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Gallery Weekend

OUR PICKS: Forty galleries and 40 openings are an awful lot to choose from - so we've rounded up our favourites, from Michael Snow and Frida Kahlo to Damien Hirst and Michael Joo.

Image for Gallery Weekend
Slide from “Die Münze” (three-channel slide projection) by Mathew Hale, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Wentrup

For all the allure of avant-garde art, city-wide gallery hopping, unlimited air kissing and, if you’re lucky, a glass or two of free wine, the Gallery Weekend – Berlin’s annual three-day art bonanza (April 30-May 2) – can be a bit overwhelming. Forty galleries and 40 openings are an awful lot to choose from: here are our favourites…

Olafur Eliasson got the party off to an early start with Wednesday’s all-day vernissage at Martin-Gropius-Bau. His Innen Stadt Außen includes rooms of coloured “fog”, a 20m-high hall of mirrors and an electrical storm performed by a dancing hosepipe. At Wentrup, Mathew Hale is offering Wacht Schatz, an intriguingly obscure slide projection featuring newspaper images of Rosa Luxemburg’s corpse and commentary by Astrid Proll, who drove a getaway car for the Rote Armee Fraktion.

According to Michael Snow, the piano is a sculpture as much as it is an instrument: it’s all explained in Piano Sculpture And Sex at Galerie Klosterfelde. Meanwhile, Damien Hirst and Michael Joo are debating what to do about Knut at Haunch of Venison – pickling, pills or a bronze cast painted pink?

It isn’t just the art that’s new: local star Matthias Arndt launches his latest space (on Potsdamer Straße, this time) with a much-needed dose of optimism and me Collectors Room Berlin finally strips off its sex-shop-style red-and-white-plastic hoarding to reveal a café, a shop and a gallery displaying works from leading European private art collections. Also on the ‘classics’ front is Frida Kahlo. Her eviscerating work – what critics describe as “surrealism” was Kahlo‘s reality – hasn‘t been shown much here, but now Martin-Gropius-Bau’s mammoth exhibition issues a corrective, bringing together several unseen paintings, drawings and photographs provided by Kahlo’s family.

Let the games begin… And let us know if we’ve left any of your picks out!