This year the Berlin Art Week is going to open for the second time. Founded after the end of the formerly biggest Art-fair „Kunstforum“, the Berlin Art Week brings institutions, Art Fairs and Berlin based galleries from the 17th to the 22nd of September together to create a „not to miss“ event for the international public.
After the (relatively sudden) start last year, the museums for contemporary art and other institutions open new exhibitions alongside the art fairs „Preview Berlin“ (70 international galleries + focus academy, see below) and „Art Berlin Contemporary“ (ABC – 130 international galleries, all presenting only one artist with one recent or even situational work). All gather together under this years main theme „Painting Forever“ and present contemporary painting in all its facettes. Alongside these major players there are simultaneously two other art fairs, the „Berliner Liste“ (international galleries and artists representing themselves) and „B.AGL“ (artists, projects, etc.), the latter really focusing on accessibility and taking in a way the niche of the „Berliner Kunstsalon“ that will not be held this year. Alltogether there might be up to 200 openings the next weeks, so it is a hell of a ride.
Beside of the theming (painting) and the possibility for the institutions to take their part in the action, the focus widened also for Berlin based communal galleries, projectspaces and initiatives. Notably this years prize of the Senate for „Art Spaces and Initiatives“ (after all 30.00 Euros for each winner, although in its second year) is given to seven artinitiatives during the Art-Week, which will – at least probably – boost the publicity for the rewarded spaces even more. Directly implemented into the Berlin Art Week is a curated Parcours of ten artspaces throughout the city (and this includes Marzahn deep in the former east and Moabit, a for some time more or less neglected quarter in the west), that really widens the art-geography of Berlin beyond Mitte and the gallery clusters around Friedrich- and Potsdamerstraße.
The jury that curated the parcours did not really made what you might call „brave choices“ but they succeeded in bringing a variety of Berlin based Spaces on the menu that might be neglected by the crowd otherwise, such as Autocenter (Projectspace, Mitte) and Galerie M (a communal gallery in Marzahn). Anyways: the projectspaces who really give Berlin its unique arty feeling do seemingly arrive in the brider public. Also in the focus this year: Art Schools. Next to the two Art School initiatives in the curated parcours (Kunsthalle Hamburger Platz and Humboldtforum) there is the special section „Focus academy“ in the art fair „Preview Berlin“ where graduates from six different art schools (Dresden, Offenbach, Halle, Weimar, Kiel, Ljubljana) present their works.
What not to miss:
Although everybody should really pick from this huge cake those cherries he or she likes, here some suggestions beyond the obvious fairs and museums:
Arte postale – Mailart exhibition in the academy of arts at Pariser Platz. Great and intimate overlook over the history and the possibilities of the genre, enriched by the recent project „Academy“ that was initiated by the academy of arts. Besides the treasures from the vast archives of the academy (next to mailart the older „artists letters“ that really wants you send something nice with the post again) there are stunning works of the collection „Staeck“ on show (Staeck initiated mail-art projects and ran an artists postcard printing house that does still exist). Arte postale is also your place to buy original postcards – all created by artists during mail art projects.
Keilrahmen – Exhibition at Kunstwerke berlin with over 70 artists who all lived in berlin at one time of their career. The curation follows the important question what painting today can be, what questions are debated in the medium and what it´s future might be.
Galerie M – In the joint venture exhibition „Exotica“ with the Kunstverein Tiergarten Nord, these two communal galleries follow the expression „exotic“ and try to put it into the contemporary context of globalisation. In any case a tour to Galerie M and into the concrete outskirts of the former eastern Berlin is an adventure in its own one should not miss.
After Year Zero – The Haus der Kulturen der Welt brings in „After Year zero“, that is after 1945, a perspective on the entanglement of western and african history in the process of decolonization, told through the eyes of art as well as through testimonials of all kind.
Upcoming Exhibitions – Implemented into the fair Art Berlin Contemporary, this project, initiated and curated by Shanaynay (Paris), 15 independent art spaces from all over the world will be presenting each a two-hour exhibition throughout the duration of the fair.
Well, now it´s time to wait for the 17th. That evening the Berlin Art Week starts at 7pm with a big – well we are in Berlin – Opening party on Auguststraße. See ya!