Ana Finel Honigman’s Top 10 Berlin Shows: Oct-Nov, 2011

2 September – 4 Nov 2011
Allerstr. 38
12049 Berlin
+49 (0) 30 2197 3329

Elena Bertoni and Simone Romano merged into “Anonymous Art” to create collages comprising of lavish fairy-tale imagery and other dream-like sources. Joining them for their Berlin duo is Spanish painter Pia Fernandez. Her similarly inspired collages combine graphic design, illustration and a digital polish. While they stage their exhibition as a confrontation, the three artists actually compliment each other well with their compatible mixture of moods, fantasy imagery and literary visions.

“We are silently illiterate”
6 September – 4 November 2011
Wien Lukatsch
Galerie und Buchhandlung für Kunstbücher
Schöneberger Ufer 65, 3. OG
D – 10785 Berlin

Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball credits her art-works as “uncomfortable objects” yet her colorful, flexible, papier-mâché sculptures appear completely at ease when snaking through the gallery. Another appealing contradiction in her current show is the contrast between her exhibition title, “we are silently illiterate” and her inspiration from fairy-tales and high-brow sources such as Monterroso, Antonin Artaud, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Franz Kafka, and Montaigne. While her sculptures curl and curve like Brazilian orchids, they intelligently leave viewers with a sense of their own physical vulnerability and awkwardness in the space they share.

Darkness with Flickers of Light
09 September – 05 November 2011
Peres Projects
Berlin – Mitte
Große Hamburger Strasse 17
Berlin, Mitte 10115
+49 (0) 30 6162 6962

Dan Attoe’s captivating oil paintings posses the subtly and intrigue of film stills or isolated pivotal sentences from fine-tuned fiction. By combining his training as a writer with his artistic eloquence, Attoe’s paintings convey rich mystery and narrative intricacies. The poetic, emotionally insightful and unnerving paintings in his new show struggle with his fresh awareness of genetics and responsibility since he became a first-time father this year. The results are tender, raw and intelligent.

“At The Moment”
10 Sept – 22 Oct 2011
Galarie Kamm
Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 43
10178 Berlin, Germany
+49 (0) 30 28386464

Among life’s great delights are the moments when an overlooked idiom suddenly seems fresh and can add new sense to circumstances. Albrecht Schäfer aids a rewarding appreciation of the phrase “in the blink of an eye” with his exhibition of video, painting and light installation. Employing an understated and dry aesthetic to these mediums, Schäfer illustrates the optical process and thereby highlights how our everyday visual experiences can be translated into art appreciation.  His images of blinking eyes make us conscious of how we transfer what we see into private information, to be preserved and appreciated as though or language.

10 Sept. – 29 Oct. 2011
Galerie Barbara Thumm
Galerie Markgrafenstrasse 68
D-10969 Berlin
+ 49 (0) 30/283 903 47

In Martin’s Dammann’s current solo exhibition, he shifts subject matter from inherently unnerving scenes of young soldiers to visions of relative peace and banality. Yet his psychedelic impressionist watercolors remain unnerving and arresting. By re-envisioning anonymous vintage photographs, Dammann creates nightmarish scenes of curdled nostalgia. His colors are bright but blended into an overwhelming blur. The feverish combination of acid hues taints his images of faceless bikini-clad girls and people relaxing in a meadow.

“Rapport. Experimental Space Structures”
15 Sept 2011 – 09 April 2012
Berlinische Galerie
Landesmuseum für Moderne
Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts
Alte Jakobstraße 124-128
10969 Berlin
+49 (0)30-789 02-600

J. Mayer H’s walk-in installation for the Berlinische Galerie’s 10-metre high entrance area will ironically thrill art-antagonists and alienate art aficionados. The black-and-white carpet covering the walls, floor and ceiling are printed with bold markings that initially appear innocently decorative. These geometric forms resemble strict abstraction but are actually recreations of classic data-security patterns. The implication plays on art’s assumed impenetrability to outsiders and potential snobbery. Whatever information is embedded in the patterns, the work welcomes viewers to marvel their own pretense of understanding.

Artists: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Jonathan Borofsky,
Marina Abramovic, Louise Bourgeois, Andres Serrano,
Daniel Spoerri, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, George Grosz,
Otto Mueller, Tracey Emin
19 Sept – 29 Oct 2011
Side by Side Gallery Akim Monet
Potsdamer Strasse 81b
10785 Berlin
+49 (0) 30-25 46 09 44

Berlin’s birthrate was a recent cause of mass media concern but anyone angling for a quiet coffee at a Mitte café would never understand the worry. Berliners seem to be breeding fine. In addition to the kids, Berlin is bursting with youthful art spaces. “Fertility” at the newborn Side by Side Gallery explores the literal and symbolic meaning of birth and fecundity.  This fruitful survey show gathers some of the twentieth-century’s greatest artists, as they address one of life’s fundamental issues.

22 Sept – 29 Oct 2011
Sassa Trülzsch
Blumenthalstr. 8
10783 Berlin
+49 30 88 929 775

Sofie Bird Møller converts collages made from glossy fashion editorial pages into elegant blends of figurative forms and abstract paint. The young Danish artist has an especially graceful way with chunky acrylic paint. Her marbleized brush-strokes convey the vitality and passion inherent to all successful fashion imagery. The captivating results are gorgeous in person and would make a stunning magazine spread or even an engaging textile.


“A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters
22 Sept – 1 Jan 2012
Neue Nationalgalerie
Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin, Germany
+49 (0)30 266424242

“A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters” refers to an extraordinary story at the center of Taryn Simon’s eighteen unusual and unnerving biographical photography series. It is also a poetic description of why family-trees captivate us and how Simon’s reveals the nature of our individual identities. For four years, Simon traveled the world to investigate the stories she tells through archival information and unique individual portraits. In the title tale, an Indian man is prematurely declared dead. Her other “chapters” include documentation of feuding families in Brazil, victims of genocide in Bosnia, the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday. Surrounding each key person’s story are images of their family, creating a sense of potential continuity, culpability or responsibility. Underlining her project are thought-provoking questions about identity and destiny.

23 Sept – 29 Oct 2011
Sprüth Magers Berlin
Oranienburger Straße 18
D-10178 Berlin
+49 (0)30 2 88 84 03 0

Thomas Scheibitz’s colorful canvases are deliberately incoherent. There appears to be a pattern of set of recognizable references to Lichtenstein, Mondrian and Jasper Johns in his abstract collections of shapes and pop-art palette, but his visual sentences make no sense. This is their virtue. The oddball aspect to Scheibitz’s art is actually an illustration of the “project MK-ULTRA,” the CIA’s ethically unsound covert exploration into human consciousness. These experiments in the fifties and sixties allegedly employed abusive tactics, untested drugs and hypnosis to manipulate individuals’ relationship with reality. Scheibitz’s paintings are a gentle and jolly rejoinder to this nightmarish history, in which the German artist playfully enjoys safely disorienting his viewers.

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:


  1. alexander scherer says:

    na ja, berlin is not duesseldorf or cologne. “provinziell” is the right word.

  2. martins water-colours are mesmerizing captivating and relaxing! good criticism.

  3. Pat Harris says:

    Bertoni & Romano – Awesome. And good to see that Simon is in NY and Berlin at the same moment.

  4. Imaginative selection nicely balanced with a thread of logic between


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