It’s a strange time right now, isn’t it? Winter is over and spring is not yet here. Or, to put it another way, it’s too mild not to leave the house and too cold to stay out in the fresh air for long. So if you just want to get outside without freezing, you should head for the nearest museum. Because some of Berlin’s art houses are offering us not only a change of scenery and heated rooms right now, but also really good exhibitions.
Here are five of them that are worth leaving the house for:
Margaret Raspé, Automatik, until 05/29/23
@ House at the Waldsee
What does the socially often invisible care work actually look like? Margaret Raspé (*1933 in Breslau) already asked herself that about 50 years ago. In 1971, she therefore mounted a Super 8 camera on a construction site helmet and filmed her everyday life. The special thing about it: The “camera helmet” took exactly Raspé’s perspective – what she saw, the camera also saw, and through the recording, so did the viewers. The resulting films show us the automated daily routines of housework, which at the time, and still far too often today, are considered “women’s work only. Margaret Raspé made them visible and tangible – and still invites us today to question social conventions on the basis of the recordings.
The first comprehensive retrospective of the Berlin artist can now be seen at the Haus am Waldsee. Anyone who appreciates art that is not only radical and experimental, but also consciously moves away from familiar forms of representation, should not miss Automatik.
Images: Margaret Raspé, Alle Tage wieder – let them swing!, 1974, super 8, color, without sound, 20 min., film stills. All images courtesy of the artist and Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin
William Eggleston, Mystery of the Ordinary, until 05/04/23
@ C/O Berlin
How did color photography actually find its way into the museum? For a long time, black and white photographs were not only the only available option in photography, but also the preferred one. Color images, on the other hand, were mainly used in advertisements and magazines until the 1970s – but were not recognized as an art form. The U.S. photographer William Eggleston (*1939 in Memphis) was instrumental in making them acceptable. Along with the two photographers Stephen Shore and Evelyn Hofer, Eggleston also recognized the power of color early on in a career that spanned more than five decades. He uses it to give intensity, luminosity, and distinctiveness to banal everyday objects.
Whether it’s a brightly tiled building facade, a crimson drink, or a washed-out blue car, Mystery of the Ordinary shows how beautiful color photography can be. And ensures that you lose yourself in many a scene for a brief moment.
Images: William Eggleston, Untitled, c. 1965–1968; William Eggleston, Untitled, 1971–1974; William Eggleston, Untitled, c. 1971–1974; William Eggleston, Untitled, c. 1970-1973. All Images © Eggleston Artistic Trust. Courtesy Eggleston Artistic Trust and David Zwirner
Ulysses Jenkins, Without Your Interpretation, until 7/30/2023
@ Julia Stoschek Foundation
How do you actually find new answers to old questions? Perhaps precisely by questioning history. At any rate, this is the strategy pursued by the video and performance artist Ulysses Jenkins (*1946 in Los Angeles). Using archival footage, photographs, image editing processes, and soundtracks, Jenkins questions race and gender in relation to rituality, historiography, and the power of the state. His work is considered a major influence on contemporary art of the last fifty years-although this influence is still often overlooked today. Yet Jenkin’s work exposes important mechanisms that we encounter in our everyday perceptions. Through videos, peformances, and photographs, Jenkins questions how the representation of marginalized groups is influenced by media-mediated images, sounds, and (pop)cultural visual languages.
Without Your Interpretation is the first retrospective of the Black artist’s work – it was created in close collaboration with him. Over 15 video works and a total of more than 60 works provide a multifaceted and historically significant insight into Jenkin’s thinking and work. One walks away from this show of works richer in every way.
Images: Ulysses Jenkins, Without Your Interpretation rehearsal documentation, 1984, Fotografie; Farbdruck, 8.9 × 12.7 cm; Televiews and Cable Radio, 1981, Video, 11’18“, Farbe, Ton. Videostill. All images courtesy of the artist.
Monica Bonvici, I do You, until 04/30/23
@ New National Gallery
How much room is there for female art in an architecture created by men? Monica Bonvicini’s answer to that: as much as they take. Her site-specific installations in Mies van der Rohe’s building see themselves as a feminist appropriation of space, place, and surface. Again and again, Bonvicini’s works confront the viewers with themselves, for example through mirrored surfaces or through sculptures that invite us to interact with the objects. Also to be discovered: earlier and more recent work from the fields of light, film, and sound, which bear multifaceted witness to Bonvicini’s unwillingness to devote himself exclusively to one medium. Feminism and architecture, as well as the related questioning of the role of the institution that seeks to (re)present either, meet conceptually.
The Neue Nationalgalerie presents the artist’s influential work in the comprehensive solo exhibition I do You. If you want to experience the concentrated charge of feminist intention while literally coming into contact with Bonvicini’s work, you shouldn’t miss the exhibition.
Images: Monica Bonvicini, Desire, 2006, Ausstellungsansicht Neue Nationalgalerie; Monica Bonvicini, Chainswing Belts, 2022, Ausstellungsansicht. All images courtesy of the artist, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Galerie KrinzingerCopyright the artist, VG-Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2022 / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jens Ziehe
Female Photoclub Berlin, Look at me now, until 25.03.23
@ Female Photoclub Berlin
What do we see when we stop for a moment and look around us? On the occasion of the European Month of Photography (EMoP), 20 photographers from the Female Photoclub Berlin present what these breaks from the hectic pace of contemporary life can look like. They take different positions on the present and yet all have one decisive element that unites them in the picture: “touch”. Whether in the intense physical contact in sports or in the inability to let go of events and circumstances that have shaped our lives, touch is constantly present. Looking at the often very personal works, one not only experiences what it means to be in the here and now. One also experiences the diversity of Berlin-based women photographers.
The exhibition Look at Me Now sets a contrast to a world that changes at breakneck speed and all too often seems to pass us by without touching us. Anyone who dares to slow down can discover new perspectives in it and take them away for themselves.
Images: Delphine Millet, Plis et replis; Mimi Vollgraf, I am rooted but I flow; Cherie Birkner, Holding Hands With You. All images courtesy of the artists.
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