From lobster porn to conceptual performance and political photography, Berlin has it all. This month’s art events leave nothing to be desired, and yes we did just say ‘lobster porn’. This August, it’s not just the weather that’s going to keep you on your toes.
Looking for a film night, a comprehensive museum exhibition, or maybe an evening of spoken word? This month’s art happenings are thrillingly diverse, featuring international artists exploring notions of contemporary border politics, Chinese cultural history, sexual desire and more. Read on to learn more about these eclectic, experimental, and just plain weird events and be sure to check them out for yourself. See you there!
World-renowned British artist, Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011) was a master of figurative drawing and painting, known for his analytical observation of the human body. His portraits capture every wrinkle, every bit of sagging flesh, every twitch of expression. While Freud’s work is not known for flattering his subjects, it is rather the quality of poetic honesty conveyed by his work that has captivated viewers.
Currently on display at Martin-Gropius-Bau are 51 of Freud’s etchings, one watercolour and two paintings, which are on loan from the UBS Art Collection and shown for the first time in Berlin, the city of his birth. Among these are the masterpiece painting, ‘Double Portrait’ (1988 – 90), pictured above in the header. However a mere picture cannot do justice to Freud’s work, it must be experienced in person. With thick paint, expressive line, and careful skill, his drawings and paintings capture every plane change, every fold of skin, every change of light – not with the stiffness that may sometimes accompany hyper-realism, but rather with expressive psychological insight into the subject. Buy your tickets here.
Take the sneaky elevator to the P5 level of the Karl-Marx Straße shopping centre and find yourself at the hip rooftop bar, Klunkerkranich for a night of spoken word and DJ sets.
The evening will open with a set by DJ Anthony Baggette, Editor of Looka Here! magazine with soul, jazz and reggae followed by an afrobeat DJ set by Eli Pavel/Oye Records. Spoken word artist Kwame Write will then read a selection of his poetry, exploring the meaning of time in the juxtaposed contexts of Western and African conceptualisations. DJ Betty Stürmer will create sound snippets to interact with the performance and will then close the party with a set of ‘Call it Soulstep’. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible view.
Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) was a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” The renowned American writer, feminist, and civil rights activist spent many years in Berlin, after being invited in 1984 as a visiting professor to the Free University of Berlin. While in Germany, Lorde helped coin the term ‘Afro-German’ and vitalise the civil rights movements in Berlin. Lorde strongly believed in the power of language as a force of resistance, change, and empowerment and she was a source of inspiration for many writers and activists in Germany.
Because of her incredible impact on the beginnings of the Afro-German movement, Dagmar Schultz created the documentary Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years to memorialise her time and recognise her valuable work in Berlin. The documentary premiered in 2012 at the 62nd Berlinale and has since been featured in 69 festivals worldwide. The film screening will be in the original German with English subtitles and a live Arabic translation. Don’t miss this chance to see the film here in Berlin and learn more about the life of Audre Lorde.
The British Shorts Film Festival brings the crème de la crème of short films to Berlin. From dark comedy to drama, documentary, and animation, the summer edition features highlights from their festival in January with 12 short films at an outdoor screening. These films have won awards and prizes at major festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, and the Berlinale and have won over audiences worldwide. Last year’s selection was incredible, so we’re looking forward to another memorable evening of excellent short films in the fresh summer air! All films will be in English and you can buy tickets here.
Have you ever considered the sex life of a lobster? Well now’s the chance to indulge your curiosity.
New York based artist Rebecca Goyette is premiering her video series, LOBSTAPORN for the first time in Europe. In this series, the artist dresses in elaborate hand crafted costumes and takes on the role of Lobsta Girl as she sexually engages with other characters in a queer and fantastical sexual paradigm. Sexual desire and the aggressive sexual life of lobsters come into conversation in her playfully experimental and complex videos.
Rebecca will be present for a talk at the event hosted by curatorial group, EVBG. They will have special LOBSTA treats and a LOBSTA PORN pop-up shop if you are hungry for more delicious lobsta-ness. Rebecca is also planning to film another LOBSTAPORN video while here in Berlin, so contact EVBG if you’d like to get involved! We’ll see all you fellow lobstas at the opening!
Working on History: Contemporary Chinese Photography and the Cultural Revolution
Museum für Fotografie
Opening: August 18th
Runs: August 19th, 2017 – January 7th, 2018
The Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) played a huge role in the formation of contemporary China – particularly and profoundly in the visual arts. The exhibition, Working on History, uses a historical perspective to examine contemporary photography and art in China as a product of the Cultural Revolution.
With a two part approach, Working on History features contemporary and historical works alongside one another. In this way, the viewer can visually trace the formation of a contemporary visual language that was born out of the aesthetic of the Cultural Revolution. During this time, photography was used as a means of propaganda and for the heroisation of Mao Zedong. The featured artists question the impact of these images through contemporary exhibits of photography and video installations. Attend the opening on August 18th and check out what promises to be an in-depth exploration of the contemporary Chinese art scene.
OPN: Tunnel below / Skyjacking above: deconstructing the border
August 27th, 19:00
In this group exhibition, a selection of international artists use art to contemplate and critique the global implication of borders and barriers. While the artists are from different backgrounds, each with a different relationship to border spaces, together they highlight the similarities of global border narratives and contemporary politics. From Europe, to Mexico and the USA, borders are a growing concern internationally. Check out this exhibition for a thoughtful re-contextualisation of border politics.
Drawing and dance come together in this ephemeral and interdisciplinary performance. The artists of Trajectories: New Drawing Embodiments will make connections between drawing and choreography, considering contemporary drawing as a performative act. Compositions and choreography become one and the same and dance is performed as a visual art – a three-dimensional rendition of a two-dimensional image.
In addition to the unusual performance, there will be a discussion between Dr. Maren Butte and Jan-Philipp Frühsorge, reflecting on the concept of the ephemeral art, hosted by the philosopher Dr. Francesca Raimondi. Entrance is five euro.