Ana Finel Honigman’s Top 10 Berlin Shows: Sept – Oct, 2011

My Autumn began trapped in Vermont after Hurricane Irene cracked the only bridge between my family’s annual summer rental and the roads back to Manhattan. Returning to Europe was an odyssey. Yet, the overall experience was an extraordinary reminder of nature’s power, as well as peoples’ enormous generosity, community spirit and ability. For everyone keen to help the good people in real need in Rochester, Vermont: you can make contributions at

And for readers visiting Berlin: here is my pick from the exciting array of exhibitions welcoming me home….



Once Upon a Time: Fantastic Narratives in Contemporary Video
Francis Alÿs, Cao Fei, Pierre Huyghe, Aleksandra Mir, Mika Rottenberg, Janaina Tschäpe
8 July – 9 October 2011
Deutsche Guggenheim
Unter den Linden 13/15
10117 Berlin

Video’s dream-like qualities make it a wonderful forum for wish-fulfillment fantasies. “Once Upon a Time: Fantastic Narratives in Contemporary Video” presents work by six significant contemporary artists from the Guggenheim’s collection. These delightful videos are enchanting examples of the fresh fables, myths and fairy-tales that video enables us to indulgently enact.



“I am right here right now”
03 September – 01 October 2011
Galerie Johann König
Dessauer Straße 6-7
10963 Berlin
+44 (0) 30 26 10 30 80

Danish artist Jeppe Hein is a master manipulator, in a positive sense. Hein is best known for large interactive sculptures that stimulate complex and immediate social interactions between viewers. Yet his fourth solo-show with Galerie Johann König highlights a different aspect of his art-practice. Here, Hein’s 900 framed watercolors elegantly offer insight into his motives as an artist and his generous respect for viewers’ ability to interpret and craft art’s meaning.



Deviant Instinct
07 September – 05 October 2011
Circleculture Art GmbH
Gipsstrasse 11
10119 Berlin
+49 (0) 30 275 81 78 86

Few artists successfully match to Walton Ford’s mastery. Kevin Earl Taylor is a rare peer to Ford’s technical and conceptual prowess. Both artists share an impeccable ability to render animals with astute emotional and narrative complexity thereby evoking our full empathy for them. Taylor’s particular talent is creating expressive phantasmagorical exchanges between unrelated species. His gorgeous high-varnish oil-paintings represent a utopia beyond one where lions lay with lambs. In his wonderful world, even octopuses cuddle with buffalo and jelly-fish tickle Siamese cats…


Glue your Eyelids together
09 September – 01 October 2011
Brunnenstrasse 7
10119 Berlin
+49 (0) 30 40 50 49 53

Emilie Pitoiset’s witty, wondrous sculptures and videos play with our conventional modes of perception and our misguided desires to distinguish between reality and fantasy. The young Paris and Berlin-based artist is gaining significant stature for work combining Dada-ist references, appropriated imagery, firearms and unicorns.


09 September – 02 October 2011
Künstlerhaus Bethanien
Kohlfurter Str.41/43
10999 Berlin
+49 (0) 30616903-0

“Matthias” BAADER Holst was a fearless voice for Berlin’s silenced artistic population during the GDR period of cultural repression. As a poet, draftsman, filmmaker, publisher and performer, the strikingly gaunt and graceful BAADER Horst became the personification of Berlin’s stifled artistic community. However his legacy is troublingly underrepresented outside Germany. One reason for this neglect might be that his untimely death from tram accident curtailed his reign on Berlin’s cultural scene and kept him from fully experiencing Berlin’s post-wall liberation and artistic rebirth. This retrospective of his readings, performance films and stills and interviews promises to re-awaken awareness and appreciation for the man dubbed “the GDR’s only true Punk-Dadaist.”


Antinomies : Gegensätze
09 September – 22 October 2011
galerie OPEN by Alexandra Rockelmann
Legiendamm 18-20 (Engelbecken)
10179 Berlin
+49 (0) 30 27 58 28 10

In art, like all worthy endeavors, no pain equals no gain. Without pushing personal boundaries, artists become lazy and their creativity grows stale. Madeline Stillwell and Allison Fall are in zero danger of this happening to them. While testing their own perimeters, Stillwell and Fall demonstrate the importance of bending boundaries for all artists. Their performances involve high-impact confrontations between their bodies and their surroundings. While Stillwell daringly crawls and battles the hazardous structures she constructs in galleries, Fall fights her way through piles of chocolate and clay. Nether artist is scared of physical strain. They both have strong backgrounds in professional dance and forms of exercise that inherently balance strength and grace. By using their bodies to metaphorically best immediate challenges, Fall and Stillwell enact universal creative struggles and successfully transcend them.


This House is my Body
10 Sept – 22 Oct 2011
Strassburger Str. 6-8
10405 Berlin
+49 30 755 24 626

Erika La Tour Eiffel (the woman whose “objectum sexuality” compelled her to marry the Eiffel Tower) would certainly appreciate Sophie Erlund’s touching efforts to move past mere anthropomorphization or self-centered fetishism towards recognizing buildings’ “soul.” For her current project, the Danish artist fixed contact microphones to private and domestic buildings cited for demolition. For three years, she recorded minute vibrations in the physical materials. The resulting recordings are haunted by the possibility that objects have an “inner-life” beyond our projections or imaginations.


Cloud Cities
15 September 2011 – 15 January 2012
Hamburger Bahnoff
Invalidenstraße 50-51
10557 Berlin, Germany
+49 (0)30 266424242

Tomás Saraceno allows viewers to realize our universal dream of weightlessness. The Frankfurt-based Tucuman/Argentinan artist offers Berliners this utopian opportunity in a solo show featuring twenty balloon models, never seen together before. The simple joy that his installations evoke masks their incredible construction and his fascinating blurring of the boundaries between architecture and art. While his inspirations are spider webs and soap bubbles, Saraceno’s work is never intellectually light-weight or conceptually flimsy.


making oneself, making oneself
17 September – 6 November 2011
Kavi Gupta BERLIN
Kluckstraße 31
10785 Berlin
+49 (0) 176 323 60906

Chicago-based conceptual photographer Curtis Mann masks photographic paper, sprays it with bleach, and then develops select portions to transform overlooked photographic materials into abstract art. Whereas canvas and paint are now common subjects, as well as mediums, for art – photographic materials are rarely appreciated for their own unique beauty. Mann’s elegant, sparse and compelling pieces draw new attention to photography’s aesthetic potential.


23 September – 29 October 2011
Lucas Carrieri Art Gallery
Potsdamerstr. 103, 1° E
10785 Berlin
+49 (0) 30 26391619

Mode 2’s paintings of luscious and lusty nude women add spice to the streets of numerous cities. For his first solo exhibition at a Berlin gallery, the masterful graffiti artist explores his understandable obsession with hot women through a series of witty and self-aware large-scale canvas paintings. Mode 2’s style recalls the energy and rhythm of Thomas Hart Benton or the Ernie Barnes’s intoxicating “Sugar Shack” painting, which was featured in the intro to TV’s iconic “Good Times.” His bold and intense imagery has all the chutzpah and thrill of the dirty, illicit sex that he depicts.

About the author

ANA FINEL HONIGMAN is a Berlin-based critic and curator. She writes on contemporary art and fashion for publications including, Sleek,, V, TANK, Art in America,, Art Journal, Whitewall, Dazed & Confused and British Vogue. As a Senior Correspondent for Saatchi Online's magazine, Ana contributes exhibition reviews from Berlin, among other things. Contact her at:

One Comment

  1. christopher says:

    hmm, nice bit of tongue action going on there,

    i’ve got a long tongue…


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