Particle physics art

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022: 7 art exhibitions not to be missed

For those lucky enough to be in the German capital for Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022, it can be difficult to decide where to start, especially in a city renowned for such a vibrant and thriving creative scene.

As with the just-opened 2022 Venice Biennale, contemporary women artists are leading the way, with institutional highlights being American art icon Barbara Kruger’s takeover of the upper level of the newly renovated Neue Nationalgalerie. , local artist and former fashion designer Alexandra Bircken’s nightmarish installation at Kindl and Candida Höfer’s stunning portraits of vacant public spaces at the Museum für Fotografie. Also not to be missed are Swedish sculptor Nina Canell’s meditation on minerals, animals and technologies at the Berlinische Galerie, and Libby Heaney’s reflections on quantum physics at the Schering Stiftung.

Of course, since this is Gallery Weekend Berlin, the gallery shows are the main event: we’ve rounded up a few top picks to get you started:

Exhibition: ‘Die Blüten von Berlin’ (Petrit Halilaj & Alvaro Urbano with Annette Frick)
Gallery: ChertLüdde
Dates: until May 28

Petrit Halilaj and Alvaro Urbano, May 20, 2016 (Cherry) (detail), 2020, Courtesy of Petrit Halilaj & Alvaro Urbano, Berlin and ChertLüdde, Berlin, Photo by ImagenSubliminal

Berlin-based artists Petrit Halilaj and Alvaro Urbano, partners in life, have worked together to produce pieces that reflect the polarity of built environments and natural spaces. Their show at Chert Lüdde, named after a song by the late drag queen Ova Maltine, combines their monumental flowers with Frick’s intimate photographs of Berlin’s queer and punk subcultures. They also created vibrant two-dimensional works of art from repurposed wallpaper during the recent renovation of the gallery space – which had been a decorating store for 70 years – in a further nod to the history of Berlin.

Exhibition: Xenia Hausner, ‘Involuntary Beauty’
Gallery: König
Dates: April 29 – June 19

Xenia Hausner, Marriage story2022. © Studio Xenia Hausner. Photography: Stefan Liewehr

Austrian painter Xenia Hausner presents 12 new paintings exploring her idea that “in art, terror is nothing but the beginning of beauty”. Hausner’s defined yet dreamlike images take on new layers of meaning as we learn about his former career as a set designer. Hausner describes the people she paints as part of her story. Her work is theater unto itself, capturing intriguing moments of fictional connection.

Exhibition: Sterling Ruby, ‘In Warm Shroud. Embrace the Bloom Crux. A window of frost.’
Gallery: Sprüth Magers
Dates: April 29 – June 30

Sterling Ruby, ‘IN HOT SHROUD. KISS THE BLOOM CRUX. A FROST WINDOW’. Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, April 29 – June 30, 2022. Photography: Timo Ohler and Ingo Kniest

Sterling Ruby’s solo exhibition sees monumental new textile sculptures hung among pieces from previous exhibitions. The exhibition demonstrates the artist’s ability to move seamlessly between mediums, creating exceptional works in sculpture, drawing, collage, ceramics, painting and video. His shifts in medium result in a striking and sometimes dizzying series, regardless of the format that achieves the desired impact. ‘In the warm shroud. Embrace the Bloom Crux. A window of frost.’ draws on themes of verticality, duality, craftsmanship, domesticity and shifts in scale, which similarly appear in his previous WIDOW paintings, Flowers and Reif.

Exhibition: Joan Jonas: ‘Past Thought Revised’
Gallery: Heidi
Dates: until May 1

Joan Jonah, My new theater V, Moving In Place (Dog Dance), 2002-2005

American artist Joan Jonas’ Draw on the wind, 2018, consists of frames of bamboo kites, painted and then constructed with a collage of drawings, alluding to the artist’s interest in myths, local folklore and movements of the natural world. Along with the kite display, the show includes a series of drawings that explore how bodily movements can be incorporated into the drawing process. The video works selected for the exhibition testify to this practice, including a piece from the Jonas My new theater1997.

Exhibition: Haegue Yang, ‘Mesmerising Mesh – Paper Leap and Sonic Guard’
Gallery: Barbara Wien
Dates: April 29 (from 6 p.m.) – May 1

Haegue Yang, Bewitching Lantern – Four Crimson Mail Guardians2022. Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin, Photo: Studio Haegue Yang

Korean artist Haegue Yang used handmade Korean paper, glued with dried leaves, pine wood, reed sticks and Alu-Dibond, to create the works featured in this exhibition. The pieces reference Korean shamanic purification rituals in their geometric shapes and use of hanji paper, made from mulberry trees native to the Korean mountains. Alongside his defined collages, Yang’s exhibition houses ominous string shapes and beacons buzzing with sound, spinning and twisting in the gallery space. Sculptures hang from the ceiling and walls, exploring as many spaces as the gallery has to offer.

Exhibition: Thomas Struth
Gallery: Max Hetzler Gallery
Dates: until May 21

Installation view: Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, March 3 – May 21, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris | London © Thomas Struth. Photography: image def

Spread over two of the Berlin galleries of Galerie Max Hetzler, the untitled exhibition by German photographer Thomas Struth encompasses two bodies of work with juxtaposed aesthetics but linked themes. Bleibtreustraße 45 contains images of environments, from the tangled network of cables in the basements of scientific research facilities to the wintry landscapes that Struth became familiar with during two years of pandemic-induced isolation. Across the road is Bleibtreustraße 15/16, which contains new additions to its 1985 Family portraits series. Both spaces pay homage to the mutual experience of solitude and the paradoxical unity that we have all felt in recent times.

Exhibition: Ai Weiwei, “The pleasure of being at home”
Gallery: Neugerriemschneider
Dates: April 30 – May 14

LightingLEGO bricks 2019. Courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio courtesy of the artist and neugerriemschneider. Photography: Jens Ziehe

Ai Weiwei explores a variety of mediums in his new show, which spans photography, film and images created from Lego. His starting point was a set of photographs he found on the shores of Lesvos, which are believed to have been lost by refugees on their journey to Europe. Ai welcomes refugees into her creative and personal space by placing these images alongside similar personal images of her own family. He then contrasts the playful medium of Lego with images of incarceration and military activity, and in doing so raises questions about social discourse and challenges the viewer to take a stand against violence and oppression. §