Jenna Westra, Legs and Chair (Armature), 2019. Courtesy Schwarz Contemporary, Photos: Jenna Westra

Our 10 must-see exhibitions at Berlin Art Week 2019

A Week of Contemporary Art

From 11—15 September 2019, the eighth Berlin Art Week invites art enthusiasts from all over the world to a unique programme of contemporary art in the German capital. Beside exhibitions showing the work of well-known artists, award ceremonies, and art projects in public space, several exhibitions will thematically explore developments since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Here are out 10 must-see exhibitions during Berlin Art Week 2019:

1. Opening No Photos on the Dance Floor!

Opening C/O BERLIN

Exhibition 13 SEP 2019—30 NOV 2019 – Opening 12 SEP 2019, 7pm

Camille Blake, Ohm Trade, 2016

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, young squatters, artists, gallery owners, and DJs from East and West took over the city, filling empty buildings, factories, and vacant lots with life. Clubs, bars, galleries, and studios began popping up everywhere. The club and cultural scene became the driving force behind the city’s rejuvenation, pointing the way for a new generation of young creatives. And while techno was not invented in Berlin, what was happening in the city during this period at events like Tekknozid and in clubs like Ufo, Tresor, and Planet can be seen as a kind of >big bang<—the inception of the last major youth culture movement in Europe to date. The visual effects and new artistic approaches of Berlin’s club life occupied a boundary zone at the intersection of video, film, projections, and music. For many aspiring artists, the connection with art offered diverse possibilities for collaboration and new perspectives and spaces for communication, interaction, and celebration—outside the confines of reason and everyday life. More HERE

2. Rwandan Daughters by Olaf Heine

Exhibition, Private collection

Exhibition 7 SEP 2019—22 FEB 2020
Opening 6 SEP 2019, 7—9pm

Olaf Heine, Rwandan Daughters, Gloriose U. with her daughter Alice, Kigali, 2018, C-Print © Olaf Heine, 2019 Supported by Volkswagengroup Culture. Catalogue published by Hatje Cantz Berlin

Almost a million people fell victim to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, around 250,000 women were raped—systematic violence against women was a recurring means of male-dominated warfare in Rwanda as well as in many other war zones in the world. Today, perpetrators and victims live as next-door neighbors. And while women have become more influential within Rwandan society over the past 25 years, the rape victims and their children are still often marginalized, living with the stigma of widows and orphans. Today, it is the daughters of the raped women in particular who support their traumatized mothers and fight against this stigma—with incomparable courage and boundless optimism in a society marked by major trauma and authoritarian rule. MORE HERE

3. Bjørn Melhus. Free Update


Exhibition 15 SEP 2019—16 FEB 2020
Opening 14 SEP 2019, 5—9pm

Kindl – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst Bjørn Melhus, SUGAR, 2019, Production still. © Bjørn Melhus/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2019; Foto: Ralf Henning

Bjørn Melhus (born in 1966, lives in Berlin) deals with phenomena of the reality of the media in his films and video installations and questions the motifs and general strategies of mass media. The artist always embodies the varied and often extremely bizarre characters in his films himself. In his solo exhibition in the Maschinenhaus at the KINDL—Centre for Contemporary Art, the Norwegian-German artist will show works from recent years, including Sugar, a new production that will be presented for the first time at the KINDL. MORE HERE

4. Strike Now!! Aram Bartholl

Exhibition, Project space

Exhibition 11—15 SEP 2019
Opening 12 SEP, 7pm—open end
Panel discussion 14 SEP, 4—7pm
Guided tour 15 SEP, 2—2.30pm
Finissage 15 SEP, until 7pm

© Aram Bartholl

›Strike Now‹ is a platform for discussion and exhibition about today’s working conditions in the so called ›gig economy‹. The rise of service oriented Internet companies like Uber, Amazon and Deliveroo etc created massive amounts app based self employment under often harsh conditions. Is this the new slavery of the post digital Internet commercial revolution? In which ways can workers counteract the algorithmic chains of start-up venture capital? In a mini series of lectures, panels and an exhibition Strike Now at will examine these and further questions.

A project by Aram Bartholl, funded by Stiftung Kunstfonds. MORE HERE

5. Jenna Westra—She’s Reading 1

Exhibition, Art Awards

Exhibition 6 SEP 2019—12 OCT 2019

Jenna Westra, Nipple Tableaux, 2019. Courtesy Schwarz Contemporary, Photos: Jenna Westra.

On 5 SEP 2019 we will be opening the first solo show of Brooklyn-based American artist Jenna Westra. Jenna Westra’s first solo show in a commercial gallery in Germany will be held during Berlin Art Week in mid-September 2019 and we especially look forward to presenting a new position in Berlin to mark the new season: Jenna Westra already presented her work at the gallery in a group show this past January entitled ‘thoughts on tactility’ with six additional artists and we will now be expanding our engagement with the analogue-working American artist in a solo show this fall. Jenna Westra (born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1986) arranges and photographs primarily female bodies in strange, disturbing scenes. In the process, she works with analogue photography in black and white and colour. Westra also works as a video artist: in her first solo show ‘She’s Reading 1’ we will be focusing solely on her photographic work. MORE HERE

