritization of cultural labor, the Black Swan proposes a new model to enable a horizontal management of resources. The open source project builds tools and networks for local and translocal cooperation between cultural workers. During Berlin Art Week you’ll be able to explore their work and discuss these topics further in a participatory live session.
Cao Fei: Whose Utopia?
Cao Fei’s film Whose Utopia? (2006) will be presented at PalaisPopulaire alongside the exhibition Time Present—Photography from the Deutsche Bank Collection — which includes photographs from the artist’s series My Future is Not a Dream.
For Whose Utopia?, Cao Fei worked for six months in a lightbulb factory in the Pearl River Delta in China, where she organized workshops with young laborers, giving them the opportunity to share their own utopian ideas and wishes by performing directly within the factory. The exhibition will be open all week, and Cao Fei will also be present for a digital artist talk on Friday, September 11 from 11am to noon.
Located at the site of the former GDR watchtower at Schlesischer Busch, The Watch is one of the winners of this year’s Project Space Award. Unlike most other Berlin Wall watchtowers, this site, which has been continuously occupied by artist groups since the fall of the wall, has avoided demolition. In collaboration with raumlabor, The Watch is presenting an archive of documents and artistic artifacts produced in the tower since its first occupation in 1990 by the artist-led “Museum of Forbidden Art”. Current artists-in-residence Melanie Jame Wolf and Max Brück will also show their work and research, and a discussion, Talks from within the Tower, will be held on Saturday, September 12, 3—5pm, offering a more in-depth look at the site, its history and its present.
Hans Haacke: We (all) are the people
Initiated by Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), a new edition of posters designed by Hans Haacke — initially shown at documenta 14 and displayed internationally since then — will be displayed throughout the city, interacting directly with the architecture of Berlin’s institutions. The posters feature a slightly altered version of the slogan of East German demonstrators from 1989/1990, placing an emphasis on solidarity with migrants and refugees. This public intervention is realized together with Berlin Art Week’s partner organizations, and will be displayed on several façades of art institutions.
When: September 9—13, 2020
Where: Various locations, including Akademie der Künste, Gropius Bau, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Kindl—Centre for Contemporary Art, Savvy Contemporary, and Volksbühne Berlin.
Tickets: This open-air event is free and does not require a reservation.
Martin Roth Symposium: MuseumFutures
Organized by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) and re:publica, MuseumFutures — the second Martin Roth Symposium — brings together top experts to discuss current challenges in the sector and the future of museums in a hybrid, analogue/digital conference. The five-day symposium begins ahead of Berlin Art Week, on Monday, September 7, and features an international roster of speakers including Gus Casely-Hayford (Director of V&A East), Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba (Editors-in-Chief of ‘Contemporary And’ and ‘Contemporary And América Latina’), Bice Curiger (Artistic director of the Fondation Vincent van Gogh), among others. From September 7 – 10, the symposium program will be purely digital, accessible via livestream. On the final day, an interactive workshop will be held at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
When: Symposium: September, 7–11, 2020, 5–7:30pm; Interactive workshop Friday, September 11, 1:30–8pm
Where: Online (Mon-Thurs); Naturkundemuseum Berlin, Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 (Fri)
Tickets: Free admission. Participation in the workshop requires prior registration here.
Lost in America
‘Lost in America’ is a group show featuring works of U.S. art from the 1930s to the present — offering a reflection on the country’s current political situation by revisiting its past. In the exhibition, a central focus is placed on racism, looking at its role historically within the structures of society — economical, political, cultural — while highlighting the potential of conceptual art practices to expose and critique them. The exhibition includes work by Carver Audain, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, Jessica Vaughn, Sam Durant, Mike Kelley, Marisa Williamson, among others.
Art in Dark Times
Organized by bi’bak project space, the video program ‘Art in Dark Times’ brings together three video works, which will be screened outdoors, on the facade of Sinema Transtopia — a cinema experiment organized by bi’bak at Haus der Statistik. The program, curated by Galiat Eliat and Erden Kosova, includes the short films UBUNDU (2019) by Jelena Jureša, INFERNO (2013) by Yael Bartana, and ŞIRYAN (2012) by Fatoş Irwen.
POSITIONS Berlin Art Fair
This year, POSITIONS Art Fair is sharing the space at Flughafen Tempelhof with photo basel, and paper positions berlin. Some notable exhibitors are Migrant Bird Space (Berlin/Peking), Galerie Kleindienst (Leipzig) Galeria Szydlowski (Warsaw), Rutger Brandt Gallery (Amsterdam) Lachenmann Art (Konstanz/Frankfurt am Main).
