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7 Must-See Shows at Berlin Gallery Weekend

It’s like an art fair, only way more spacious (and way less painful).
Aleksandra Domanović, Substances of Human Origin (2015). Photo courtesy of the Varon Collection, Monaco.

One weekend each April, galleries up and down Potsdamer Straße (and beyond) collectively tap their best artists, extend their hours, and stay open on Sunday, all in the name of promoting the cooperative Berlin art market. They call it Gallery Weekend Berlin, and this year, it takes place from April 29 until May 1. International collectors and art aficionados Uber around the city for a weekend trying to see it all, since they won’t be back in Berlin until mid-September for abc art berlin contemporary, Gallery Weekend’s sister event.


In true Berlin style, few of the exhibitions yet have press releases, or really any information beyond the rare photograph. So, I did my best to speculate on what seem like the most exciting and worthwhile Gallery Weekend exhibitions.

Petra Cortright at Societé

Petra Cortright, Bridal Shower (2013). Photo courtesy the artist and Societé, Berlin.

Societé posts very little information on their website, so there’s little to know about Petra Cortright’s show—except what her studio told us, which is that the show is called Die Rose. (In German, that means “the rose” and not “die, Rose.”) The coupling of the internet artist with what might be the most esoteric gallery in Berlin is sure to pique the interest of lovers of immaterial, logged-in works.

Thea Djordjadze at Sprüth Magers

Djordjadze is fairly well-known in Berlin, especially compared to New York, where she’s only now gotten her first solo show, at MoMA PS1. She studied under the prolific German artist Rosemarie Trockel, and has since carved a name for herself with her minimal, functional design-inspired, sometimes surreal sculpture.

Tomás Saraceno at Esther Schipper

Tomás Saraceno, Solitary semi-social mapping of SXDF- NB1006-2 by one Nephila clavipes – one week, one Tegenaria domestica – eight weeks and a pair of Cyrtophora citricola – one week (2015). Photo courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin, © Studio Saraceno

The artist’s second show with Esther Schipper, a champion gallerist of conceptual art in Berlin, Aerocene conceptually builds upon Saraceno’s earlier work, Cloud Cities, a project that imagines a utopia structured after cloud formations, soap bubbles, and spider webs. The exhibition will kick off with a spider concert to celebrate the new works, which are made of spider silk and ink on paper.


Aleksandra Domanović at Tanya Leighton

The winner of the 2014/2015 ars viva prize, Domanović is interested in the de- and re-contextualization of images—like these sculptures of American celebrities in former Yugoslavian Republics. Her work also probes into the ways citizens heal from traumas of collective memory, like 2010’s 19:30, a juxtaposition of the former Yugoslavian evening news with a different kind of collective experience: techno raves. Her Gallery Weekend show is called Bulls without Horns, and will expand on her research-based practice to look at how animals have helped to shape human understanding, “From Archaic Greece into the Anthropocene present.”

Rachel Harrison at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler

KTZ’s location in a full-on, fluorescently lit office building is either an example of Berlin creatives’ ability to reuse and repurpose spaces, or the most post-internet "office aesthetic" joke ever. For Gallery Weekend, they will show American artist Rachel Harrison’s American Gothic, a sculpture made using a cast of a Native American bust she bought on e-Bay.

Wolfgang Tillmans at Galerie Buchholz

Wolfgang Tillmans, Studio Still Life, A (2013). Photo courtesy of Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne

Besides extending the hours of Between Bridges, Tillmans’ gallery turned into a forum to discuss and plan how to help the European refugee crisis. During Berlin Gallery Weekend, the artist will also have his 12th solo show at Galerie Buchholz. Entitled Studio, the show will examine the artist’s relationship with the place in which he works.


Carsten Nicolai, Galerie Eigen + Art

Galerie Eigen + Art will present Nicolai’s reflektor distortion. The multidisciplinary artist, who produces sound under the name alva noto and founded the “archive for sound and not sound,” Raster-Noton, works scientifically to find systems of making sound visually accessible.This installation will include a rotating bowl of water hit with sound frequencies, dealing with themes of reflection, distortion, and interference.

Tobias Zielony and Hiwa K at KOW

Hiwa K, This Lemon Tastes of Apple, (2011). © Hiwa KPhoto courtesy of Hiwa K and KOW, Berlin

KOW is a Berlin standout for its consistently international and political focus, and for their continuous support of documentary-leaning video works. Perhaps one of the only galleries with a written, coherent, and helpful press release as of the day of writing, the gallery’s words on the joint exhibition of Tobias Zielony and Hiwa K  speak for themselves:

“Acting unexpectedly, becoming an unscheduled political subject, contradicting the public narratives and regimes of visibility that make some voices sound legitimate and others not—this is what KOW’s solo exhibitions of Hiwa K and Tobias Zielony are about. More specifically both artists step into moments called 'crisis,' trace places and events of political upheaval and repression, and connect to involved people, stories and bodies.”

Find out more about Berlin Gallery Weekend here.


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