It’s late April and I’ve been sitting in Weinerei Forum, a bar/cafè in the Berlin’s Mitte borough for more than an hour. On my table there’s a notebook,  which I am meticulously filling with all the exhibitions and events I want to attend during the weekend as well as with everything happening in front of me: letters like K, N, P (for parking), symbols and numbers (like 8 and 10 for the bus). A concrete wall with geometric motifs; trees; a piece of sky. Vehicles, bikes, people. Colours: cream for the taxis, grey for cars, black for outfits.
Simultaneousness of actions and micro events; the residents, the wanderers, the constant flow of cosmopolitan trespassers. Every kind of activity: running, looking for something, hesitating, waiting. I’m feeling both detached and immersed in all these manifestation of the Berlin urban life, in the randomness of the city’s moving layers.

I decide that it’s time to start my tour: Veteranenstraße, I turn left onto Brunnenstraße and I then arrive at KOW. Here an immersive seven channel installation by Candice Breitz, who will co-represent South Africa with Mohau Modisakeng in the 57th Venice Biennale – addresses the complex social and cultural processes that shape individuals, interrogating the mechanics of identification and our capacity for solidarity. Love Story presents the dramatic experiences of six individuals, alongside the stars Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore, who re-performed fragments from these six interviews; as a result of mainstream entertainment the flow of our attention is captured by the performance of the two celebrities, while the narration of the real refugees are relegated to the basement of our social (un)conscious.

Candice Breitz, Still from Love Story, 2016 7-channel installation Julianne Moore, Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin, Photo: Ladislav Zajac / KOW

Candice Breitz, Still from Love Story, 2016 7-channel installation Julianne Moore, Courtesy of Candice Breitz and KOW, Berlin, Photo: Ladislav Zajac / KOW

I’ve found a similar deconstruction appealing to our collective socio-political consciousness in Fernanda Fragateiro’s DEMO at Arratia Beer. The artist creates a multilayered installation by mapping and taking inventory of the cover photo of the publication Demo (1986), which documents a violent protest against increasing public transit prices organised by the Rote Punkt Aktion in Frankfurt in 1974. The modernist shapes and colours of the works become traces which help us to contextualise and define our relationship to the event; the artist ‘reenacts’ the riot augmenting not only our understanding of this previous historical event, but also our perception of the contemporary ones.

Staying in Schönenberg, at Esther Schipper’s new space, Anri Sala’s Take Over presents an immersive film installation, whose choreography of light and sound make tangible the space as well as bringing historical and political considerations. In the building next to Esther Schipper, PLAN B showcases Iulia Nistor new series of paintings – works that collapse into pure abstraction and confront us with multiple narratives and readings, with the same uncertainty and disorientation of the wanderer.

Anri Sala "Take Over", 2017 - Foto: Andrea Rossetti Courtesy: the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin

Anri Sala “Take Over”, 2017 – Foto: Andrea Rossetti Courtesy: the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin

In the same backyard behind Potsdamer Straße, Guido W. Baudach shows a selection of Jürgen Klauke’s photographic works from 1972 to 2017: seeking freedom from predeterminate formulae and gender limitations, he reveals a sense of discovery of his own identity through otherness.

The same irreverence and sideways humour intersperse Double Standards at Chertlüdde, new participant of this edition of the Gallery Weekend. Here the London-born artist Kasia Fudakowski allows us to visit only one of the exhibition spaces, outlawing the possibility to see both. Her sculptural practice is however present in both galleries – delicate sexual organs carved out of wood reflect her idea of ‘liberal baiting’, subverting divisive issues such as gender and political affiliation within the theoretically declared art world.

Berlin is a a city deeply permeated by contemporary art, where a sort of underground energy and experimental approach prevail; in a moment when reflecting on the relationship with the ‘others’ seems to be a main point, Berlin, is able to step towards community, through participation and political issues. A new perception is provided, as well as new methods for decoding our age.
Drawing a sort of circle on the map, I head back east.
A couple waiting for a taxi, a young crowd singing in the street, a woman with a coat. Under a tranquil black sky, the city spreads out again.

gallery-weekend-berlin.de

Kasia Fudakowski, Installation view “Bacon (I)” and “Bacon (III)” -  Courtesy  Chertlüedde, Berlin

Kasia Fudakowski, Installation view “Bacon (I)” and “Bacon (III)” – Courtesy Chertlüedde, Berlin