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Berlin’s summer of performance and film art starts this weekend

From the Foreign Affairs festival to commercial gallery shows, time-based art can be found all over the German city

This weekend sees a slew of performance and time-based art open in Berlin, starting with a major show at the Martin Gropius Bau of the artist Tino Sehgal (28 June-8 August). The Berlin-based artist is known for his interactive works, which can be described as somewhere between live sculpture, performance art and constructed social situations. Five pieces are due to be presented in the ground-floor galleries, including the enigmatic This Is So Contemporary (2005), in which guards sing that phrase to often surprised visitors, and The Kiss (2007), where couples embrace intimately in the museum.

The solo show is accompanied by a presentation of Sehgal’s This Progress (2010) at the international performing arts festival, Foreign Affairs, at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele (25 June-5 July). Another highlight of the festival is the premiere of the Belgian artist Jan Fabre’s Mount Olympus (2015), a 24-hour long theatrical piece featuring 27 performers that glorifies ancient Greek tragic myths. Starting on Saturday, 27 June at 4pm, the sold-out event promises “a performance between waking and sleeping, between dream and reality. We will meet Medea, Antigone, Dionysus and other heroes in all their libidinosity and archaism”.

The Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s latest work The Fall (2015) also has its world premiere during the festival on 1 July. The piece is based on a memory of the artist’s father, a theatre director, coming home after seeing an “outrageous incident” occur during a performance of Hamlet.

Performance and cinema can also be seen in the city’s commercial galleries this weekend. A video of Kjartansson’s six-hour work with the band The National, A Lot of Sorrow (Nave), first performed at MoMA PS1 in 2013, is the centrepiece of a show at Johan Konig’s St Agnes space (26 June-23 August).

The newly merged Johnen Galerie and Esther Schipper have put together their first group show with artists from both galleries’ rosters. The Sommer Kino programme presents 13 films, including Christopher Roth’s new seven-minute Hawaii ‘962036 (2015), and pieces by Liam Gillick, David Claerbout, Roman Ondák, Ryan Gander and Pierre Huyghe. The 1975 film Da Forno by Candida Höfer and Tony Morgan, and Anri Sala’s, It Will Happen Exactly Like That (2008), will also be shown.

KOW gallery is organising a “Summer of Film” with over 80 works, focusing on one filmmaker each day for four weeks (28 June-26 July). The basement space will “turn into a cinema for a small summer videonale of contemporary artistic film works” by artists including Chto Delat, Eugenio Dittborn, Barbara Hammer, Renzo Martens, Mario Pfeifer, Tina Schulz, Michael E. Smith, as well as Hito Steyerl and Woori Cho, Milos Trakilovic and Till Wittwer.