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Berlin Art Week 2022: What to see, where to see it

Five days of non-stop art. The only drawback is deciding what to see and what to miss out on. Berlin Art Week 2022 is a city-wide collaboration which includes most of Berlin’s major institutions, from international museums like the Neue Nationalgalerie to small project spaces like Die Möglichkeit einer Insel.

Mona Hatoum has work showing at three separate locations. Photo: Khaoula Sharjah

Here we go. Berlin Art Week is one of the city’s busiest cultural events, and it comes teeming with performances and openings (which we’ll round up below) but if you’ve not got time for all that: here is a mini-list of tips, one for each day:

  • Wednesday: Check out the performance #PLZKILLME at hipster hangout TV Bar
  • Thursday: Isaac Chong Wai meets Käthe Kollwitz’s famous woodcut Die Mütter at Klosterruine Berlin
  • Friday: Tosh Basco will be dancing on the ruins of history in a performance at Gropius Bau
  • Saturday: Head out to Lichtenberg for the Summer party at the Haubrok Collection
  • Sunday: It’s Open House at the Boros Collection

Queerness in Photography

© Walter Pfeiffer / Courtesy the artist und Art+Commerce

The consistently excellent C/O Berlin puts on three exhibitions in one, all of them celebrating the complexity and variety of queer photography.

The beloved British actor Tilda Swinton curates a show featuring a host of contemporary photographers. Another, titled Undercover: A Secret History of Cross-Dressers, draws from the collection of the French director, Sébastien Lifshitz, and traces the fascinating history of cross dressing from the 1880s to the turn of the millennium. The final show might even be the most exciting: featuring work from the collection of the great shapeshifter herself, Cindy Sherman.

  • C/O Berlin
  • Sep 17, 2022 – Jan 18, 2023

KW on location: Rachel Rossin THE MAW OF

Rachel Rossin, THE MAW OF (2022) © Rachel Rossin

A pioneer of virtual reality, the American artist and self-taught programmer Rachel Rossin combines sculpture, painting and multimedia in a dizzying blend of digital landscapes that will address technology’s effect on human psychology. This work will be available online using augmented reality with your phone and offline at the Tieranatomisches Theater where 3D virtual reality environments will have visitors chasing avatars in a rendering of the body’s nervous system.

  • Tieranatomisches Theatre, Philippstraße 13 (Campus Nord, Haus 3, 10115 Berlin)
  • 15 – 18 September 22

On Caring, Repairing and Healing*

Mohamed Bourouissa: „The Whispering of Ghosts“ (still), 2018, Video, 13min 15sec)

The pandemic touched all of our lives, but it is worth remembering that one of its most insidious effects was that it deepened inequalities that already existed: minorities, women and indigenous people were among the hardest hit. So a show about repair and healing is very welcome. Stretching over the entire ground floor of the Gropius Bau, this show will feature work from over 20 artists and draw from indigenous First Nations people to challenge changing notions of disability. With an excellent group of curators behind it, such as Kadia Attia and Natasha Ginwala, you can expect to see a global understanding of the connection between mental health and the legacy of colonialism and oppression.

  • Gropius Bau
  • 16 September 2022 to 15 January 2023

LAS: Life After Bob

Ian Cheng: Life After BOB: The Chalice Study, Real-time story and Simulation, Sound, 50min © 2021 Ian Cheng.

What if we let artificial intelligence make our most important life decisions? Life After Bob imagines a future where the minds of humans are co-habited by AI entities. In the Halle am Berghain, Berlin-based art foundation LAS presents the first in a planned eight part series by Ian Cheng, raising questions of free will in an algorithm-determined future. 

