Berlin is always exciting during Art Week, but this year even more so with the opening of Fotografiska – the Swedish Contemporary Museum of Photography, Art and Culture in the famous Tacheles building on Oranienburger Straße, Mitte. The private institution was officially inaugurated on September 14th with a comprehensive program of three exhibitions, live musical productions and DJ sets spread across the rooms of the 5,500 square meter location. The lively housewarming party gathered the most fashionable and hip guests who enjoyed performances by Peaches and Juliana Huxtable, as well as the inaugural vernissage over a drink.
Fotografiska Berlin’s individual exhibitions are publicly accessible and encompass: NUDE is a group exhibition that features 30 female artists from 20 different countries who challenge the concept of nudity in art. The curators, Johan Vikner and Thomas Schäfer have paired over 200 works in various mediums, including digital art, sculpture, and body painting, all of which address taboos and societal norms surrounding the depiction of the naked human body. Among many fascinating works to be seen in this exhibition, Elinor Carucci’s Midlife series of photos is both intimate and touching, offering access to a personal story through a visual discourse on what a long-term relationship means with its beauty and challenges. On the other hand, Brooke DiDonato questions the notion of realism in everyday life, depicting scenes, landscapes, and domestic spaces in the most bizarre scenarios.
On a different tone, visitors can see the second exhibition, Juliana Huxtable’s – USSYPHILIA, displaying both existing and new works by multimedia artist, writer, performer, and Berghain regular DJ. Juliana’s new video installations, as well as the ongoing AKIMBO-SPITTLE series, deal with the notion of gender, race, limiting identity, queerness, and sexuality as a response to the political and social climate.
“We are proud to present the largest solo exhibition in Europe of Juliana Huxtable, which will embody the artistic trajectory of a multifaceted artist. Starting with her essayistic approach to visual representation, the narrative is developed through the performative painting of her body and posing in front of the camera. The self-portraits become poetry with references, a photograph that is painted, printed, and then constructed anew,” said Marina Paulenka, Director of Exhibitions at Fotografiska Berlin.
On the top floor of the building, one can find WHITEFACE, a solo exhibition by the well-known contemporary South African artist, Candice Breitz. Her two-channel video installation is based on an archive of collected footage fragments that document white people discussing race and presents a powerful critique of white supremacist dogma. The artist appropriates dozens of voices of prominent political figures, news anchors, talk show hosts, and anonymous YouTube bloggers through her white body. Breitz’s satirical performance focuses on topics such as neo-Nazi ideologies and far-right propaganda, as well as everyday racism, parodying the absurdity of white extinction anxiety. Whiteface (dated 2022) looping video gives a sense of endlessness, reinforcing the racist clichés through recurring chants that you’ll definitely remember after you leave the room: “White people talking about race! White people talking about race!”
Last but not least, the newly unveiled Café Bar is a great opportunity for visitors to experience what makes Fotografiska special, which according to the participating artist Denisse Ariana Pérez has “the best cinnamon buns in the entire city of Berlin”.
Text by Maria Nitulescu