Jun 16 2020

What’s Up in Berlin: June–July 2020

by ArtAsiaPacific

Promotional poster for the mini-fair Messe in St.Agnes. Image via König Galerie‎’s Facebook.

Berlin’s shops, museums, and libraries reopened in early May, with cafes, pubs, and restaurants following suit over the past few weeks. Safety precautions remain in force, such as maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters from other people and wearing a face mask or covering in most public places. In response to Art Basel’s cancellation (it will hold an online version instead, like the Hong Kong edition in March), König Galerie is staging its own mini-fair in Berlin, Messe in St. Agnes. Other art organizations in the capital have likewise resumed activities. Here are some shows on our radar.

Installation view of JASMINA METWALY & YAZAN KHALILI’s “Mophradat’s Consortium Commissions,” at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2020. Photo by Frank Sperling. Courtesy the artists and Mophradat, Brussels.

Hassan Sharif: “I Am The Single Work Artist” / Jasmina Metwaly & Yazan Khalili: “Mophradat’s Consortium Commissions”

“I Am The Single Work Artist” is the first major retrospective of Hassan Sharif (1951–2016) in Europe, showcasing 150 of the Iranian-Emirati conceptual artist and critic’s creations, spanning early newsprint caricatures that reflect the United Arab Emirates’ shifting political climate of the 1970s, assemblages made from commonplace materials, as well as sculptural installations and performances. Concurrently on view is the first edition of Arab cultural organization Mophradat’s Consortium Commissions program. The exhibition presents Jasmina Metwaly’s three-channel video Anbar (2019), about a soldier, a tailor, and an activist filmmaker in the aftermath of the 2011 Egytian revolution, alongside Yazan Khalili’s video Medusa (2020), exploring the increasing prevalence of facial recognition technology.

AKINBODE AKINBIYI, Bar Beach, Victoria Island from Sea Never Dry series, 2006, photography taken in Lagos, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist. 

Lee Mingwei: “禮 Li, Gifts and Rituals” / Akinbode Akinbiyi: “Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air”

Lee Mingwei’s major European survey, “禮Li, Gifts and Rituals,” restages some of the conceptual artist’s best-known installations and performances from the past three decades, including the monumental Guernica in Sand (2006/20); The Mending Project (2009/20), where visitors have their clothing repaired on-site; and The Living Room (2000/20), a cosy space where “hosts” can share their treasured items with the public. Also on view is Akinbode Akinbiyi’s solo exhibition “Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air,” surveying the Berlin-based Nigerian photographer’s images of life in cities around the world, from Lagos to Chicago.

Installation view of ZHOU TAO’s Shān Zhī Běi (North of the Mountain), 2019, single-channel 4K DCI video with sound: 76 min 21 sec, at “Winter North Summer South,” Times Art Center, Berlin, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Times Art Center.

Zhou Tao: “Winter North Summer South”

Times Art Center

Feb 15–Aug 1

Zhou Tao’s “Winter North Summer South” draws on his two years of research in the Gobi desert. The titular photographic series depicts both organic and artificial territories, traversing construction sites and mine pits, as well as the region’s plants and animals, illustrating the complex interpenetration of humankind and nature. Also on display is the single-channel video North of the Mountain (2019), filmed at the foot of the Kunlun Mountains. 

Detailed installation view of NATASCHA SADR HAGHIGHIAN’s passing one loop into another, 2020, EUR-pallet, spools of thread, fleece, tablets with mounts, insect model, animation loop, dimensions variable, at “passing one loop through another,” Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, 2020. Photo by Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. 

Natascha Sadr Haghighian: “passing one loop through another”

Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s installation passing one loop into another (2017) depicts a large-scale model of an Asian tiger mosquito on top of a pallet of yarn reels, referencing the intersection of pestilence, global trade, and ecology. Recognized for her open-ended works spanning performance, text, and sound, Haghighian shows the interdependencies underlying politics, industry, and technology, this time encapsulated in the figure of this insect.

Installation view of ISAAC CHONG WAI’s 114 lines in blue, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 60 × 50 cm, at “Recurrence,” Zilberman Gallery, Berlin, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul / Berlin.


Zilberman Gallery 

Jun 26–Aug 29

Curated by Lotte Laub, the group exhibition assembles works by Isaac Chong Wai, Elmas Deniz, and Simon Wachsmuth inspired in various ways by the 19th century and its ideals of human progress. Wachsmuth’s installation of black-and-white aluminum poles allude to both the language of geometric abstraction and the concept of measuring progress, while Chong’s Line Series (2019) of sky-blue paintings depicting abstracted grilles of prison cells conflate liberation and entrapment. 

Installation view of AXEL GEIS’s Harlekin, 2019, oil on canvas, 210 × 130 cm, at “Zoom In Zoom Out,” Wentrup, Berlin, 2020. Courtesy Wentrup.

“Zoom In Zoom Out”


May 7–Jul 18

“Zoom In Zoom Out” features a range of paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works by 16 artists in Wentrup’s stable. Exhibits include Gregor Hildebrandt’s abstract composition please don’t fall in (P//R) (2020), utilizing cut vinyl records; Peles Empire’s YU (2020) series of glazed-ceramic and rope sculptures; and Nevin Aladağ’s Social Fabric, blue breeze (2020), one of her signature patchworked textile wall works made from fragments of carpet.

Installation view of GEORGES ADÉAGBO’s “L’Abécédaire de Georges Adéagbo: la civilisation parlant et faisant voir la culture”..!, 2020, mixed media, 245 × 440 × 30 cm, at Barbara Wein, Berlin, 2020. Photo by Nick Ash. Courtesy Barbara Wein.

Georges Adéagbo

Barbara Wien

Feb 8–Aug 1

The Beninese sculptor’s second solo exhibition at the gallery features assemblages of printed matter, artifacts, and miscellany collected in Benin and Berlin. These materials are pinned to the walls or carefully laid out on the floor, accompanied by annotations. Adéagbo’s archive of found and recreated objects explores the processes of cultural transfer and the global circulation of art.

Installation view of GOUTAM GHOSH’s Untitled, 2018, pastel, gouache and cotton textile glued on plywood, 122 × 183 × 0.6 cm, at  Photo by Vegard Kleven. Courtesy the artist and Standard (Oslo).

Goutam Ghosh

Tanya Leighton

Jun 16–Aug 1

Tanya Leighton is hosting a solo exhibition of works by Indian artist Goutam Ghosh, known for his painted abstractions that showcase a spare yet striking use of color—which the artist often mixes himself—and that combine references to Indian culture as well as Western minimalist concepts such as the form of the grid.

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