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The art world’s rhythm at present could be likened to a Kundalini style yogic fire-breathing class, the same people, same rooms, all short of breath and in a trance-like frenzy as they roamed from Hong Kong to Cologne, to Berlin and then to Venice. Alas, that's what the art world does best, it performs accelerated viewing as a cultural meditation, and one must be utterly present and somewhat flexible to keep up. Saying that Berlin is potentially the calm moment in the class, where the yogi can reflect and watch the energy unfold. As a city, Berlin offers an understated but never easily graspable art scene. The art world there is as varied as its history and its geographical, cultural setting spreads over several districts which are generally located by generation, political mindset, and spiritual economy.

So here is a breakdown of the unmissable asanas of this chaotic urban retreat, remember to stay hydrated after viewing and ever mindful. Also no need to feel overwhelmed, remember all the information is listed in our app, along with Alerts for events, performances, screenings and after hours. Just like Headspace, we keep you connected to the core.

Signe Pierce: Uploading My Consciousness Into Unreality, 2018. Courtesy EIGEN+ART Lab

Starting off this inner-city Gallery Weekend haven on Wednesday night was a performance by Signe Pierce at EIGEN+ART Lab. The American artist meshes performance, photography, and installation together to form a modern-day conjuring of kitsch, meta-mirrorism, and hyper-realities. Exploring the digital, trauma and identity inside an it-girl persona, her work is a Ballardian mash-up that one literally can’t stop watching with its epic soundscapes and oddly emotional discourse. Pierce is shown alongside Martin Eder (in the main gallery location) a German painter who also explores tropes of the female inside hallucinogenic dream-like states. You can easily find overlapping symbols and motifs in both Pierce’s and Eder’s work even though they are coming from entirely different socio-spaces – a refreshing curatorial experiment of sipping two brands of Kool-aid to taste test the difference.

Ryan Gander: I... I... I…, 2019. Courtesy Esther Schipper, photo: @estherschipperberlin

EIGEN+ART is not the only gallery to be exhibiting the surreal this year, as Isabella Bortolozzi opens a solo show from Veit Laurent Kurz pulling the viewer into another shade of their imagined artificial biospheres complete with horror and awe effects. Esther Schipper also treads the path of an alternative symbolic world with works from Ryan Gander. In “Some Other Life” the artist offers us his quintessential room with a screened view, yet this time with a new iteration of his recent animatronic mice. Complete with a speech delivered by his nine-year-old daughter who stutters and struggles not quite knowing where to start or what exactly to say, a status not totally unheard of in contemporary art.

Horse and Pony coincidentally also follows by example opening a group show on Sunday called “Cloak of Mercy” curated by Christina Gigliotti with Claude Eigan, Julian Jakob Kneer, Lauryn Youden and Anni Puolakka amongst others explore glitches and daggers inside virtual and crafted worlds of their own making. Similarly but in a more explorative scope, Kreuzberg Pavillon opens a solo show with Art Ashram (Nelli David, Klara Adam, Max Kubitschek, Markus Zimmermann, Florian Dietrich) who work collectively to uncube the space leaving remnants that are constantly negotiated by the participants of the show to propose “supra-individual” artistic workloads that are constantly in flux. These contemporary ventures into the hypnagogic are very engaging to view after visiting Schinkel Pavillon’s latest exhibition curated by Nina Pohl who has tapped into the vast scale of Feminism and its complementary counterpart practices; witchcraft, Afrofuturism, domination, submission, and individualism. Pohl has selected a challenging array of artists that on the first encounter make the viewers head spin. But after viewing the vast array from artists like Leigh Ledare, Diamond Stingily, Tim Rollins & K.O.S., Eva Hesse, The Guerrilla Girls and Lynda Benglis that are hung a breath width apart from each other. As if they are clinging together in some hot tête-à-tête, an urgency begins to appear from this collection of makers to the viewer, one that is still as contemporary as the day these works materialized. One that denies the rational and clings to the communal. The curatorial hanging of “Straying from the Line” is definitely maximalism, allowing for human nature to reek its position unashamedly.

Straying from the Line (exhibition view). Courtesy Schinkel Pavillon, photo: @schinkelpavillon

Adding another vein to the feminist discourse this year is Elizabeth Jaeger at Klemm's who works typically with three-dimensional casts that explore the female body and its tropes. Her working space sways between the autobiographical and political phenomena at large. Another artist who deals with these narratives is the German-born mixed-media artist Josephine Meckseper who will be presented at Grzegorski Shows. Meckseper work is hard-edged, lush and evocative she normally uses commercial forms of presentation such as vitrines, window displays, and magazines to demonstrate the voice of consumerism inside society. But she is no pop art provocateur, using her own unique language she melds together the aesthetics of modernism with artifacts of historical positions and political protest movements unleashing a stark landscape of the collective unconscious and all its emotional baggage. It seems on paper to be a year that a lot of galleries are hitting back at the stereotypical male represented weekend.

