Berlin ruft

LAAF's special correspondent and versatile artist and personality Elizabeth Thallauer

Reports on Art & Bite im Berlin.

This week Elizabeth is reveiwing Taking Patriarchy ApART

See Elizabeth's review on Berlin Art Week, 11-14 September,  bellow

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Elizabeth with her work © Foto: Hubert Bösl

Taking Patriarchy ApART

Imagine Berlin as a monstrous cooking pot, where you can mix a bunch of ingredients and never know what you will get in the end. When I first heard of FemBunt, a small self-organized group of (mostly) women, (mostly) of Bulgarian origin, I thought: “Oh, just another circle of bored girls. “

So, imagine my surprize, after briefly following what they are up to, when I found out how devoted and serous they are in following their goals of raising attention about violence against women und gender rights. So it came to the art exhibition „Taking Patriarchy ApART“, showing works by more than 30 WLTIQ* artists, almost all of whom have first-hand experiences with migration.

Rositsa Mahdi, one of the founding members of FemBunt and one of the main people behind the project, told me what BUNT is and what the goal of the exhibition was.

Bunt is a wordplay- it means ‘rebellion’ or ‘uprising’ in Bulgarian and ‘colourful’ in German. I believe this illustrates very clearly what we are all about- a diverse collective with a very varied mix of personal stories and experience, committed to collectively finding ways to challenge and deconstruct oppressive structures from an intersectional, feminist perspective.

This brings us to the second part of the question, which is, what exactly we wanted to achieve with the current feminist art exhibition. To mark the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is also our one year anniversary, we wanted to use yet another tool, in this context art, to give visibility to the struggles of migrant women* and queer people in Berlin and their forms of resistance. We wanted to challenge the stereotypical image of the migrant woman* as a faceless and homogenised ‘victim’ who stands in direct opposition to the strong and independent (non-migrant) feminist and expand the concept of violence beyond individual experiences in order to look at the larger structures. I feel that within the context of an exhibition, one could much better visualise how individual and collective struggles merge, how emotions circulate and reflect many people’s battles and how the larger structures which serve to control, discipline and punish, influence our lives.

Now, let us take a sneak peek at the show.

Uruspia is a Bulgarian non-binary artist. Their art combines mostly performance, dance and photography. Some of their main inspiration comes from different shapes, images, Bulgarian folklore and gender as a form of expression.

Self Portrait, 2019 © uruspia

Simona Mancheva is a visual artist from the Republic of Northern Macedonia and is showing 15 coins from the series Spintriae, which deals with the topic of sex work in the past. Her project challenges the marginalisation of sex workers, deals with sexuality and sexual identities, challenges heteronormativity and above all, calls for liberation from prejudice and stereotypes.

Spintrae, 2013 © Stefanija Milevska

Zara Alexandrova poses sincere questions about what it means to be a woman in contemporary society through an ironic – sometimes - mocking prism which calls for a reconsideration of the role and phenomenology of femininity and female sexuality in a world dominated by symbols and images that strive to define it in their own strict terms. With works drawing their inspirations from various sources (social media, childhood memories, classical art history), the artist takes a critical position towards the politics of attraction and the female sensuality as the subject of mere voyeuristic desire. One of the works presented is this encrusted cooking knife. In the orthodox and conservative societies there is a significant prevalence of the stereotypical woman as the person who does the housework. Cooking, cleaning, washing, taking care of the children are by default women obligations. The object refers to the perseverance of the femininity over the biases of the commons.

For the Love of Housewife, 2014 © Zara Alexandrova

Moreover, on Thursday 28th, art videos and documentary shorts by 4 different artists from different countries will be screened. Imogen Mansfield (GB), Nnenna Onuoha (NG/GH), Özlem Sariyildiz (TR) and Sandra Bak Jahun Joriku-Mita (PL) are presenting works exploring topics such as women and the reclaiming of unused space, visibility, aesthetics, perfection and the constructing of the body, insecurities, feminine censorship and oppression, the inner divine feminine, homelands, identities and migration. 

SIX – Part IV: Margherita, 2019 © Imogen Mansfield

Visit till December 6th. They have also coffee and other surprizes.

Club der polnischen Versager Ackerstraße 169 10115 Berlin, Germany

The event is part of the Bulgarian Diaspora Network Initiative (BUDNI) and is financially supported by the European Solidarity Corps.

This years Berlin Art Week, one of the main contemporary art events in Germany, besides its main goal to show the unique cultural diversity of Berlin's art „Szene“ was more or less devoted to the fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago and the impact now on the urban and social development of the city.

I write this review a week after, when the emotions and excitement are cooled down and the impressions cooked.

