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Something for the weekend: Gallery Weekend 2017

Gallery Weekend (Fri, Apr 28 to Sun, Apr 30) is back with a mind-boggling array of openings to choose from. Make sure to add these tips to your itinerary.

Image for Something for the weekend: Gallery Weekend 2017
Courtesy the artist Zanele Muholi, Wentrup, Berlin; Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York

From 6pm on Friday, April 28 until 7pm on Sunday, 47 galleries will throw open their doors for the 13th edition of Gallery Weekend. One of the highlights of the art year in Berlin, it’s a unique chance to see the best of what the scene has to offer, and all for free to boot! With such an embarrassment of artistic riches on offer, how can you possibly choose what to see? Here are a few highlights to start you off…

Sprüth Magers will open Gallery Weekend with a reception for Lucy Dodd’s exhibition Lake in the Sky. The New York artist was recognised as one of the rising stars of 2016, and this year looks set to continue the upward trajectory. She’s known for her large-scale paintings that resemble roiling seas and stormy skies, and for her almost alchemic use of organic materials like kombucha, spirulina, squid ink and dog urine. Though she’s been compared to the likes of Anselm Kiefer and Sigmar Polke, her work conveys a warmth and intimacy that the others lack. She also creates sculptures from macramé-style weavings of coloured string or fabric and metal or Plexiglas furniture frames, and the combination of her craft and painting styles has led reviewers to almost invariably call her work “witchcraft”. While you’re in Mitte, stroll over to parallel streets Auguststraße and Linienstraße, which are packed with galleries; don’t miss Olaf Nicolai at Eigen + Art, or Michel Majerus at Neugerriemschneider.

Over west at Wentrup, you can catch new work by South African photographer and LGBTQ “visual activist” Zanele Muholi, whose photos centre largely on the experiences of black homosexual women in her home country. She tries to carry Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s ideal of a South African “Rainbow Nation” beyond ideals of racial equality and coexistence to include notions of gender and sexuality. She became known for her portrait series Faces and Phases, but in the series on show at Wentrup, Somnyama Ngonyama (Zulu for “hail the black lioness”), she pulls a Cindy Sherman by stepping in front of the camera as her own model and taking on multiple identities.

Nearby Potse gallery Guido W. Baudach brings German veteran artist Jürgen Klauke to the mix with his show Bewegtes Ich. Klauke also uses staged photography to question ideas of gender and identity and frequently acts as his own subject by inhabiting a cast of sexually ambiguous characters. Though he’s best known for his photos, his oeuvre also includes drawing, painting, video and performance. Regardless of the medium, his focus is consistently on deconstructing the persona of the male artist. Specifics about the show hadn’t been released at time of writing, but we’ll go ahead and say you shouldn’t miss it.

If you’d prefer to play it by ear, many galleries will be kicking off multiple exhibitions across the weekend, and even an aimless meander will likely see you stumbling across something great. Whatever you do, just make sure to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity!

GALLERY WEEKEND APR 28-30 | Full programme at gallery-weekend-berlin.de