Josephine Meckseper – tu nichts gut (exhibition view). Courtesy Grzegorski Shows

Another surprising gesture this Gallery Weekend is from the photographer, Larry Clark is best known for his controversial teen movie Kids and photography book Tulsa. He will present a series of his photographs and be selling the originals for 100 Euro each at a relatively small gallery in Neukölln called Retramp. He states “The sale is for people who come to my shows in thousands and could never afford 10 to 15,000 dollars for a print,” he adds “This is a payback to all the skate rats and collectors who would like a souvenir so I can die happy.”

It’s refreshing to see so many shows in Berlin, reconnecting with their roots and subcultural positions be it from a contemporary or historical point of view a lot of the exhibitions promise uncompromising emotive politics, including PS120 with their new show “Innocence” which is listed as an exhibition made up of spoken and sound performances with a quote on Facebook addressing the viewer with the words “Composure is the least innocent of all virtues.” from Adam Phillips – curious right?

majerus wool warhol…“cold beer” the “smudge tool” and other short stories (exhibition view). Courtesy Michel Majerus Estate, photo: Jens Ziehe

This year’s energizing notion of the previously mentioned exhibitions is due to their lack of interest in vanilla sale-ables. There is something unquantifiable raw and difficult in all the works, they are niche and require a niche eye, not some junk space contact lens to be able to view them. They also promise to become timeless regardless of their “date created stamp” due to their community rhetoric and pointed candor. One can also see this in the newly opened exhibition at the Michel Majerus Estate which exhibits works that have never been shown before by both Michel Majerus and Christopher Wool alongside Andy Warhol (which they both collected). Their cross-referencing sentimental posting of each other in their own work shows us an inspiration ally is far superior to being a lonely genius even as a painter ;-) You can also catch Majerus at the Boros Collection which is open to the public all weekend, without having to reserve a spot – the waiting list is typically two months.

David Renggli: Desire Painting. Signatura Go Out Primo, 2019; Florian Meisenberg: Egyptian Haikus & 3d Printed Magnolias VG BILDKUNST & Das Wichtigste in Kürze (...). Courtesy Wentrup

Speaking of painting, Gallery Weekend wouldn’t be the same without it. This year’s framed unmissables are hanging at the new location of Wentrup in Charlottenburg. Where they will present the fluoro semi-realistic pop classics of both Florian Meisenberg and David Renggli. Neugerriemschneider will showcase another pop-pioneer Thomas Bayrle and Tanya Leighton could arguably be showing the contemporary version by presenting the smoking, geometrics of Math Bass. Interestingly Max Hetzler will show the multi-disciplinary monochrome dadaist artist Adam Pendleton this year and for the first time have dropped out of the official Gallery Weekend program – I’m sure you have your own thoughts on that which will spill out on free beer slurs post-6 pm Friday.

Clegg & Guttmann: Cardinal Red (Collaboration with Franz Erhard Walther), 1993. Courtesy KOW

But as for the official program, do not miss Sol Calero at ChertLüdde whose central theme is her grandmother’s archived newspaper articles, which she used as painting material as a young girl. In this iteration, she again picks up the unfinished works anew and transforms the entire room into a painting in which the visitors traverse through her own past, present and potential future in a dizzying way, which is Calero signature style. Also unmissable is Camille Henrot at König Gallery, she interplays dominance and submission whilst examining her own film Tuesday which is shot almost entirely in slow motion and interweaves footage of pre-training and post-training racehorses with scenes of Brazilian jiu-jitsu figures. The latter is an interesting verse when viewed alongside KOW’s exhibition from the Israeli-American artist duo Clegg & Guttmann and Franz Erhard Walther this show also marks the inauguration to their new space now located in Kreuzberg the former space of Konrad Fischer. What draws all these artists together is their decades of collective research of contemplating the rules spoken and unspoken of modern societies and their civilizations. They all reveal certain deformities and hybrids of culture that are only noticeable to the human eye when extracted and exhibited in the white cube. This year's Gallery Weekend promises to be very thoughtful and provoking as far as discussing political phenomena and also offering a space for diverse voices beyond the booth-ed systems that are generally at play when the collectors come to town.

Namaste
The Exhibitionary Team

PS Don’t forget to touch base with us for Venice, we will be delivering to you all the insider tips right into your handset. Keep breathing… you can check out pre-planning tips for Venice already now in our app or on our website.

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