1. THE SHUTTERED SOCIETY: ART PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE GDR, 1949–1989
Think of photography in the DDR, and you probably think of party-line-towing pictures, arranged under strict guidelines and served as propaganda. Converse to this assumption, Geschlossene Gesellschaft (Shuttered Society) exhibits the work of over thirty portrait, documentary and experimental photographers. We see a different prospect on the ‘other side’ of the Iron Curtain, where political, cultural and technical conditions create a certain character as much the regional particularities. The photographers of the German Democratic Republic first saw their task in documenting social events and the life of their society, and these give a picture of both life in the postwar period and in the GDR. In the following chapter, photographers embraced the visual language of the 1920s, yet did not have the possibilities to publish their works. It was not until the mid-1970s that photographers dedicated themselves in formal and aesthetic forms of expression, and the search for experimental expression of art photography took its course.
Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur, 10969 Berlin; 5 October 2012 – 28 January 2013
2. DIVIDED HEAVEN: THE COLLECTION 1945–1968
Divided Heaven is the consequent continuation of the exhibition about the art in the 20th century from the collection of Nationalgalerie Berlin. Separated in different rooms but temporally overlapping, ideas of art in the time of the postwar period and the Cold War are presented in this exhibition to show the “contemporaneity of the non-contemporaneous”. The ideal picture of men, the immovable self-confidence, got ripped in the face of destruction, genocide and endless suffering engendered by humans. The different art movements developed after that are presented standing in contrast to each other. In the West, a continuing abstraction in art prevailed, that questioned all forms of expression and the painting itself. Should art have a message at all or should it exist only in cause of itself? The diverse positions that are shown in this exhibition see themselves confronted with the art of the East. Its figurative expression was the declaration of the individual that became the point where all things were measured. “The art of the West is too decadent”, the eastern state propaganda announced. Beuys vs Warhol, Mao vs Elvis. This exhibition is conspicuous by its versatility and there could be no better place for this exhibition than the Neue Nationalgalerie, not least Mies Van der Rohe’s architecture, being the result of the development in art until the construction of this exhibition space. Allow extra time.
Neue Nationalgalerie, 10785 Berlin; 11 November 2011 – 31 July 2013
3. LARS TUNBJÖRK: VINTER
Cold, snow covered landscapes and just a little daylight. This is the winter in Sweden. The photos made by Lars Tunbjörk were primarily a way for him to overcome the depressions during this time of the year. They show a picture of a country that is in the strong hand of darkness and cold, and Tunbjörk gives us a melancholic view of people coping with the dark season. Sometimes humorous and sometimes ironic character, these images could only be taken a Scandinavian; one who knows all too well the attitude towards life in an endless night.
Swedish Photography, 10243 Berlin; 20 October – 15 December 2012
4. RÉNE GROEBLI: THE EYE OF LOVE
After training as a photographer and cameraman, René Groebli initially worked as a photo reporter for various international magazines. The photographer and his wife Rita took their honeymoon in 1953 and travelled to France, where he created images of poetic beauty. Das Auge der Liebe (The Eye of Love) reveals the photographer’s loving and tender view of his wife, a gaze of desire and admiration. In his declaration of love to Rita, René created a timeless work.
Pinter & Milch | Galerie für Fotografie, 10119 Berlin; 10 November – 8 December 2012
6. KATRIN KORFMANN ‘KOLORIT’
On the occasion of the European Month of Photography in Berlin, Kai Hilgemanns gallery presents new photographic works entitled ‘Kolorit’ by the German artist Katrin Korfmann – a recent winner of the RADO STAR PRIZE SWITZERLAND 2012. Kolorit refers to the combination, shadow and composition of various colours in a painting or photograph, but the word is also used as a metaphor to describe a culture or lifestyle in a foreign place. This three-part body of work is the result of a trip to India earlier in 2012 where she documents the Hindu ritual known as the Holi Festival. The event is a celebration of colour and the welcoming of the new spring season. The iconic tradition sees thousands of people catapult pigmented powder and perfume at one another. The photographs capture the compelling detail exploding from each scene – seizing the infectious energy, vitality and spirit which is so unique to the tradition.
