Apollo Magazine

Autumn Art Highlights: Berlin

Berlin Art Week kicks off the season, while the art fair 'abc' (art berlin contemporary) promises corners without walls...

abc installation view (2014) Photo: Stefan Korte

Some of the best exhibitions and events coming up in Berlin
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Now in its fourth year, Berlin Art Week (15–20 September) has established itself as the major event in the autumn calendar, with many of the season’s most exciting openings tied in to its programme, and this year it will be bigger than ever. Along with openings, panel discussions, artist talks, performances and the announcement of the winner of the Preis der Nationalgalerie (18 September) at Hamburger Bahnhof, Art Week also incorporates what is now Berlin’s leading art fair, abc (art berlin contemporary) (17–20 September).

abc installation view (2014) Photo: Stefan Korte

This year more than 100 galleries from around the world will be showcasing work at abc, with a strong emphasis on young and emerging artists. As befits the more edgy, experimental nature of a Berlin art fair, the great halls in Station Berlin – the former railway station at Gleisdreieck in the south of the city – will be organised according to an ‘architectural concept’ consisting of ‘spaces defined only by their corners’. To paraphrase Alice in Wonderland: I’ve seen a grin without a cat, but a corner without a wall might be the most curious thing I ever saw in my life…

Among the more exciting openings tied in to Berlin Art Week will be Paul McCarthy at the Schinkel Pavillon (12 September–22 November), the exhibition of photographs by filmmaker Wim Wenders at Blain Southern (17 September–14 November), Cindy Sherman: Works from the Olbricht Collection at Collectors Room (16 September–10 April 2016) and Sean Scully’s Four Days at Kewenig Galerie (4 September–7 November).

La Ville Radieuse Chinoise (video still), Ute Adamczewski. From ‘STADT/BILD: Welcome to the Jungle’ at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. Courtesy the artist

The other highlight of Art Week will be Stadt/Bild (Image of a City) (16 September–8 November), a collaborative project between four of Berlin’s major institutions: the Berlinische Galerie, the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The four thematically related exhibitions will approach the topic of ‘the City’ from various disciplinary and formal perspectives, engaging with architecture, performance, urban planning and the culture of the city. Welcome to the Jungle, a group show at the KW Institute taking its name from the Guns N’ Roses song and promising an exploration of the dark subconscious of the urban imaginary, may be the stand-out of the foursome.

Tiger (1822), Gan Ku. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Sammlung Klaus F. Naumann, 2014-26. Photo: Jörg von Bruchhausen

Along with these contemporary happenings, there will also be some rich historical exhibitions open in Berlin this autumn. At the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Homosexualität_en (26 June–1 December) – a title which works better in German than in the English translation, Homosexuality_ies – documents 150 years of gay life and culture in Germany, with contributions from artists including Monica Bonvicini, Louise Bourgeois and Andy Warhol. At the Museen Dahlem, Tigers, Cranes, Beautiful Women (8 October–10 January 2016) will showcase Japanese artworks from the 15th to the 20th century acquired from the collection of Klaus F. Naumann, including several large-scale painted folding screens never previously on public display. And Martin-Gropius-Bau will be showing 400 works from the Würth Collection in From Hockney to Holbein (11 September–10 January 2016) and 50 works demonstrating the evolution of Mondrian’s style, in Piet Mondrian: The Line (4 September–6 December) – the first major Mondrian exhibition in Berlin since 1968. Viel Spaß!

‘Schutzmantel-madonna’ (1525/6 and 1528), Hans Holbein the younger © Sammlung Würth, Foto: Philipp Schönborn

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