The School of Mutants,
The School of Mutants, "All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other", exhibited at the Akademie der Künste in Pariser Platz as part of the 12th Berlin Biennale. Photo: dotgain.info

Around 70 artists and collectives from different countries make up the exhibition program for the 12th Berlin Biennale, which opens its doors to the public this Saturday, June 11. Presenting artistic projects and mediation programs in various locations in the German capital, the special event seeks to contribute with new perspectives to contemporary cultural discourse. This year, the curatorship of Kader Attia – made in collaboration with the artistic team – focuses on the impacts of colonial and imperialist heritage and the possibilities of resistance and reparation based on decoloniality.

Curator Kader Attia with the artistic team of the 12th Berlin Biennale; from left to the right, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Noam Segal, Kader Attia, Đỗ Tường Linh, Rasha Salti, Marie Helene Pereira. Photo: Silke Briel

“The dystopian society we have inherited produces chaos, but denies responsibility for it. In fact, the current world is the way it is because it bears all the wounds accumulated throughout the history of Western modernity. Unrepaired, they continue to haunt societies”, states Kader Attia in his curatorial text.

In light of this, the Berlin Biennale presents artists from around the world who have engaged with the legacies of modernity and its resulting state of planetary emergency to develop their work, and brings historical documents, including political and activist publications from the Archiv der Avantgarden – Egidio Marzona. The contributions reveal connections between colonialism, fascism and imperialism, proposing strategies for the future and raising a series of questions that guide the event: “How can a decolonial ecology be shaped? What roles do non-Western feminist movements play in the reappropriation of historical narratives? How can the restitution debate be reinvented beyond the return of looted goods? Can the field of emotion be recovered through art?”, explains the official text of the show.

How to think about reparation in capitalism?

Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr's 2018 report on the restitution of African cultural heritage sparked a broad conversation about colonialism in Europe. Institutions began to get involved with their colonial heritage and review the looted objects present in their collections; governments have committed to restitution. “These are the first steps towards the reappropriation of cultural heritage and decolonization. But how can this willingness to confront the colonial past be used to intervene in a present that is firmly in the grip of what Cedric J. Robinson has called racial capitalism – describing capitalism as a system based on the exploitation of a racially constructed Other? share the biennial team..

In order to delve deeper into this discussion, the guided tours, workshops, performances, film screenings and conferences that run parallel to the show take on the debate invite scholars, activists and artists to explore how colonialism and imperialism continue to operate in the present. In these activities, participants address the impact of Europe's imperial expansion on Earth's ecosystems, discuss contemporary struggles and strategies around Global South feminisms, and analyze how racism is supported by cultural technologies. See the complete program on the German biennial website (please click here).

The choice of exhibition spaces for the shows also sought to echo these reflections. THE arte!brasileiros prepared a list with important information about the six institutions that host the German biennial. Check out:

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

It was in this space that, in 1998, the Berlin Biennale was inaugurated. Since then, the institution – which aims to address the pressing issues of our times through the production, exhibition and mediation of contemporary art – has hosted the show's main exhibition.

Where: Auguststraße 69, 10117 – Berlin, Germany
When: Wednesday to Monday, 11 am to 19 pm

Akademie der Kunste

For the first time, the Berlin Biennale occupies the two offices of the Akademie der Künste, on Pariser Platz and on Hanseatenweg. Founded in 1696, the institution underwent a split after the Second World War, which established a unit in the East and another in the West, which returned to work together after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the 12th edition of the German exhibition, each space receives a group exhibition.

Hanseatenweg Headquarters
Where: Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 – Berlin, Germany
When: Wednesday to Monday, 11 am to 19 pm

Pariser Platz Headquarters
Where: Pariser Platz 4, 10117 – Berlin, Germany
When: Wednesday to Monday, 11 am to 19 pm

Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City

The solo show by the artist Nil Yalter occupies the headquarters of the pilot project Dekoloniale Memory Culture in the City, which seeks to identify post-colonial effects present in the metropolis. The space is located between the former buildings of the Reich Chancellery and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where envoys from the European powers, the United States and the Ottoman Empire met for the Berlin Conference (1884) and signed an agreement on the rules for the colonial division of Africa, creating the necessary conditions for its exploitation.

Where: Wilhelmstraße 92, 10117 – Berlin, Germany
When: Can be visited at any time (facade showcase)
Free entrance

Headquarters Stasi. Democracy Campus

The former headquarters of the Berlin Ministry of State Security (Stasi) was the space where state officials organized the surveillance and persecution of citizens of the German Democratic Republic and conducted foreign espionage operations – both to support the Communist Party of Germany government. Eastern. In January 1990, protesters invaded the space, causing the end of the Stasi and the destruction of its archives. Today, this former bastion of the secret police is an educational center on dictatorship, resistance and democracy and hosts one of the biennial's group exhibitions.

Where: Ruschestraße 103, Haus 7 and 22, 10365 – Berlin, Germany
When: Wednesday to Monday, 11 am to 18 pm
Free entrance

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart

Currently, the institution houses one of the largest and most significant collections of contemporary art in the world. The approximately 10 square meters of building feature works from the National Gallery and other important international collections, in addition to receiving occasional thematic exhibitions, such as the biennial collective.

Where: Invalidenstraße 50–51, 10557 – Berlin, Germany
When: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10 am to 18 pm; Thursday, from 10 am to 20 pm; Saturday and Sunday, from 11 am to 18 pm

Can be purchased online or in person (at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, at the Akademie der Künste – Pariser Platz, or at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin), tickets allow individual entry into the different exhibition spaces and are valid for the entire duration. of the biennial.

Single: 18 €
Groups of 10 or more people: €16 per person
Reduced price ticket*: €9
Reduced price ticket* (groups): €7 per person
Free admission for under 18s, people with berlinpass, members of Freunde of KW and Berlin Biennale, and on the first Sunday of every month.

*Reduced value is valid for students, people in federal voluntary service, BBK members, unemployed people and people with disabilities (PwD specifications in the event website) upon presentation of valid identification.

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