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30 years of KW: Anniversary weekend in September, 37 Räume REVISITED and publication “KW, a history”.

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Entrance Kunst-Werke Berlin, Auguststraße 69, circa 1991 (Photographer: unknown)

KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e. V., the supporting association of KW Institute for Contemporary Art and the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021. The highlight of the programme is the anniversary weekend on 18 and 19 September with a multifaceted programme of events and performances created in collaboration with the Performance Agency and the youth panel Schattenmuseum, as well as the publication of an extensive publication on the 30-year history of the institution.

Philippe Van Snick, Dag/Night, 1984-continuous, installation view entrance gate KW Institute for Contemporary Art; Courtesy Tatjana Pieters; Photo: Frank Sperling


For Kunst-Werke Berlin, 1992 was marked by the realisation of the exhibition 37 Räume, which took place parallel to the opening of documenta IX in Kassel and at short notice had a large number of Berlin-based women artists, curators and critics occupy 37 rooms along Auguststraße. Today, 37 Rooms can be read as a prototype for the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art.

As part of 30 Years of KW, the concept of 37 Spaces will be taken up again in the neighbourhood on 18 and 19 September 2021, leading visitors along the Scheunenviertel to Auguststraße 69. On both days, a performance and music programme will be shown here, as well as interventions by the collective Jugendgremium Schattenmuseum, which playfully explore the (archival) structures and founding processes of a contemporary art institution.

In addition to the exhibition and anniversary programme, workshops and guided tours will take place on site throughout the day on 19 September. The current exhibitions are open on 18 September from 11 am to 9 pm and on 19 September from 11 am to 7 pm with free admission.

Philippe Van Snick, Dag/Nacht, 1984 – ongoing
Installation view entrance gate KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Photo: Frank Sperling, Courtesy Tatjana Pieters

Saturday, 18 September 2021, 11 am – 10 pm
Am ersten Tag des Jubiläumswochenendes (hosted by Krist Gruijthuijsen and Pansy) erwartet Sie ein musikalisches Programm mit Chorkompositionen von Colin Self, die von der Berliner Cappella und Gastsänger:innen unter der Leitung von Sergi Gili Solé aufgeführt und von gestalterischen Arrangements Justin Wongs begleitet werden. Zudem lädt Battle-ax unter dem Titel String Concert I & II drei Solo Streichinstrumentalist:innen ein, im Rahmen zweier Konzerte gemeinsam aufzutreten. Ein DJ-Set von Eric D. Clark leitet den Abend ein, zudem bespielen Peaches & Clusterfuck mit einem Live-Konzert den Hof der KW.

Sunday, 19 September 2021, 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday offers a varied programme with guided tours of the current exhibitions Zeros and Ones and Michael Stevenson Disproof Does Not Equal Disbelief, the workshop Skurrile Bauten, the Game of Life by the youth panel Schattenmuseum and a DJ set by Chino Amobi.

Based on the architecture of Café Bravo and other buildings, familiar objects are playfully expanded and redesigned with unusual shapes in the workshop Skurrile Bauten. In this way, small whimsical fantasy buildings are created that find a new home in the KW courtyard or elsewhere.

In the Game of Life, organised by the youth committee Shadow Museum, visitors go through a fictitious Using various event cards, visitors go through a fictitious life course that addresses questions around identity, community, love, gender and migration. For the 30th anniversary of KW, the Shadow Museum Youth Committee is presenting an updated version of this game, which was originally created in 2018 as part of the exhibition A for Jewish.

Entrance gate / Installation view
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Photo: Frank Sperling

Saturday & Sunday

On both Saturday and Sunday, the Shadow Museum Youth Panel invites you to workshops, interactive installations and an exhibition.

Back to ME is an installation curated by the youth panel Schattenmuseum on the occasion of KW’s 30th anniversary. The young people open up an interactive space that invites visitors to come to terms with themselves. Prejudices of others can be separated from self-perception here. The space offers an intimate atmosphere for self-reflection and can also serve as a place for silent communication.

Starting from the KW archive and its first projects in the early 1990s, the youth panel Schattenmuseum 2021 inscribes itself in KW with an interactive intervention. The focus is on the slide. Visitors are invited to develop and present curatorial concepts for their own spaces, accompanied by the Shadow Museum Youth Committee. Guided tours, experiments and performative workshops form the framework for an archive and slide workshop for all visitors.

