“We have art in order not to die of the truth.”
With so much turmoil in the world, the words of Friedrich Nietzsche seem particularly relevant at the moment. Berlin is teeming with art happenings this February that range from the playful, to the conceptual and insightful. Contemplating subjects ranging from science to gender politics, the work is engaging and critical. Check out these events for a meaningful reflection on contemporary culture.
Kicking off with a three-day festival, the annual transmediale is celebrating its 30th anniversary under the title ‘Ever Elusive’. Exhibitions will continue for an entire month, taking a critical artistic lens to culture, politics, and technology. The festival asks us to rethink our relationship with technology and question the interplay between media and culture.
This year, transmediale ‘Ever Elusive’ is focusing on the elusive role of media and agency in contemporary culture. Experimental and cross-disciplinary are just a few ways to describe the range of art that the festival will showcase this month. The programme for opening night alone includes a group exhibition, reading, video installation, and performance. Turn up for the opening and prepare yourself for a night of radical contemporary art.
The Weekends is an exciting programme of performances, film screenings, and lectures put together by KW and running until the end of May. Two of the events are on in February with fresh and unique concepts.
Weekend #3 presents a collaboration between two artists in the form of a performance. Musician and performance artist Nils Bech will perform songs while interacting with sculptures by the artist Ida Ekblad. This cross-disciplinary collaboration proposes new forms of storytelling and artistic expression.
Weekend #4 is a screening of a series of conceptual artist Adam Pendleton’s filmic portraits. Each short film features a conversation between Pendleton and an artist. His work expresses the impossibility of true representation – a person’s essence cannot be captured on film. After the screening at the BABYLON cinema, the artist will have a conversation about his work with Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
An artist’s inspiration comes from many sources, but it often arises from other artists. The Schinkel Pavillon’s latest exhibition showcases this phenomenon with an installation of work by Jason Dodge that was conceived in connection with Paul Thek (1933 – 1988). Thek’s drawings will be presented alongside Dodge’s work, highlighting the ways in which artists inspire one another to create.
Dodge, an American living and working in Berlin, is known to be conceptual and mysterious. His work typically consists of seemingly-mundane objects – such as a pillow or bag of groceries – with a thought-provoking title. For example, a yellow pillow with the title: ‘The Mayor is Sleeping: A pillow that has only been slept on by the mayor of Nuremberg’. In this way, the viewer interprets and imparts meaning onto the objects, which then act as conductors for our imagination. With this in mind, we are waiting to see what Dodge presents at Schinkel Pavillon, drawing meaning from Thek and perhaps repatriating it into a curious installation of objects.
Art, nature, and science are shown to be intertwined in this group exhibition. Featuring 38 works by 28 artists, Jaguars and Electric Eels questions the relationship between nature and artificiality. The artists delve into various explorations of this theme with multimedia works that blur the line between science and art. Inspired by the expeditions of Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), this exhibition is an investigation into the scientific jungle – without the mosquito bites!
It’s time for the 67th Berlinale and we’re thrilled! While the Berlinale is showing films in cinemas across the city, you may not have known is that there is an extension of the Berlinale happening at the Akademie der Künste. Forum and Forum Expanded are a series of film screenings, discussions, performances, and a group exhibition in cooperation with the Berlin International Film Festival 2017. The group exhibition opens on February 8th, one day before the open of the Berlinale. With 44 artistic works, 28 films, 15 installations and a performance, this extension of the festival is worth checking out.
Rubber breasts dripping with ice-cream or stuffed into a cage are just a few of the images you’ll encounter at this exhibition. An exploration of the feminine, the multimedia solo show examines concepts of objectification, social norms, and desire. Featuring photographs and a short film, Annique Delphine explores the ways in which images and objects can be arranged to “reclaim the feminine”. We’re looking forward to a titillating show!
Watching You, Watching Me: A Photographic Response to Surveillance
Museum fur Fotografie
Opening: February 16th | 19:00
Exhibition runs: February 17th – July 2nd, 2017
Big brother, big data, and privacy rights are on everyone’s minds right now. In keeping with the turbulent times, this exhibition questions the role that photography plays in issues of privacy and fundamental rights. While photography is often used as a monitoring tool, it can also be used in subversive ways to challenge institutions of surveillance. Watching You, Watching Me features ten artists with different approaches, each provoking us to consider the ways in which we are being monitored and what the consequences of surveillance are.
Adrian Piper. The Probable Trust Registry: The Rules of the Game #1-3
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart
Exhibition runs: February 24th – September 3rd, 2017
We’re beside ourselves with anticipation for the latest exhibition by Adrian Piper. Legendary American conceptual artist and philosopher, Piper’s work is known to deal a brutally honest critique of social constructs, questioning race, ostracism, and otherness. Piper is the first female African-American philosophy professor to receive academic tenure in the United States and she has constantly challenged the art world with her groundbreaking work.
Hamburger Bahnhof’s exhibition, Adrian Piper. The Probable Trust Registry: The Rules of the Game #1-3 will present her latest major work for the first time. Questioning the way trust is built, Piper has created a contract that the visitor can sign with his/herself, promising to uphold a commitment with oneself to maintain specific ethics and values. Each participant will later receive a copy of the registry, thus forming a community of trust.
You Want Kilims, But I Do Films – Art and Culture in Turkey
Akademie der Künste
Presentation: February 26th | 19:00
As part of a lecture series on the ways which the contemporary social and political climate in Turkey has affected artists, journalists, and scientists, Turgut Erçetin will speak about his work as a composer and scientist. Growing up in Istanbul, the composer was heavily influenced by the soundscape of the city. He is interested in analysing the algorithmic structures in acoustic phenomena. Considering elements of time, space, and individual perception, Erçetin’s compositions deal with complex and layered sound elements to create music for a specific environment. The lecture is free to attend and in English, so head along to learn more from the artist himself!