6. Strangers in Paradise. Max Renneisen

Exhibition, Private collection

13 + 14 SEP 2019, 3—6pm

Max Renneisen, Strangers in Paradise Photo: Gunter Lepkowski

In his works, Max Renneisen addresses the classical subject of the naked man in nature and the related concept of an ideal existence. Ancient Arcadia and the Lost Paradise have always been places of longing and synonyms for a better world. Also nowadays, when humanity becomes increasingly aware of how much it has shaken its natural environment by its need for civilization, the recurring idea that man had to find his way back to his original state in the lap of nature reaches a new climax. For his paintings and drawings Max Renneisen chooses figures from modern imagery, be it nudist magazines or private photographs, and puts them into constructed landscapes, which go back to painters like Poussin, Reynolds, or Corot. He thereby creates continuity from Baroque imagery to that of the 21st century, while at the same time creating a tension between the ideal of nature of the past and the contemporary concept of nature. Fundamental questions about the relationship between nature and culture arise. MORE HERE

7. Walking Through Walls


Exhibition 12 SEP 2019—19 JAN 2020
Opening 11 SEP 2019, 7pm

Jose Dávila, Untitled (Allure), 2014. Photo: Enrique Macías Martínez, Installation view of State of Rest at OMR

The thematic exhibition ›Walking Through Walls‹ presents a contemporary panorama of the artistic responses made to the detrimental effects of human-made barriers, divisions and walls, showcasing works by Jose Dávila, Mona Hatoum, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Christian Odzuck, Anri Sala, Regina Silveira, alongside many others. Acknowledging the location of the Gropius Bau alongside the former Berlin Wall, the exhibition offers a global perspective on the physical and psychological repercussions of coexisting in divided societies. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the exhibition is a timely exploration of how barriers can articulate feelings of vulnerability and anxiety, and represent individual and collective identities. MORE HERE

8. Garden of Earthly Delights


Exhibition 26 JUL—1 DEC 2019
Opening 25 JUL 2019, 7pm

Rashid Johnson Antoine’s Organ, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Garden of Earthly Delights provides a space for inspiration and critical reflection. In this large-scale group exhibition, artists including Pipilotti Rist, Rashid Johnson, Maria Thereza Alves, Uriel Orlow, Jumana Manna, Taro Shinoda and Heather Phillipson interpret the motif of the garden as a metaphor for the state of the world and as a poetic expression to explore the complexities of our increasingly precarious world. Their artworks open up a wider discourse on social, political and ecological phenomena, such as migration, gentrification and gender politics. In addition to common understanding of the garden as a place of yearning full of meditative, spiritual and philosophical possibilities, the exhibition will tread the line between reality and fantasy, harmony and chaos, beauty and exile. MORE HERE

9. The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue


Exhibition 14 SEP 2019—5 JAN 2020
Opening 13 SEP 2019, 7pm

Alexandra Bircken, Sara Deraedt, Gaylen Gerber, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Konrad Klapheck, Ghislaine Leung, Hans Christian Lotz, Senga Nengudi, Ana Pellicer, Christina Ramberg, Richard Rezac, Diane Simpson, Terre Thaemlitz, Kathleen White

Christina Ramberg, Tight Hipped, 1974, © the Estate of Christina Ramberg, Courtesy Sammlung Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, The Bill McClain Collection of Chicago Imagism

»Containing, restraining, reforming, hurting, compressing, binding, transforming a lumpy shape into a clean smooth line,« is how American artist Christina Ramberg (1946–1995) once described the drawings of corsets in her sketchbooks. Ramberg was one of the most intriguing painters to emerge within a generation of Chicago Imagists. She left a significant body of comic, formally elegant, erotically sinister paintings. Operating under the influences of Surrealism, her cropped torsi, sharply delineated and bound in bizarre variations of corsets, bandages, and textures exude an unnerving calm burdened with a conflicted desire. Ramberg’s understanding of the body as an environment that is closely intertwined with its surrounding, shaped by corsets, hairdos as well as behavioural conventions is central to the thesis of this exhibition that summons an analysis of conduct based on her approach as something constructed by the structures that externally and internally determine our existence. A selection of works by Christina Ramberg will form the core of the exhibition, alongside of which a group of other artistic positions will expand the conversation and extend the understanding of the type of framing devices that can be identified as having an impact on performance, behaviour and physical expression. (Curator: Anna Gritz). MORE HERE

10. original bauhaus. The centenary exhibition


Exhibition 6 SEP 2019–-27 JAN 2020
Opening 5 SEP 2019, 7pm

Sitzende mit Bühnenmaske von Oskar Schlemmer im Stahlrohrsessel von Marcel Breuer, um 1926. Photo: Erich Consemüller, Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin © Dr. Stephan Consemüller

Marking the centenary of the Bauhaus’s founding, the Bauhaus-Archiv/Museum für Gestaltung’s exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie is presenting famous, familiar and forgotten Bauhaus originals and recounting the history behind the objects: Who is the woman sitting on the tubular-steel chair? Does the Haus am Horn have a secret twin? Why have the tea infusers which were created as prototypes for industrial production always remained one-of-a-kind pieces? ›original bauhaus‹ sheds light on how unique work and series, remake and original are inseparably linked in the history of the Bauhaus. Around 700 exhibits will be on display: art and design from the Bauhaus-Archiv’s collection, exceptional loans from international collections and contemporary artistic positions. MORE HERE