Berlin Art Week 2017, part I

Monica Bonvicini, Breathing, 2017 at Berlinische Galerie. Photo: Aida Lalúa
Monica Bonvicini, Breathing. Photo: Aida Lalúa

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Documenta in Athens and Kassel, Venice Biennale, Sculpture Project in Münster, 2017 has been a year of art superlatives. And as it could not be less, Berlin, the city that holds around a hundred commercial galleries and one of the biggest concentration of artists, has celebrated for the sixth time, its Berlin Art Week. From 13 to 17 September 2017, Berlin presented an overview of what is going on in contemporary art in the German capital, having said that, Berlin has marked the beginning of the new art season, the autumn season, the last quarter of this supreme art year.

The Berlin Art Week brings together a large number of events throughout the city, the program this year has been especially diverse: two art fairs featuring around 200 participating galleries, important solo and group shows, large-scale exhibitions and retrospectives, artist film festival, and new partners on performative arts: dance and theatre. The unique profile of Berlin Art Week results from the joint efforts of the partners —the fairs, the museums, art associations, private collectors, and project spaces. They coordinate a series of openings at institutions, project spaces, and private collections around the city.

Harun Farocki, Re-Pouring (2010). Installation view at n.b.k. Photo: María Munoz

This year, the art week also includes the highly anticipated new art fair, Art Berlin, co-managed by the city’s previous fair, art berlin contemporary (abc) and Koelnmesse, the company behind Art Cologne, Germany’s oldest, biggest and successful art fair. In this first part, we cover the above fair plus great format show by Monica Bonvicini at Berlinische Galerie and the retrospective of great filmmaker Harum Farocki at n.b.k. together with the rest of the film programs that had place the past week.

Below we start a tour by the new fair Art Berlin and major shows around the city.

Art Berlin Fair

The first-ever edition of Art Berlin, took place on September 14-17 at Station at Gleisdreieck, replacing the old abc in its same site. With a new name and a bigger team, this friendly takeover seems that have come to terms due to the scheduling clash last April between Art Cologne and Berlin Gallery Weekend —also organized by Berlin Art Week. The word “contemporary” has disappeared from the title of its predecessor, the new fair’s title, parroting Art Cologne also include galleries offering Modern art.

The four-day fair included 110 galleries from more than 16 different countries from which 60 of them —more than a half— are based in Berlin, but there are also exhibitors from the other side of the planet, like Roberto Paradise from Puerto Rico or Neon Parc from Australia.

Our highlights around the fair, grouped by medium

Figurative Drawing

Fernando Bryce at Barbara Thumm, Grace Weaver at Soy Capitán and Andreas Schmitten at König Galerie, all three galleries from Berlin.

Abstract Drawing

Ignacio Uriarte at Philipp von Rosen Galerie, Cologne and Carten Nicolai at Eigen+Art, Berlin/Leipzig.


Nasan Tur at Blain Southern, London/Berlin; Ulrich Gebert at Klemms, Tomas Sarraceno Studio at Esther Schipper, both galleries from Berlin.

Axel Hütte at Daniel Marzona, Andreas Greiner at Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Spiros Hadjidjanos at Future Gallery; all three galleries from Berlin.


Claudia Comte at König Galerie; Ai Weiwei at neugerrienschneider; Thomas Schutte at Carlier Gebauer and Louisa Clement at Wentrup; all galleries from Berlin.


Jonh Bock at Sprüth Magers, Berlin/LA/London; Lothar Hempel and Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs at Sies + Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf.

Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs at Sies + Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf; Awst Walther at PSM Gallery and Alexander Carver at Kraupa-Tuskany-Zeidler, both galleries Berlin.

Participative Installation

Christina Kubisch at Galerie Mazzoli and aaajiao (XU Wenkai) at Edmond Gallery; both galleries Berlin.

Objetual Sculpture

Olaf Nicolai at Eigen+Art, Berlin/Leipzing; Belu-Simion at Plan B and Yelena Popova at Philipp von Rosen Galerie, Cologne.

Neon – Warren Neidich

Warren Neidich at Barbara Seiler Galerie, Zürich

More neon at Helga Maria Klosterfelde editions

Helga Maria Klosterferde Editions

Tapestry – Goshka Macuga

Monetarily speaking…

Damien Hirst, Brian Eno and Pablo Genovés at Gallery Paul Stolper of London; Bern and Hilla Becher at Konrad Fischer, Berlin.

