Don’t miss out on seeing these hyped exhibitions before they close.
Machine Hallucinations: Nature Dreams
Worship data and nature at König with Refik Anadol
Refik Anadol’s mesmerising data sculpture has been made specifically for the vast nave of St. Agnes. Playing on a vast screen, rhythmic waves of balls and flowing vines reach beyond its perfectly rendered frame and splash out over the side before receding back. Viewers sit in front of it as if at a religious ceremony: legs crossed, in a kind of paralysis, worshipping at the LED marvel in this former church.
To produce the work the Turkish born artist applied machine learning algorithms on vast data sets. Some elements could be improved. Although any other fitting music is hard to imagine, it nevertheless sounds like an 80s synth soundtrack. Is the whole thing a bit naff too? An over-ambitious screensaver? Ultimately, the momentous scale keeps it immersive and utterly hypnotic. Outside the church in the night air, his work Winds of Berlin (based on real-time data collected from the city) is projected onto the church’s modernist steeple.
König Galerie Kreuzberg, through Dec 17
System Down? State of Affairs
Eight artists at Klemm’s on humanity vs the virus
Klemm’s gallery space has been transformed into a bureaucratic office with wall-to-wall grey carpeting and neatly arranged desks lined with computers. Here, you can sit down and watch the video works selected by guest curator Olaf Stüber. It’s excellently done and provides a suitably mundane setting to explore penetrating questions of human freedom, vulnerability and control. The show is impassioned and urgent, if a little unfocused. Corporations get a blasting, as does capitalism, nuclear energy and of course the human race and its endless self-serving systems.
Mikhail Karikis’ Ferocious Love imagines a future world without seasons and looks back at our (current) failure to work together. The almost comically downcast faces of its protagonists display the disappointment of future generations. The two parts of Omer Fast’s Her Face Was Covered, follows the story of a conflicted drone pilot attempting to describe his decision-making process as the smoking remains of a blackened body are hosed down. There’s a great deal to watch and Lucy Beech and Edward Tomasson’s uncomfortably funny performance piece Passive Aggressive re-enacts a perfectly realised summation of day-to-day office violence. Definitely worth a visit.
Klemm’s Kreuzberg, through Dec 18
The Cool and the Cold
Painting in the USA and the USSR 1960–1990
As much a postwar history lesson as an art exhibition, The Cool and the Cold provides an excellent chance to see some big-name US painters and some Russian ones you’ve probably never heard of. This is the first time US and Soviet Union painters have been deliberately juxtaposed and striking contrasts overlap with shared themes. The contrast is perhaps most pronounced in the 50s when the rigid cultural policies of the USSR restricted their artists to social realism and Jasper Johns was painting monumental works like Two Flags.
There’s a great deal (too much?) of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein’s work and each room is loosely arranged around themes or landmark events. On the whole the work of the American painters drips with irony and self-reflection, while the Soviets find a more subversive, muted, sombre humour. But there are exceptions: the startling triptych by Aleksandr Ishin of village revelry and the camp splendour of Jury Korolyov’s Cosmonauts. What emerges from the works being displayed side by side are often our own preconceived views on visual culture and the liberal values we attach to Western art. In the end, both powers were adept at using art as a tool for manipulation.
Gropius Bau Kreuzberg, through Jan 9