What's on in Berlin: From Rothko to wrappings

A selection of shows at the leading contemporary and modern galleries


Kunst-Werke (KW) in Berlin is a non-profit-making association with a board of trustees, based on the P.S.I. in New York, with which it collaborates.

The story of the KW as an exhibition venue dates back to 1991, when a group of students, artists, architects and actors obtained permission to use the complex at Auguststrasse 69 as a studio.

Thanks to exhibitions such as “37 Räume” in 1992 it quickly became the driving force behind the burgeoning artistic scene in Berlin-Mitte. Now the activity of KW is institutionalised, the complex has been carefully restored and a glass pavilion, designed by Dan Graham, houses a café built in the courtyard.

Currently on show is a series of exhibitions on the theme of methods to preserve images and to restore them to the memory (until 4 October) .

Christoph Keller’s “Encyclopaedia Cinematographica”, 2001, is an installation consisting of 40 monitors scattered right round the Halle in the KW, which show looped images of animals in motion, taken from the archive of the animal behaviourist Konrad Lorenz. Peter Fischli and David Weiss are showing “Sichtbare Welt” (visible world), consisting of 2,800 instant holiday slides in a light box. Alexa Kreissl and Daniel Kerber are showing architectural landscapes created with temporary and ephemeral structures.

The top floor of the KW houses the project “Bed of Film”, by the film makers Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann. This is a film archive which visitors can consult from the comfort of a huge bed measuring 14m by 4m.

Kunst-Werke: Christoph Keller, “Encyclopaedia Cinematografica”; Peter Fischli and David Weiss, “Sichtbare Welten”; Alexa Kreissl & Daniel Kerber; Heike Aumueller (until 4 October); Heike Baranowsky (6 October to 17 November)

The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin is a joint venture between the Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Besides housing travelling exhibitions franchised by the Guggenheim Foundation, it also, from time to time, exhibits the acquisitions of the Deutsche Bank.

This was the case with the one-man show of Neo Rauch held last spring, as well as the series of specially commissioned ad hoc productions, such as the series by Jeff Koons “Easyfun/Ethereal” at the beginning of the year.

The current exhibition, “On the sublime”, includes some “Untitled” paintings by Mark Rothko (1903-70) with his trademark bands of colour, some monochrome blue paintings by Yves Klein (1928-62) and the light cube “Afrum I” created in 1967 by James Turrell (b.1943).

These are works which draw on the contemplative and mystical side of abstract art, and remind us of the history of the Guggenheim Collection, which was begun expressly to accommodate abstract art.

Accompanying the exhibition is a post mortem edition of a series of jumpers painted by Yves Klein during a stay in Capri in 1948, a limited edition of 250 for sale at the price of E250.

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin: “On the sublime: Mark Rothko, Yves Klein, James Turrell” (until 7 October).

The multinational car company DaimlerChrysler, formerly Daimler Benz, has been collecting art since 1977 and now has a collection numbering more than 600 pieces, distributed around its various branches in Germany and abroad.

The first acquisitions made for the collection were of German abstract art of the 1960s and 1970s; Zero, Minimal and Conceptual Art; the Stuttgart Avant-garde, including Adolf Hölzel and Willi Baumeister; and Max Bill and the Concrete Art of Zurich.

During the 1990s the purchasing policy of DaimlerChrysler changed, in line with the taste of the art market in general, and they began acquiring “young” art. In 1999 the collection was shown publicly for the first time when the historic Haus Huth was chosen as their Berlin showroom.

The curator of the DaimlerChrysler collection is the art historian Renate Wiehager. She attempts to reconstruct a relationship between the latest contemporary works and those of the 1960s and 1970s.

The current exhibition highlights the company’s new acquisitions and includes videos, photographs and mixed media installations by artists of different generations.

The exhibition includes work by Doug Aitken, Ian Anuell, Cor Dera, Walter Giers, Isabell Heimerdinger, Thomas Locher, François Morellet, Eva-Maria Reiner, Pietro Sanguingeti, Roman Signer and Georg Winter.

DaimlerChrysler Contemporary: “New acquisitions: photography, video, mixed media and works from the collection” (until 21 October).

Six years after they wrapped the Reichstag building in Berlin, Christo and Jeanne Claude have returned to Berlin with a double exhibition. The Martin-Gropius-Bau will show a retrospective (“Early works, 1958-69”), as well as work relating to the “Wrapped Reichstag” project (1996). Other as yet unrealised projects will be on show at the Neue Berliner Kunstverein (NBK).

These exhibitions, financed by the Berlin local authority to the tune of DM2.7 million, include pictures of the 384 wrapping projects carried out in Europe between 1958 and 1964. These have been lent by about 40 different museums and a large number of private collectors.

As well as the wrapping projects, there are shop windows and shop fronts. The section relating to the “Wrapped Reichstag” includes all the documentation on the Berlin project, carried out in 1995 after a unanimous vote in parliament in favour of the scheme. There are sketches, models, the original materials used and plentiful documentary photographs.

An estimated five million people went to view the building during the two weeks of the “Wrapped Reichstag”, and for Berlin this spelled an enormous success in terms of the city’s image.

Two works in progress are on view at the NBK: “The gates”, a project for Central Park in New York, and “Over the river”, for the Arkansas River in Colorado. “The gates” was begun in 1979. The plan is to install 11,000 metal door frames four metres high, with draped crossbeams, along all the paths in Central Park, 42 kilometres in all.

The project is to be realised this autumn and should last two weeks, but, so far, the authorities have been loath to authorise the scheme because of the huge numbers of visitors that would invade Central Park as a result. The “Over the river” project will probably be realised in 2004: a huge drape will be suspended along 10.7 kilometres of the River Arkansas, about 3-7 metres above the water according to what it has to cover—bridges, trees etc.

Martin-Gropius-Bau: Christo and Jeanne Claude, “Early works, 1958-69” and “Verhüllter Reichstag, 1971-95” (8 September to 30 December), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein: Christo and Jeanne Claude, “Works in progress” (until 30 December).