A Weekly Digital Diary
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Letter From Berlin



Willkommen: Hier finden Sie die deutsche Version des Briefes aus Berlin.

Welcome to the Letter from Berlin!

We return with a focus on our artists’ exhibitions, projects, press and other news.

While we hope you will visit our exhibitions in Berlin this fall, if you cannot we offer a number of ways to explore them digitally, from dedicated Online Viewing Rooms with short exhibition videos to private zoom tours available on request.

This Letter from Berlin introduces new documentation for Philippe Parreno’s Manifestations and Ugo Rondinone’s nuns + monks. Both exhibitions remain on view through October 17.

This weekend the Lenbachhaus presents Ari Benjamin Meyers' K Club at Blitz Club in Munich. Also in Munich, Gabriel Kuri's exhibition as part of Various Others remains on view at Walter Storms Galerie through October 31. Please find detailed information below.

Finally, we highlight major interviews and press.


Exhibition view: Philippe Parreno, Manifestations, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rossetti


It was the sound of birdsong in Philippe Parreno’s Manifestations that started my thought experiment: are we experiencing the exhibition through the filter of recent events? In Berlin, as in other cities when much of the traffic noises of daily life ceased this spring, birds could be heard much clearer—and, it seemed, louder. Some articles suggested the animals were experiencing less noise-related stress and thus could also sing more complex songs.

Once I made this connection, the drip drip drip of the amplified water sounds, even the mysterious ever-changing landscape of the artist’s new CGI film fit neatly into this scenario of lockdown imagery of empty streets and deserted city squares. My sci-fi saturated imagination quickly integrated the buzzing of the marquee with its blinking lights and humming neon into post-apocalyptic desolation. Might the sounds of songbirds, seagulls or owls, of dripping water and howling waves, the sight of the melting Iceman, or the large Plexiglas clock with its animated mechanism have registered differently (perhaps more insistently in terms of ecological issues) otherwise?

Exhibition view: Ugo Rondinone, nuns + monks, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rossetti

The quiet grandeur of Ugo Rondinone’s nuns + monks, the secular ecclesiastics standing apart in the vast space exuding introspection and self-containment, even the bronze window at the far end of the huge industrial space could be integrated into a similar narrative. As I watched visitors move among the works—the serenity of the three meters high sculptures inflected by the playfulness of their bright colors—I wondered if their curiosity about the materiality of the works or the mock embraces of the cast bronze sculptures some visitors attempted was a function of sensual deprivation.

Exhibition view: Philippe Parreno, Manifestations, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rossetti

But how do you compensate for a pandemic influencing your perception?

It is not just the manifest—projecting some kind of traces of isolation and changed habits onto works or subject matter—but a more general change this year has brought about, of looking for more profound encounters. As we see less, it is supposed to count more. We chose more carefully and also expect more. The reasons to create and to engage with art have gained urgency as existential questions surfaced with full force.

My dislike of any kind of oversimplification recoils from any direct causality. These two exhibitions, long planned, have nothing to do with their current context. They are, of course, neither commentary nor expression of some vague notion of Zeitgeist—a term that has disappeared from art historical writing for good reason. And yet, the combination of specificity and openness that characterizes the most interesting works of art has allowed for these two exhibitions to register very much of the moment—and as entirely independent from it—exactly a function of their deeply felt precision.

Context enriches but it does not cling: how could we look at any art otherwise and not be overwhelmed by the conditions of its creation? Art carries its contextual burden lightly.

—Isabelle Moffat

Exhibition view: Ugo Rondinone, nuns + monks, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rossetti


Philippe Parreno Online Viewing Room - online now


Ugo Rondinone Online Viewing Room - online now


Ari Benjamin Meyers, Lenbachhaus at Blitz Club - this weekend in Munich

Ari Benjamin Meyers, K Club, 2019, performance, environment, neon sign, 2 12-inch, LP vinyl records, installation dimensions variable
Exhibition view: Ari Benjamin Meyers, In Concert, OGR, Turin, 2019
Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Ari Benjamin Meyers
K Club
Lenbachhaus at Blitz Club, Munich
October 9 – 10, 2020, 7:30 pm to 12 am

For his performance K Club, Ari Benjamin Meyers stages a musical encounter for one person at a time. A ten-minute music track takes each visitor on a condensed journey through an entire night out clubbing. By mixing two vinyl records with the same track composed by Ari Benjamin Meyers and Deadbeat, a unique score is created live by the DJ for each visitor.

DJ: Tiefschwarz / Basti. Curated by Eva Huttenlauch, curator at Lenbachhaus, and Sarah Haugeneder, board, Various Others

Gabriel Kuri, VARIOUS OTHERS, Walter Storms Galerie - Munich

Left: Gabriel Kuri, Self Portrait As Chart With Parallel Peaks And Overlapping Lines, 2015, insulation roll, string, plastic bottle, plastic bag and undisclosed liquids, 110 x 100 x 20 cm; Right: Privacy Standards, 2015, aluminum and polyester folding screens, aluminum blankets, wooden sticks, tape, 210 x 358 x 128 cm
Photo © Philipp Schönborn

Gabriel Kuri
Various Others Munich 2020
Hosted by Walter Storms Galerie
Schellingstraße 48
80799 Munich
through October 31, 2020

Taking place every September, Various Others initiates cooperative and international art projects in galleries, artist–run spaces and museums in Munich, serving as a content-driven forum for contemporary art. As part of Various Others Munich 2020 Esther Schipper is pleased to present the work of Gabriel Kuri in cooperation with Walter Storms Galerie.

Gabriel Kuri’s eloquent and compelling oeuvre encompasses sculpture, collage, and installation and is marked by the use of repurposed natural, industrial, and mass-produced elements including shells, insulation foam, or soda cans. A recurring theme in his work is “spent” time, energy, or currency and many pieces include traces of past human activities in the form of empty bottles, cigarette butts, or ticket stubs.

Please find our exhibition dossier HERE.

Tune in - live stream the exhibition

Exhibition view: Philippe Parreno, Manifestations, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rosseti

Listen to the sound of Philippe Parreno's Manifestations via a live stream directly on the Esther Schipper website! ⁠⠀

Listen here

Recent Press

In advance of her major solo exhibition at K21 in Düsseldorf Hito Steyerl gave a comprehensive interview to Monopol's Elke Buhr. The exhibition opened on September 26 and continues through January 10, 2021.
Hito Steyerl's exhibition in Düsseldorf is the subject of a review by Catherine Hickley in Artsy.
Under the title The Science Fiction That Inspires Philippe Parreno, the artist and Pablo Larios talked about his exhibition for Frieze online.
Liam Gillick spoke with J.J. Charlesworth about The State of Things to Come in ArtReview's September issue.

Guess Whose Studio

Welcome to the next installment!

Our artists open their studio doors and invite you to guess whose studio.⁠
A number of clues to get you on the right track: ⁠

1. Amazonia of minimalism⁠
2. Collecting during quarantine
3. Everyday objects are jewels
4. Bank notes, blankets, cigarette paper, and water levels feature heavily⁠⠀⁠⠀
Esther Schipper GmbH, Potsdamer Stra├če 87, 10785 Berlin