Berlin-based participating galleries will also open their gallery exhibitions until 21:00 on Friday, 11 September, as part of POSITIONS’ supporting program. The supporting program also holds The Contemporary African Photography Prize, Open Air POSITIONS – large-scale sculptures and installations presented in front of Hangar 4 at Flughafen Tempelhof, and Selected POSITIONS – an exhibition with smaller and affordable artworks offering new collectors a start into the art market.
When: September 11 & 12, 2—8pm, September 13, 1–6pm
Where: Flughafen Tempelhof, Hangar 3 & 4, Columbiadamm 10, 10965
Tickets: 15€ (reduced 8€). Get your ticket here.
KW on location: Slavs and Tatars’ Pickle Bar
In collaboration with KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the art collective Slavs and Tatars is launching Pickle Bar in Moabit. Pickle Bar is a Slavic take on the aperitivo bar, offering an assortment of fermented items and spirits. Over the course of three days, the program will feature orations and performances by three different artists: Shalva Nikavashvili (Friday), Ana Prvacki (Saturday) and Selin Davasse (Sunday). Over drinks and snacks, the artists will hold court, guiding guests in the Georgian rituals of the Tamada — master or mistress of ceremony.
When: September 11—13, 2020; September 11—12 , 6pm, 8pm; September 13, 3pm, 5pm
Where: c/o Stephanstrasse 11, 10559 Berlin
Tickets: Reserve your spot by email.
SAVVYZΛΛR Presents: Prelude to RAUPENNIMMERSATTISM
While SAVVY’s physical space is in transition, as they move into their new location, they’re presenting a sonic program during Berlin Art Week — to be experienced online and on the radio. The program can be listened to on all five days, and offers glimpses into SAVVY’s upcoming project: RAUPENNIMMERSATTISM. THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY AS CONSUMED SOCIETY OR THE MYTH OF ENDLESS PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION.
Considering our relationships to production and consumption, the programming will draw from SAVVY’s own archive, and will be set within the children’s story The Very Hungry Caterpillar, focusing on a different stage of the caterpillar’s life cycle each day.
Katharina Grosse and Stefan Schneider ‘Eine kleine Bewegung, die man macht, wenn man Gänsehaut hat’
As part of her exhibition ‘It Wasn’t Us’ at Hamburger Bahnhof, Katharina Grosse will perform together with her long-term collaborator Stefan Schneider. The musical performance will take place amid the expansive installation on the last day of Berlin Art Week. For anyone interested in seeing just the exhibition, you can visit Hamburger Bahnhof throughout the week during their regular opening hours. On Wednesday, September 9, they are also hosting an evening opening between 18:00–21:00 with no entrance fee, remember to book your slot in advance.
When: Sunday, 13 September 2020, at 19:30, 20:15, and 21:00
Where: Hamburger Bahnhof, Invalidenstraße 50-51, 10557 Berlin
Tickets: 8 €. Get your tickets here.
Grit Richter. Mixed Feelings
For Berlin Art Week, Galerie Tanja Wagner – shortlisted for the VBKI-prize – is presenting new works by Grit Richter. In ‘Mixed Feelings’ the multidisciplinary artist is exploring the representation of a collective human memory. The official opening will be held Friday evening, 11 September, but you can already see the exhibition before that — the gallery is open 10:00–19:00 every day during Art Week.
When: Opens Friday, September 11 , 6–9pm; Runs until October 31, 2020
Where: Galerie Tanja Wagner, Pohlstraße 64, 10785
Tickets: Free admission.
Aurora Wounds. Caterina Barbieri & Ruben Spini
This year, The Berliner Festspiele’s program ‘The New Infinity’ has moved from the mobile dome on Mariannenplatz to Zeiss-Großplanetarium. The three-day program opens with the world premiere of composer Caterina Barbieri and multimedia artist Ruben Spini’s audio-visual, site-specific piece ‘Aurora Wounds‘, which is said to “rip open the hemispherical dome of the planetarium as a bleeding scar in the space-time manifold.”
After the opening night, there will be screenings throughout the weekend, including a retrospective of selected films from previous years of ‘The New Infinity’ program and classic avant-garde films of visual music created for the domed space.