Well, let's start with

Ulrike Rosenbach, from the series Aphrodite TV, 1975

Akademie der Künste

Magic Media – Media Magic

Video art since the 1970s from the Wulf-Herzogenrath-Archive

12 September – 13 October 2019, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin

An absolute highlight, with carefully selected works and intriguing introduction to the development of the video art. Wulf Herzogenrath is a famous curator and an German Academy of Arts Member, who has made a crucial contribution to the establishment of video art in Germany. I will just mention the first solo show of Nam June Paik in Europe in the far 1976 in Cologne.

A rare chance to see highlights of video art and sculpture from the 60s and onwards, as well as written material, documents, sketches, photographs and Nam June Paik's legendary artists guest books, which have followed the artistic production and the history of video art to this day.

Works by all of John Cage, Vito Acconci, Rebecca Horn, Ulrike Rosenbach, Bill Viola and rising star Rafaela Vogel are not to be missed at Magic Media – Media Magic. 

And while on the wave of the sixties, next stop is

Summer of Love, view


Yes, the Summer of Love

Art, Fashion and Rock and Roll 15.06 – 20.10.2019 Unter den Linden 5, 10117 Berlin 

1967 – feminism, sexual revolution, LSD, environmental movements, equal rights, interdisciplinary approach and many, many more – a breakthrough point in the new human history.

Some of the highlights -Wes Wilson's iconic rock posters, Bill Ham's Kinetic Light Painting, and Victor Moscoso's flickering posters. As well numerous unique pieces of clothing , photographs, avant-garde films, record covers. Organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with Deutsche Bank.

Bill Ham turned concerts of bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead to multimedial, multisensory events, which later on boosted the development of the rave and techno.

No Photos on the Dance Flore! - exhibition view

C/O Berlin

No Photos on the Dance Floor! Berlin 1989 – Today 

13.09 – 30.11.19

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, clubs, bars, galleries, and studios began popping up everywhere, filling empty buildings, factories, and vacant lots with life. This young club and cultural scene became the driving force behind the city’s rejuvenation, pointing the way for a new generation of young creatives. And while techno was not invented in Berlin, what was happening in the city during this period at events like Tekknozid and in clubs like Ufo, Tresor, and Planet can be seen as a kind of “big bang”—the inception of the last major youth culture movement in Europe to date. he exhibition project No Photos on the Dance Floor! Berlin 1989—Today documents the history of Berlin’s club scene since the fall of the Wall and brings that history to life in club nights at C/O Berlin.

Katja Novitskova, Pattern of Activation (mamaRoo nursery, down chorus),2017

Hamburger Bahnhof

Preis der Nationalgalerie 2019

Invalidenstraße 50-51, 10557 Berlin

Pauline Curnier Jardin, Simon Fujiwara, Flaka Haliti and Katja Novitskova

Maybe the most important and influential prize for young artists in Germany, awarded every two years and opening doors to the mighty museum institutions and biennales. Among the former winners and nominees are names like Olafur Eliasson, Elmgreen and Dragset, Ciprien Gaillard, Tacita Dean and Anne Imhof.

The highly intellectual, very different and complex artistic language of the shortlisted artists makes this joint exhibition a very special experience. Take your time. This year the winner is Pauline Curnier Jardin, the audience award is still open to vote.

Bjørn Melhus , can you see my art?, 2018

Kindl-Centre for Contemporary Art

Bjørn Melhus „Free Update“ 


Am Sudhaus 3, 12053 Berlin

The Kindl Centre for Contemporary Art is an impressive industrial monument in Neukoeln, a former beer factory producing the most popular Berlin beer brand. Since 2016 it is used as an exhibition venue with unique opportunities for site-specific works.

There, in the Maschinenhaus M1,the solo exhibition of the norwegian artist Bjørn Melhus „Free Update“ is to be seen. Melhus develops multi-layered narratives in which he places stereotypical characters, which he always embodies himself, in strange situations. The cube-shaped Kesselhaus with a twenty meter height is housing the large format Photographies of Bettina Pousttchi. And, while you are there, a coffee break in the Brew House with its six enormous copper kettles, once the largest of their kind in Europe, is particularly impressive.



Haus der Statistik, Alessandersplatz, KUNSTrePUBLIK

Haus der Statistik

Statista. Staatskunst, Pioniernutzung, Repräsentation at Statista

May-December 2019

Haus der Statistik, Karl-Marx-Allee 1, 10178 Berlin

Programm and documentation: 4

The 50,000 m² urban ruin of Haus der Statistik, situated right next to Alexanderplatz in the heart of the city, houses numerous projects, where various artist collectives develop prototypes for an urban society based on the commons. A collaboration between Moabees, KUNSTrePUBLIK, The Hyveeyes Project and Nascent resulted in the project BeeCoin, a cryptocurrency reflecting the reproductive labour of bees and one could even visit the beehives in the building.

On the rooftop is placed the signage „ALLESANDERSPLATZ“ ( Altogether Different Square) by KUNSTrePUBLIK, questioning the upcoming redevelopment of the area and calling for a rethinking of the already twenty years old planes.



Opening preparations