Galerie Kai Hilgemann, 10969 Berlin; 23 November – 22 December 2012
The right to blasphemy should become a human right. The special right to the protection of religious sentiments, by contrast, should not. Trampling on such feelings is not a very empathetic thing to do, but the fact that they seem to be particular sensitive is not the fault of those who do not share that belief. Everyone is free to keep Golden Calves in the privacy of their own home. In the public sphere, however, it must be permissible to laugh about them, ridicule them, and even offend them. Featuring the work of Joseph Beuys, Alice Crischer, Barbara Hammer , Chris Martin , Christoph Schlingensief and Santiago Sierra, KOW has put together an exhibition that uses satire and deliberate misrepresentation, but also launches frontal attacks on today’s spiritual fetishes and holy effigies.
KOW Berlin, 10119 Berlin; 10 November 2012 – 3 February 2013
Technically speaking, the world surrounding us has no color at all. Blue skies, red tomatoes, green grass — a result of light being filtered and reflected by colorless but multi-textured surfaces. UPON PAPER celebrates this phenomenon in a group show on the walls of its Berlin gallery, complementing the pages of the second issue of UPON PAPER Magazine. Featuring works by Peter Saville, Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, Nick Knight, Wolfgang Tillmans, Solange Brand, Herman Nitsch, Julian Charrière & Julius von Bismarck, William Eggleston and Anita Back.
UPON PAPER Space, 10119 Berlin; 19 October – 20 December 2012
7. IRIS TOULIATOU; IMPOSED LOADS AND OTHER MASKED APPEARANCES
Iris Touliatou employs references from a wide range of historical sources. Cinema, modernist architecture, theatre design and literature are staging grounds for elaborate proposals. Devoid of metaphors, her works create new context for these references under which they assume new meanings and denotations. In a process of associations and juxtapositions between historical facts and inaccuracies, missing information, unfinished sentences and encyclopedia pages torn and restored, her work takes the form of a postscript or editor’s note. Through a multimedia practice that embraces narrative as a way of mediating recent history, she makes a fiction of reality focusing on the complex and contradictory set of practices that we refer to as Modernism and on its principal actors.
DUVE Berlin, 10969 Berlin; 2 November – 14 December, 2012
8. JANNIS KOUNELLIS
Renowned for his pivotal role in the development of the Arte Povera movement in the 1960s, over the last 50 years Kounellis has continued to redefine artistic practice through his original use of materials. His works, which might be seen as a combination of painting, collage, installation, ‘environments’, performance and theatre, are made using everyday materials such as soil, coal, stones, hessian sacks, fire, live animals, bed frames and doorways, as well as objets trouvés. Imbued with dramatic power, stimulating memory and a sense of history, as well as the reality of our present day experience, they express the underlying tensions within contemporary society, and the multiplicity and fragmentation of its language.
Blain | Southern Berlin, 10785 Berlin; 17 November 2012 – 26 January 2013
9. MALEREI DER 80ER JAHRE
Curated by German artist, musician and protagonist of the 80s Cologne scene, Albert Oehlen, this colorful group show is instantaneously arresting and appealing. Whilst the title narrows in on painting from the decade currently undergoing a retro-fascination, Oehlen’s curation represents an array that lead to a wider discussion on art in the 80s, and as such he includes works which are neither paintings nor from the 1980s. A blast of bold color, shape and surface texture where both painting and sculpture offer ideas which endure in today’s contemporary art dialogues, standing in clear contrast to 70s art such as Land Art, Performance and Avantgarde. The result is a sassy, jumbled vex of Minimalist, Conceptual and Pop Art which is as energetic and transformative as the decade itself. A suggested dessert course following the entrée Divided Heaven at the Neue Nationalgalerie.
Sprüth Magers Berlin, 10178 Berlin; 9 November 2012 – 12 January 2013
SELECTED by Moritz Schreiber