ArtistsPeople 12-09-2016

Berlin Art Week | 3 ways to escape from Berlin

The German capital is preparing to welcome an ambitious number of new exhibitions from September 13 through 18, with the most pressing problems of our time —and their evolution — at the heart of this year’s program. And so we, conversely, look to escapism.

Escape from one’s country (to outer space)

As Europe faces the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War II, Germany’s generosity has well surpassed the efforts of any other nation: in 2015, more than a million migrants found shelter in the country. It seems natural then, that “Space Refugee”, the latest project by Turkish artist Halil Altindere, should be presented in Berlin.

From September 15 through November 6, Altindere’s work will be on display at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, as part of an exhibition curated by Kathrin Becker. The artist offers — not without irony — a simple solution to the migrant crisis, as well as addressing concerns about the impending “organized invasion” of Europe, Altindere responds with a bizarre idea: flying millions of displaced migrants to outer space. Borrowing from Socialist Realism, Halil Altindere presents a film tribute to former Syrian astronaut Muhammed Ahmed Faris, who spent seven days in outer space on Soyuz TM-3, one of the three manned spacecraft to visit the Soviet space station Mir in 1987. Today, the former aviator has found shelter in Turkey after having defected from Assad's government and joining the armed opposition.

Escape from one’s condition..

Elsewhere, strong and positive messages also find their way.  The first African-American photographer to join Life magazine’s team — and the first to direct a major Hollywood production with his film Shaft (1971) — Gordon Parks (1912-2006) work and life are celebrated at Berlin’s C/O. Throughout his career — split between his commitment to activism and the glamour of working with publications such as Life and Vogue — the artist has condemned racial violence and the history of social injustice against the black community by taking the portraits of figures such as Martin Luther King or Muhammad Ali — as well as those of celebrities, including, among others, Ingrid Bergman and Alberto Giacometti.

Untitled, Washington Dc (1963), Photograph by Gordon Parks, Courtesy and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

Escape from conventional exhibition formats

German artist and Preis der Nationalgalerie laureate Anne Imhof is at Hamburger Bahnhof –
Museum für Gegenwart
, where she questions the notion of exhibition itself. Performance, drawings, music, sculpture, installation and drones — as well as a hawk — will be housed at the Berlin institution for an exhibition that Imhof prefers to refer to itself as  a “Production”. Angst is an opera in several acts, whose subsequent acts have already been featured at Kunsthalle Basel and are soon to be shown at the Montréal Biennial.

Anne Imhof, Angst, 2016. Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Also running at Berlin Art Week: “Dada Africa: Dialog with the Other” at the Berlinische Galerie, “Nasher Prize Dialogues: The Work of Sculpture in the Age of Digital Production” at the Akademie der Künste, and “Sound Matters (or: What to do with the money?)” at Errant Bodies.

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