Artists Present in Venice Biennale 2017 y documenta14

Nevin Aladag, represented by Wentrup (Berlin) was present in this year Venice Biennale and documenta14 (Athens-Kassel); Maria Cahn represented by Meyer Riegger was present in documenta14 and Julian Charrière, represented by Dittrich & Schlechtreim was in the central exhibition Viva Arte Viva of the Venice Biennale.

Modern Art

Andy Wharhol and Roy Lichtenstein at Galerie Klaus Benden, Cologne and Opt art at Dierking, Zürich.

Great format exhibition

Monica Bonvicini: 3612,54 m³ vs 0,05 m³ at the Berlinische Galerie

For her solo presentation at the Berlinische Galerie Monica Bonvicini deals with the concept and function of the façade opens. The artist has produced a site-specific installation for the museum’s large exhibition hall. Because the Berlin exhibition runs in tandem with the 15th Istanbul Biennale, in which Bonvicini is also participating, the show is influenced by both Berlin and Istanbul and is said to feature elements of each major city. The show will be running till end of February 2018, being its last day February 26.


Waiting #1



Harun Farocki: By Other Means at n.b.k.

Farocki’s formidable career —in which he has produced over 100 experimental and documentaries, essays, shorts, and feature films— is presented in the first comprehensive retrospective in Germany, Mit Anderen Mitteln – By Other Means that opened its doors on Wednesday the 13th of September at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) and it will remain on display until the 28th of January, 2018. The collaborative exhibition is mounted across several venues in the city, partners Savvy Contemporary and Harun Farocki Institute at the Silent Green Kulturquartier are also showing two exhibitions and screenings at Kino Arsenal with an extensive film program.

n.b.k. deals with Farocki’s works which deal with the logic of cinema —films are quoted and their visual languages are analyzed— and they are presented as video installations together with archive material from the artist. For instance, On Construction of Griffith’ Films (2006) deals with the montage principles of the early films by D. W. Griffith, whereas the video installations: 5-channel War Tropes (2011) and 6-channel Feasting or Flying (2008) examine respectively the motif of the war film genre and of male suicide in fictional. Dubbing (2006) is dedicated to the effects of the translation of film. Presented in the entrance area, Re-Pouring (2010) is the only work in the exhibition not to quote cinema and deals with automated work processes and illustrates the concept of iteration by means of a robot.

By Other Means is the third part in a series of exhibitions dedicated to Harun Farocki conceived by Antje Ehmann —co-author in latest Farocki’s works and his wife— and the Spanish Carles Guerra, two of them already shown in Spain at the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern and Fundació Tàpies in Barcelona.

Daria Martin: A Hunger Artist at Schering Stiftung

The London-based artist Daria Martin presented her new film A Hunger Artist at Schering Stiftung, which can be visited till the 10th of December 10. Being described as Martin’s “most ambitious work to date” includes various themes as voyeurism, power relations, the surreal, the artist’s myth or body transformations which are brought together as an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story A Hunger Artist, from which the film borrows its title.

Artist Film Festival la > x

The artist film festival la > x, marking the 50th anniversary of Berlin and Los Angeles becoming sister cities, showed Californian artist films at Kino Arsenal with contributions by Edgar Arceneaux, John Baldessari, James Benning, Morgan Fisher, Sarah Morris, Jennifer West, and youngsters Alex Hubbard and Ryan Trecartin. The Festival provided free access to the audience on the big screen to artist films that are otherwise often only shown in galleries or at art fair booths.

Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub: Tell It to the Stones at AdK

The Akademie der Künste (AdK) held the exhibition Tell It to the Stones on the oeuvre of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, illuminating one of the most influential and controversial works of the modern cinema, always engaging with pre-existing material: texts by Höderlin, Kafka, Brecht, Pavese, or Malraux, the music of Bach and Schoenberg, or Cézanne’s paintings. A body of work that sometimes has been considered as hermetic today proves to be open and radically contemporary, the exhibition establishes links to current artistic positions.

Words: María Muñoz
Photos: Art Berlin Fair (c) Rubén Gónzalez Escudero. Opening Bonvicini (c) Aida Lalúa. Rest of pictures courtesy of Berlin Art Week and institutions, credits in every photo.

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