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Berlin Art Week will celebrate its 5th anniversary from September 13th to 18th, 2016. Compiling a great amount of events on contemporary art, this major Berlin affair will combine exhibition openings across town, art fairs, art awards, and auxiliary programs such as talks, film screenings, and art tours. Everything will revolve around contemporary art, artists and locations, where art is a dialogue with the city and the public.

Emulating the business model established in many other capitals around the globe, the Art Week was born with the aim to concentrate the biggest number of art events in just a week, taking advantage of the already existing art fairs and the numerous visitors related to the art world expected to attend. Furthermore, this week the 9th Berlin Biennale (BB9) is closing its doors, thus the goal is to attract collectors, gallerists, museum directors, and all those interested in art and culture to the German capital, and turn Berlin into the centre of the international art world during these days.

In the spotlight of contemporary art, and any subject that interests artists today ranging from science and technology, social processes and political developments, to pop culture and advertising, this week Berlin guests can visit a wide variety of individual exhibitions, like Sven Drühl’s underlying significant landscape paintings at Haus am Waldsee, Yvonne Roebs’ human and animal hybrid sculptures at Schering Stiftung, or Gordon Parks’ exhibition presented at C/O Berlin – the first African-American photographer to achieve world fame, whose photographs documenting black people’s protests shape the show. As for group shows, the Collectors Room presents a set of abstract paintings. Deutsche Bank KunstHalle has Common Affairs, contemporary art from Poland on display. Also from Poland comes artist Goshka Maguca, whose robot sculpture is exhibited at Schinkel Pavillon, where the humanoid slowly declaims the inadequacy of human beings. nGbK drives urban development through art and brings it to the periphery of the city with its action.

The real kick off is today, when the following events –listed more or less in chronological order– will take place: starting at noon and till midnight, the 9th Berlin Biennale will close with a grand finale, presenting a 12-hour marathon of performances, lectures and music. The Neue Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) will be dedicating a solo exhibition to Turkish artist Halil Altındere, who developed the Space Refugee-Project, ironically proposing outer space to host refugees given the European fear of being overwhelmed by foreigners. Altındere’s pieces Köfte Airlines and Homeland –this last one specially created for the BB9 and also on view at AdK– will be shown as well at HAU2. For its part, Haus am Lützowplatz will present the show Christian Jankowski – The Legend of the Artist and other Sites of Construction.

Several art prizes will be given this year; Andreas Greiner will receive the GASAG Art Award at Berlinische Galerie, a prize on the intersection of art, science and technology. A bit later, another awarded artist, Anne Imhof, winner of last year’s Preis der Nationalgalerie, will be presenting ANGST II at Hamburger Bahnhof. A combination of choreographed performance, painting, sculpture, and music, the exhibition is being staged as an opera in three acts. ANGST II will be on display through Sunday from 8 pm till midnight.

On Thursday, the week’s two art fairs open their doors. Founded by a group of local galleries, abc—art berlin contemporary commits itself to re-imagining the “art fair”. In its ninth edition and under rigorous selection, abc presents 62 of the best local and international galleries introducing just one artist each. The fair concentrates on the relationship between gallerists and artists, covering the whole range – from established to emerging. Berlin’s youngest art fair, Positions Berlin, founded in 2014, presents galleries and art spaces and offers visitors a framework to experience a wide range of international art with 74 galleries from 13 countries.

Heading into the weekend, on Friday afternoon, Berlin Art Week will deliver to 20 project spaces the certificates of the award organized by the Network of Independent Berlin Project Spaces and Initiatives on behalf of the Senate’s Cultural Affairs. There are around 150 project spaces, independent and temporary art initiatives with no permanent address in this city – this is unique in Europe, and the monetary price tries to support them. Starting at 6 pm, the program will be complemented by the abc gallery night, where participating Berlin galleries open their sites around town.

Also on Friday, guided tours to Berlin’s most interesting private art collections will begin and will continue throughout the weekend. The collections Regard, EAM, Julia Stoschek Berlin, Boros, Erika Hoffmann and Ivo Wessel, together with Salon Dahlmann and The Feuerle Collection will show us how the subjective viewpoint of the collector enriches our perception of art. 

Along with the Berlin Art Week, the Kommunalen Galerien in Berlin presents for third time the KGB-Kunstwoche –which already started the previous weekend– featuring 28 Berlin-based communal galleries. The climax will take place on Saturday with KGB sounds, a concert with standout bands at Heimathafen Neukölln.

Failing to introduce itself in the organization of the Berlin Art Week, the oldest art fair in town, Berliner Liste, celebrates its 13th edition opening its doors from Thursday to Sunday at Kraftwerk Berlin, with a combination of galleries and artists represented by themselves.

While saying goodbye to the almost non-existent summer, prepare yourself for the ultimate marathon-like art experience week.

María Muñoz
Courtesy of Berlin Art Week

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