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Gallery Weekend 2013: Berlin’s unmissable art marathon

Where else in the world could you find works from the likes of Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson or Cerith Wyn Evans displayed inside an enormous world war II bunker, whose previous uses include GDR tropical fruit warehouse and hardcore techno club? (click here to learn more about the Boros Collection) Berlin’s art market may not be as professional as that of London or New York – as seen by the mixed success of the city’s various art fairs which traditionally take place in autumn – but one thing’s for sure: Berlin has some spectacular galleries.

John Isaacs, The lie (2013) at the Galerie Michael Haas

John Isaacs, The lie (2013) at Galerie Michael Haas

Taking place this year from 26-28 April, Berlin’s Gallery Weekend is an unmissable three-day marathon of exhibitions, openings and special events at over 50 of the city’s top galleries. Founded in 2004, the Gallery Weekend has established itself as one of Germany’s most important events for contemporary art, attracting collectors and art enthusiasts from all over the world. The relaxed atmosphere and quality of modern art on display make it a worthwhile event whether you are interested in buying or not.

John Isaacs, Perhaps in the emergent lines you will find yourself (2013) at Galerie Michael Haas

John Isaacs, Perhaps in the emergent lines you will find yourself (2013) at Galerie Michael Haas

You can take a look at the list of this year’s participating galleries here, though many Berliners simply prefer to let themselves be swept along from gallery to gallery. On Friday 26th there will be more exhibition openings than on any other night of the year, and the special events will continue throughout the weekend. The Scheunenviertel in Mitte is known as the city’s ‘gallery district’ thanks to the high concentration of outstanding galleries on Auguststraße and Linienstraße, but there are many more scattered across the city.

Gallery Weekend Berlin
Fri 26 April, 18-21:00
Sat 27 & Sun 28 April, 11-19:00
various locations across the city

Here are our top Gallery Weekend picks within walking distance of the Hotel Concorde Berlin…

Galerie Michael Haas is staging two solo exhibition with works made specially for the Gallery Weekend. Influential British sculptor John Isaac’s extraordinary new show, ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’, is worth visiting if only to see the piece entitled The Lie, which has what appears to be a huge slab of meat, shaped like a wedge of cheese, on top of a tiled platform – and that’s not a word of a lie. Among the other eclectic works, Isaac utilises objects like clocks, carpets, chairs, skulls, a megaphone and even a pair of trousers, and gives them his inimitable ‘Isaacsian’ twist. Dutch artist Nicole Bianchet, meanwhile, has created a series of large haunting landscape paintings that a Nordic version of Georgia O’Keefe might have made, and fantastical portraits that are a sly nod to William Blake.

Galerie Michael Haas
Niebuhrstraße 5, Charlottenburg (www.galeriemichaelhaas.de)
John Isaac and Nicole Bianchet exhibition opening Friday 26 April, 6-9pm  

Tomma Abts Inte, 2013 acrylic and oil on canvas 48 x 38 cm

Tomma Abts Inte (2013) at Galerie Buchholz

The Galerie Buchholz will celebrate Gallery Weekend with an exhibition of London-based artist Tomma Abts’ first solo show in Berlin, a collection of new paintings, a bronze cast, and a series of drawings as well as selected works on paper. German-born Abts, whose acrylic and oil paintings contain strikingly textured patterns and abstract geometric shapes, won the Turner Prize in 2006, which immediately pushed her into the front ranks of the contemporary art world – all this, despite the fact, as she readily admits, she never had a painting lesson in her life.

Galerie Buchholz
Fasanenstraße 50, Charlottenburg (www.galeriebuchholz.de)
Tomma Abts exhibition opening Friday April 26th, 

Tomma Abts, Fimme (2013) at Galerie Buchholz

Tomma Abts, Fimme (2013) at Galerie Buchholz

German neo-formalist painter Thilo Heinzmann’s new works at Galerie Guido W.Baudach are described as “autonomous, inscrutable, romantic and strange”. His previous works have utilised Styrofoam blocks, pieces of fur, metal and splashes of coloured pigment to create unique, sometimes stark visions of abstract alienation, which, curiously, can sometimes be quite comforting. The smallest detail – a tiny tear, or a speck of red – triggers something in the observer, that uncategoriseable emotive response that artists search for, and Heinzmann seems to be able to achieve effortlessly.

Galerie Guido W. Baudach
Carmerstraße 11, Charlottenburg (www.guidowbaudach.com)
Thilo Heinzmann exhibition opening: Friday April 26, 2013, 6pm

Katrin Kampmann, "Wie hell der Sommer ist", 10 x 20 cm, direct print behind acrylic glass

Katrin Kampmann "Wie hell der Sommer ist" 10 x 20 cm, direct print behind acrylic glass

Katrin Kampmann’s unmistakable artwork will be familiar to anybody who has ever stepped foot in the Hotel Concorde Berlin – to celebrate Gallery weekend we are giving away a Katrin Kampmann miniature to five lucky readers, courtesy of WhiteWall, the photo laboratory of the wonderful Lumas gallery in Berlin. Simply like, comment or share this article to enter!


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