Autumn in Berlin, the leaves are falling. The spatzle is sizzling in the pan. The guys on unicycles are forced to wear full-length trousers as they speed down the uneven pavements of Friedrichshain. Amid such seasonal delights, a set of exhibitions are opening and closing as well across the city. After a tumultuous year in Berlin’s visual art scene, both culminating and reaching its nadir in the bloated but periodically engrossing Berlin Biennale, October promises to be a month that showcases the characteristic eclecticism of the city’s visual creative culture.
Berlin’s (for the moment) more manageable cost of living has meant that it has become a haven for artists priced out of other historic centres of visual culture like London and New York City. This dynamic has created a context in which younger artists are not only thriving in their practice, but some of the most anticipated shows are actually by younger artists rather than historical heavy-hitters like Anselm Kiefer (who also has a show opening at Gallery Bastian from 10 October). A show I recently saw but which has definitely lingered with me was the Trisha Baga exhibition at Societe. The exhibition is particularly notable for a pair of 3-D videos that reach out and (almost literally) touch the viewer. Peres Projects, after an impressive, if somewhat, problematic exhibition of African figurative art in dialogue with contemporary works, presents a solo exhibition by one of the artists featured in that notable show, Donna Huanca. Huanca’s works are Huanca’s works span genres and are distinguished by a ravenous capacity to assimilate and evocatively disgorge the social and visual detritus of contemporary life.
Young artists are not the only story this autumn, however. Jutta Koether’s show, Zodiac Nudes, at Galerie Buchholz is a bravura presentation of a set of new works that both embody the title of the show and expand far beyond mere reference and mythos. An old favourite of mine, the late Scottish polymath, Ian Hamilton Finlay will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Kewenig. The Anselm Kiefer exhibition and a show by Dieter Roth and Karin Sander at SAFN will also ensure those who love the giants of German art will have plenty to see in Berlin this October as well.
It’s not all openings, though. Among the shows closing in October is the moving Goschka Macuga exhibition, Now this, is this the end … the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? at the Schinkel Pavillon which closes 2 October. Macuga’s show has been one of the most wide-ranging of the year in Berlin, reaching across a spectrum of emotional registers that few others have matched. A number of interesting talks will also be taking place. Personally, I’m regretting being out of town for Uriel Orlow’s Unmade Film: The Proposal at the Kamerunerstrasse space of Achim Lengerer as part of the Scriptings series. Decad, a project space in Kreuzberg will be hosting Studio Ogut, a hybrid project of sorts existing somewhere between an open studio and exhibition by the artist, Ahmet Ogut, that will continue Decad’s ongoing investigation of the role of the studio in contemporary visual art.
The days in Berlin may be getting shorter, but, as anyone who knows the city can tell you, it only means the nights are getting longer, with such an extensive haul of openings and events, October in Berlin looks likely to contain any number of long nights.
Genthiner Strasse 36 / 10785 Berlin
Karl-Marx-Allee 82 / 10243 Berlin
Fasanenstrasse 30 / 10719 Berlin
Kamerunerstrasse 47 / 13351 Berlin
Dieter Roth and Karin Sander
Levetzowstrasse 16 / 10555 Berlin
Bruderstrasse 10 / 10178 Berlin
Am Kupfergraben 10 / 10117 Berlin
Oberwallstrasse 1 / 10117 Berlin
Gneisenaustrasse 52 / 10961 Berlin