  • Halle am Berghain
  • 9 Sept – 6 Nov 2022

Mona Hatoum

© Mona Hatoum. Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris

Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents, when Mona Hatoum travelled to London for a short tip in 1975, civil war broke out in Lebanon and she was not allowed to return to her homeland. You can still sense a distinct note of unrest and disquiet running though her work. During Berlin Art Week, three different galleries will show her work. Video recording of performances will be on display at the George Kolbe museum, while the Neue Berliner Kunstverein and Kindl in Neukölln will also feature Hatoum’s work. 

  • Georg-Kolbe-Museum Sensburger Allee 25, Charlottenburg,
  • Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) Chausseestr. 128/ 129, Mitte
  • Kindl-Zentrum Am Sudhaus 3, Neukölln

Women’s History Museum: The Massive Disposal of Experience

Photo: The Massive Disposal of Experience

Consumerism, commerce and shopping are central to the show at the Women’s History Museum. The Massive Disposal of Experience is a film set in the near-future where Experience – the main character – sells vintage clothes. Created by a female duo, this work seeks to challenge the power structures within contemporary society, showing how fashion is simultaneously more disposable and more fetishised than ever.

  • CCA Berlin – Center for Contemporary Arts
  • September 14, 2022 — October 15, 2022

Schering Stiftung – Jenna Sutela: Stellar Nursery

Photo: Jenna Sutela: Milky Ways, 2022, video still. A project in collaboration with Primer

Stellar Nursery is the first Berlin solo exhibition by Finnish artist Jenna Sutela, whose latest work is all about the bizarre, almost supernatural properties of human milk. An artist whose practice intersects with scientific research, Sutela is showing installations called “HMO Nutrix” (2022) and “Milky Ways” (2022), both of which take viewers on a journey through the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem a property of mother’s milk whose effects are still being fully understood. 

  • Projektraum für Kunst und Wissenschaft
  • September 15, 2022 — November 27, 2022

Wilhelm Hallen: Reinickendorf Rules

Berlin Art Week 2021 in Wilhelm Hallen. Photo: Wilhelm Hallen

For eight days, 15 Berlin galleries, including ChertLüdde, Efremidis, Esther Schipper, PSM, Soy Capitán, Sprüth Magers as well as Klosterfelde and Sweetwater, will show works by their artists in a joint, curated group show. This kaleidoscopic view of Berlin’s art scene is an essential part of Berlin art week, and visitors need not be put off by the the location: the S-Bahn stops almost in front of the door and there is a café on the premises.

  • Wilhelm Hallen
  • September 10, 2022 — September 18, 2022

Palais Populaire: Lu Yang

LuYang, video still from: DOKU the Matrix, 2022 Photo: © LuYang

It’s hard to tell if Lu Yang’s works are meant to display a digital trans-human paradise, or a decentralised dystopian nightmare. Born in Shanghai, Lu Yang is one of Asia’s most important contemporary artists – and was awarded Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year for 2022. In these works, she has created a gender neutral digital avatar whose expressions are modelled on the artists own face, raising questions of what it means to be human and tying together techno-utopian dreams with ancient Buddhist and Hindu thought.  

  • Palais Populaire Unter den Linden 5, Mitte

Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi: Ed Atkins

Photo: Courtesy of Finnish National Gallery and Petri Virtanen

Berlin Art Week will see the premiere of Sorcerer, a feature length film by the British contemporary artist Ed Atkins at Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi. Written during the pandemic, the work deals with the tension between the pleasures and anxieties inherent in being with others and in being alone. To view the film, visitors will need to book a slow on the gallery’s website.  

  • Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Schöneberger Ufer 61, 10785 Berlin

Positions Art Fair

Photo: Positions Berlin Art Fair, 2021

Housed in the enormous hangars of Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport, Positions Berlin Art Fair presents its ninth edition. But this is not just a great opportunity to explore one the city’s architectural marvels, it will also see 88 international galleries from 20 countries set out their stall of contemporary art. Various talk and special events will take place throughout the week. For more information, head here.

  • Flughafen Tempelhof, Hangar 5-6, Tempelhofer Damm 45, 12101 Berlin