During the anniversary weekend, Tino Sehgal will re-stage his work Kiss, which was performed at the 4th Berlin Biennale in 2006. In Café Bravo, designed by Dan Graham, visitors can wander between the constructed situations Kiss and Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things.

The Commission Roundabout project by Albrecht Pischel with sculptural works by Michaela Melián, Olu Oguibe, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Kris Lemsalu Malone & Kyp Malone Lemsalu, Raed Yassin, Ingo Niermann and Nschotschi Haslinger and the performance Conversation Piece II will also be on show. For Conversation Piece II, The Performance Agency revives the “Hameau de la Reine” – Marie-Antoinette’s enlarged skirt – in a new outfit designed by Celeste Burlina. The ball gown functions as a pavilion for private encounters that can take place under the skirt in the comfort and intimacy of a boudoir. Visitors are invited to meet and have one-on-one conversations with a number of people interwoven with the institution and its history.

From 1 September, appointments can be made on the Performance Agency website for Talks can be arranged. Walk-ins are welcome!

atelier le balto – Archipel, 2017, Various materials,
Courtesy atelier le balto, Photos: Frank Sperling

In reference to the Salon Kartenrecht, the members of the KW Aufbauteam show their artistic works in the exhibition 9:9:2. The artists’ group Kartenrecht was founded in the early 2000s by KW staff members, who presented their own exhibitions in a small room on the 3rd floor of KW, the “Salon”. The room was closed as part of fire protection and renovation work. The exhibition 9:9:2, which will take place during the anniversary weekend in the front building of KW and in Studio 8 (Grüntaler Str. 8, 13357 Berlin), revives the idea of the Salon Kartenrecht.

30 years of KW: Commissioned works

In the context of 30 years of KW, the three commissioned works Rosa (2002/2021) by Susan Philipsz, Deutschland wird deutscher (1993/2021) by Katharina Sieverding and KWOPE_2021 (2021) by Sissel Tolaas have been created, which you can hear, see, feel and smell in the courtyard and building of KW during the anniversary weekend.

From a horn loudspeaker mounted above the entrance to the KW courtyard, Rosa is heard at regular intervals – a hymn that commemorates the German revolutionaries Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht and is often sung at political demonstrations.

The poster campaign Deutschland wird deutscher by Katharina Sieverding was first shown in Berlin in 1993. The poster action, which was largely prevented in Württemberg municipalities, was taken by the cultural scene in Berlin as a welcome opportunity to put up Sieverding’s work in the federal capital. On the occasion of KW’s 30th anniversary, a re-installation of Deutschland wird deutscher could be seen on billboards in Berlin’s urban space from April to May 2021. The work will last be shown in the KW courtyard passageway during the anniversary weekend.

On the occasion of KW’s 30th anniversary, Sissel Tolaas has created an edition of soaps that she has collected from documented and recreated odour molecules of KW’s building at Auguststraße 69, a former margarine factory.

Café Bravo designed by Dan Graham in 1999 in the courtyard of KW (pictured back) // atelier le balto – Archipel, 2017, Various materials, Courtesy atelier le balto, Photos: Frank Sperling


In the anniversary year, a comprehensive publication on the history of KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e. V. is being published for the first time as the result of the research work of VW Fellow Jenny Dirksen. The publication provides insights into the extensive archives of KW and the Berlin Biennale and tells a multi-voiced institutional history on 496 pages – with essays by Klaus Biesenbach, Jenny Dirksen, Susanne von Falkenhausen and Jan Verwoert as well as a detailed chronicle with short texts by Eva Scharrer, an exhibition list, photographs, invitation cards, posters, press reports and memories of contemporary witnesses and companions from three decades.

The publication KW, a history is edited by Klaus Biesenbach, Jenny Dirksen, Krist Gruijthuijsen and Gabriele Horn and is published by DISTANZ Verlag as part of the anniversary programme of KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e. V.. It was made possible by the support of Volkswagen AG, Ólafur Elíasson, Julia Stoschek, the Marina Kellen French Foundation, wissensART and KW Freunde.

DE 978-3-95476-371-9
EN 978-3-95476-372-6
Price: 44 EUR

The launch of the publication will take place on 16 September at 6 pm at the premises of DISTANZ Verlag (Hallesches Ufer 78, 10963 Berlin). As places are limited, please register in advance by 14 September at info@distanz.de. For up-to-date information on the anniversary weekend, please visit the KW INstitute website. The entire programme for the 30th anniversary can be found here.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Auguststraße 69
10117 Berlin-Mitte

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