The Capital's Art Scene Shines
With the annual Berlin Art Week this month, Hilda Hoy explores the rich creative offerings of Berlin and charts the best places to admire some art.
Admire the rich creative offerings of the city during Berlin Art Week. BY HILDA HOY
Artists love Berlin, and Berlin loves art. With a relatively low cost of living, a permissive, laissez-faire attitude, and healthy public funding of the arts, the capital has long been a destination for artists and art-lovers of all stripes. Creativity – and an appreciation for it – has thrived here for many generations, leaving behind a robust legacy of museums, galleries, and private collections that easily ranks among the best in the Western world.
Every fall, Berlin Art Week (15-20 September) capitalizes on this reputation with not one but two art fairs that draw artists, gallerists, collectors, and art enthusiasts to discover what the local scene has to offer. Both celebrations are open to the public and provide an overview of current art trends as well as a behind-thescenes peek of the art market. The first of these fairs, abc – art berlin contemporary (www.artberlincontemporary.com), takes place 17–20 September at STATION Berlin, where high-powered galleries from around the world unveil the creative masterpieces of their best and brightest artists. Whether you’re an ardent collector looking for your next must-have painting or merely a curious fan, abc offers a diverse concentration of contemporary art under one roof.
The smaller Positions Berlin (www. positions.de) is poised to make its second
foray at Berlin Art Week. Founder Kristian Jarmuschek, himself a local gallerist, introduced the upstart fair last year in an attempt to break abc’s monopoly, citing his belief that diversity and breadth can only benefit the Berlin art scene. Similarly to abc, Positions brings together local and international galleries to present their most cutting-edge offerings, which come together at the spacious Arena (p. 56) venue in Kreuzberg.
In addition to the two art fairs, a number of special Berlin Art Week exhibitions, performances, and artist talks are also held in galleries, museums, and project spaces across the city. Not to be missed is
ExtendedReality, a solo show by daring conceptual artist Alicja Kwade, opening on 18 September at Haus am Waldsee (p. 44). Represented by the very respected Galerie Johann König, the Berlin-based artist is renowned for her sculptural installations that question the nature of reality and the systems of order we rely upon. Also on Art Week’s program is STADT/
BILD(ImageofaCity), an expansive exhibition taking place across four different venues. Don’t miss the perspectives
on urbanism captured at Deutsche
Bank KunstHalle’s (p. 44) STADT/ BILD.Xenopolis, which presents the city as a living organism independent of its residents. The KW Institute for
Contemporary Art (p. 44), meanwhile, has titled its contribution to the four-part exhibition WelcometotheJungle. From indoor swimming pools in Japan to bowling alleys in Berlin, the show’s works explore imaginary, subconscious places that exist beyond the tangible city we can control. Both shows open 15 September.
The recipient of the renowned Käthe
Clockwise from left: A scene from the 2014 Berlin Art Week, a photo collage by Dieter Urbach, an event from last year's Berlin Art Week, Mwangi Hutter's FieldofJoy (2015) at Deutsche Bank KunstHalle's Xenopolis exhibit, Alicja Kwade's TheoretischesGebildeI
(TheoreticalStructureI), Engelbert Kremser's unrealized design for the Europa-Center.