Berlin remains one of the few Western art centers without a major international fair, making its annual Gallery Weekend (GWB) a key market moment. The 19th edition (April 28-30) presents 55 galleries and coincides with a number of parallel programs and non-commercial exhibitions. Here are six of the most notable shows taking place across the city, from participating galleries to project spaces, an old power station and a moving car.

Hito Steyerl: contemporary rock art, Esther Schipper, Potsdamer Str. 81st/3rd floor, 10785, until May 25

Hito Steyerl made headlines when she pulled her work from Documenta 15 amid her controversies over anti-Semitism and racism. A site-specific iteration of the same video installation, animal spirits (2022), will now be exhibited for the first time in Europe during his first solo exhibition with Esther Schipper. The work, in classic Steyerl fashion, is a distinctive blend of historical footage, speculative fiction, and reflections on the technological and economic future, all interpolated with the artist’s search for niche terrain, particularly the effect of coyotes on the ecology of northern Spain and the livelihoods of local shepherds.

The exhibition also contains a number of illuminated glass sculptures containing plant matter, which are programmed with sensors that react to the viewer’s movement. These are sold to raise funds for relief efforts following the recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. All profits from the sale of these sculptures will be donated to create a health center in a women’s village in Rojava, northern Syria.

Installation of Adrian Ghenie in the new Berlin gallery of Plan B

Courtesy of Galeria Plan B

Adrien Ghenie, Plan B, Strausberger Platz 1, 10243 until May 13

Plan B pays homage to its roots – as well as the most lucrative artist on its roster – by opening its new space with works by Berlin-based Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie. The darling of Cluj’s megawatt market has a long history with the gallery, having founded it as a project space in 2005 with fellow artist and friend Mihai Pop.

For Ghenie’s fifth solo exhibition with Plan B, her recent paintings take over the two-story space located in the Haus Berlin tower at Strausberger Platz. The building, which was designed in the 1950s by East Berlin’s chief architect Hermann Henselmann, is part of the larger Magistrale complex that is currently shortlisted for Unesco World Heritage status. The characters in these works, made during and informed by the Covid-19 pandemic, are envisioned as time travelers and join the wider cast of Ghenie’s twisted and shapeshifting humanoids that populate her canvases. The exhibit includes a charcoal drawing based on the widely circulated images of climate activists from Ultima Generazione (last generation) throwing a can of soup on Van Gogh the sower (1888) at the Palazzo Bonaparte in Rome last year.

Slavs and Tatars Hang don’t cut (2023)

Courtesy of the artists and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler

Slavs and Tatars feat. Andrey Anro, Dozie Kanu, Mina Masoumi, Lin May Saeed: Hang Don’t Cut, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Kohlfurter Strasse 41/43
10999, until June 29

Berlin-based art collective and ethnographic research group Slavs and Tatars, whose focus on the vast intracontinental region of Eurasia has won them favor at biennials around the world, returns for its third exhibition at Kraupa-Tuscany Zeidler. Here they present a series of glass spheres resembling winter melons – a fruit loaded with symbolism in Central Asia, particularly in Uzbekistan and Xinjiang, where their veined surfaces are believed to form unique cryptic codes that make them knowledge repositories. A second part of this exhibition presents the works of four long-time collaborating artists of Slavs and Tatars: Andrey Anro, Dozie Kanu, Mina Masoumi, Lin May Saeed.

The exhibition will also offer performances in the space “slavic aperitivo bar-cum-project” pickle bar, opened by Slavs & Tatars next to their studio in the city’s Moabit neighborhood. On April 28, at 7:00 p.m. local time, Berlin-Cypriot artist Krista Papista will perform Fucklore: the bell ringers, reviving a ritual practiced by the women who carried the bells of their lost sheep during the carnivals of Cyprus and the Aegean islands. Online reservation required.

Sixty Seconds of Wonderland Park Image (2019),

Chen Dandizi: Hollow Garden, Hua International, Potsdamer Str. 81B, 10785, until July 15

Newly founded gallery Hua International, established in 2020 with spaces in Berlin and Beijing, makes its GWB debut with a solo exhibition of three video installations and new sculptures by 30-year-old Chinese artist Chen Dandizi. Her videos focus on the natural jungle environments of southern China, where she is from, and how they interact with human responses to rapid urbanization. A video work shows the inhabitants of a seaside resort, in which urban parks have replaced the jungle, waiting for an artificial pond to spray mist over the landscape. “The Anthropocene is a topic everywhere, but in China it’s so extreme,” says gallery founder Xiaochan Hua. “The whole country is growing so fast that these huge cities are being built seemingly overnight. Dizi’s videos show the humor and absurdity of these cities creating fake natural parks to make up for what’s missing.”

+Dédé presents: Vanishing point, in collaboration with Saddlery Weekend, location via InstagramApril 28-29

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Berlin art event if the city’s curators were content to program inside white cubes, and this year sees a number of side exhibitions taking place in project spaces and venues. non-traditional.

Perhaps the most unorthodox comes courtesy of curatorial collective +Dede, which presents a karaoke exhibit inside a Volkswagen Golf. The premise is as follows: seven artists submitted video works and wrote songs with original lyrics. Visitors locate the car via Instagram, line up, and when allowed inside, choose a song and sing along. While the vehicle will be largely stationary, +Dede founder Tristan Deschamps says it’s likely the police will ask them to move, meaning if you’re lucky your session “because -a-oke” will become movable. .

Despite the lightness of the concept, the installation nevertheless provides a platform for pressing social issues. One in particular, by exiled Thai artist Pisitakun Kuantalaeng, mixes together images he captured during recent peaceful and violent protests in Bangkok against Lesse Majeste laws, and is accompanied by lyrics calling for resistance against the tyranny.

This automotive art installation is part of the inaugural set saddlery weekend– a competing but unaffiliated program with GWB – which brings together around 50 project spaces across the city. Its organizers say in a statement that theirs is “not a counter-action to GWB, but rather aims to draw attention to the diverse agenda of Berlin’s independent art scene.”

Installation view of Serghei and Arotin’s Infinity Screen at Kraftwerk, Berlin

Courtesy of Kraftwerk Berlin

Serghei & Arotin: infinite screen, Kraftwerk, Köpenicker Str. 70, 10179, until April 30; tickets €15, book online

The cavernous space of Kraftwerk, a former East German power station whose west wing now houses techno nightclub Tresor, is difficult to exhibit. Higher ceilings than most cathedrals and few light sources gobble up a lot of visual complexity, simple works best. Luckily, that’s exactly what new media duo Serghei and Arotin’s offer. infinity screen—whose iterations have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the Center Pompidou. These modular light-based sculptures are now assembled to stretch across space, and are programmed to appear as if a beam of light, at roughly the rate of a heartbeat, passes through them, briefly illuminating the darkness and making the vast space momentarily smaller. “We programmed this work inside this bunker-like building. With a war still raging in Ukraine, we wanted to highlight the importance of bringing light into the darkness,” said Sergei.

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