photos: Abdulsalam Ajaj
Meet the Berlin-based artist creating his own, undressed version of the BVG’s ‘Because We Love You’ campaign.
Deliberately provocative, Mischa Badasyan is known for unusual art projects in photography, film or performance art. The Russian-born multidisciplinary artist is stepping over graphic, ethical and legal lines to move his viewer to reflect the society and the politics we live in. After moving to Berlin in 2013, his project “Save The Date” (2014) put him on the critics’ map, raising the age-old question: What is art, and is this art?
During his project, in between self-experiment, performance piece, and social study, he slept with a different man every day for a year. The project dealt with the absurd ways we seem to seek a brief feeling of proximity in blind dates and one night stands, that’s only followed by painful emptiness. “Only through pain we are able to learn something truly honest,” Badasyan told MAZ during the project.
The Festival of Lights always stuns me with how it manages to mobilize such a huge amount of Berliners to come out of the house at night when the temperatures are already getting lower and it would just be so much more comfy to cuddle up at home. If you walk along any of the trails of the festival you will encounter so many other people walking around discovering the many light art projections all over the city it feels like the night becomes day – and a busy one at that.
Until October 14th every night from 19-23h you will be able to discover countless projections – many also animated with elaborate mappings that embrace the architecture and details – at various buildings in the city such as the TV tower, the Humboldt Forum, the Berliner Dom, several buildings around Bebelplatz, the Brandenburger Gate, the high rises at Potsdamer Platz, etc.
This year’s highlight was for sure the show at Brandenburger Gate that illustrates the cultural exchange of Berlin with the rest of the world and the 4th world championship of video mapping that you can see at the middle tower at Potsdamer Platz. For the first time, we also took the lift up to the Panorama Punkt to see everything from above. Really worth it (and open until 21h for the duration of the festival). Now enjoy some impressions of this year’s Festival of Lights.
After having left a mark in 2013 with his eye-catching street art pastings “Wrinkles of the City” all over Berlin, the world-wide famous French artist JR has reappeared in Berlin, with a new inspiring installation.
In order to celebrate Germany’s Reunification Day on the 3rd of October, JR recreated a representative scene to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the celebration of freedom. The installation is a photo collage set on the west side of the Brandenburg Gate, whose visual impact is remarkable, given its more than 25 meters high. The strength of the work of art is given by its composition: a picture from the Reunification Day representing people standing together on the top of the Wall has been built in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
Would you ever think that Reinickendorf and Game of Thrones could have anything in common? Well, neither would we and yet Berlin managed to surprise us once again! Unseen Westeros is a 5-day exhibition that comes to Berlin in January and that no Game of Thrones fan would ever want to miss. And by the way: the entry’s free!
The exhibition is a huge project that 40 international artists have been working on for 3 years. The astonishing result is 80 pieces that will let you immerse into the fantastic world of Game of Thrones landscapes. Urban explorers will be excited to find out that the exhibition will be hosted in a historical industrial hall in Reinickendorf.
As one of the newest museums in the city and with a focus on such a young and developing genre the team of Urban Nation, Berlin’s first permanent museum for contemporary urban art and street art, have a lot of explaining and educating to do. While urban and street art is still fighting for recognition in the otherwise quite elitist world of contemporary art the wide audience of the art enthusiasts and art-curious have long embraced it – especially because this particular genre of art is so open and accessible on various levels.
With their artist in residence program, Urban Nation is continuing on that path of making art, the artist and the artistic progress accessible to everyone who is interested – no matter if they are an art collector or curious grandmother. Embracing the fact that the house the museum was constructed in used to be a regular residential building, part of it is still occupied by apartments that function as living studios for the artists participating in the residencies. Right now the first batch of artists has finished their time and open their apartments for the public to see the results of their work. What you step into is not just a regular apartment or artist studio, they are like little art installations almost as if you were to step into the mind of the artist. It’s a great way to understand more about the creation process and the personal aspects of the works. If you are lucky that the artists are there at the moment of your visit you will also get to chat with them about their motivations, techniques and artistic visions.
When it comes to art exhibitions Berlin is never short on surprises. Of course, especially on the occasions of the Gallery Weekend or Berlin Art Week there are countless presentations of art that will leave you in awe. What I especially enjoy are those exhibitions that use before unseen locations that are so impressive to see that they themselves become part of the art.
This is the case for the new edition of the Räume exhibition concept. In 2016 they took over an old insurance building in Kreuzberg and gave every artist their own room. This year the organizer (and exhibiting artist) Alina Mann found an impressive new space, that I never even heard of before, which is this huge abandoned iron foundry on Berlin-Reinickendorf. This space is not unlike the many other former industrial compounds of Berlin that got a second chance of life or temporary use. But the iron foundry has its very own unique character thanks to some of the machinery still left inside and the very unique and mysterious state of decay of the building that creates an almost haunting atmosphere. It makes discovering the art inside a bit like searching for the ghosts in the dark corners.
Lee Bul, photo: Maxie Fischer
The current (already seventh!) edition of the Berlin Art Week (26th to 30th Sept) is enticingly lurking around the corner! Get ready for a few days full of exhibitions, performances, and other special events that will undoubtedly astonish you with the abundance of creative endeavors going on in this vibrant city. You can check out the full program here, but since the number of all the events is quite staggering, we’ve chosen some highlights that we consider especially worth your while – get a sneak peek into Berlin’s creative extravaganza below:
photos: Magali Caillard
This hefty statue is an anti-war protest and a loud, unapologetic celebration of love, which are two things we’re totally into at iHeartBerlin. Better still, there’s more to it than meets the eye – beyond its simple yet enticing form and the significant message, this piece of work will amaze you in more ways than one.
What does the ”Fuck War” statue actually stand for? According to its creators from AKT Jewels, a Geneva-based team consisting of engineers, designers, and craftsmen, it’s supposed to be ”a way to turn war into a laughing stock”. The creators also maintain the piece is inspired by a quote from an iconic figure that incidentally has a special connection with Berlin – Iggy Pop.
Partying in Berlin is a whole thing. The ritual of preparing yourself for a long weekend of non-stop techno has its own steps and rules. For the techno lovers and night creatures, it’s like a sacred ceremony of the modern days. It takes time and money that not all Berliners can’t really afford to spend. But in the techno tribe, too much is never enough. They have consecrated themselves to the Club God and they are ready to give it all. For some people it seems almost impossible to get out of the spiral of techno, that drew them in over and over again.
The young Berlin-based illustrator Josefine Aspvik has perfectly captured the absurdity of taking yourself too seriously. Her drawings are honest and witty and I’m sure you’ll recognize in them that friend that refuses to meet if not at Berghain.
Berlin wouldn’t be the melting pot brimming with inspiration that we love if it wasn’t for the international influences from expats that never cease to shape the city with their artistic vision. The time has come to highlight the creative masterminds in the Portuguese community in Berlin. Get ready to meet a diverse crew of uninhibited artists – photographers, writers, digital illustrators, musicians – who aren’t afraid to experiment and venture beyond the conventions. By the way, we’ve asked around and got the top recommendations on where to get Portuguese wine and their famous Pastel de Nata – make sure you scroll to the bottom!