The Gropius Bau Debuts the Newly Transformed Building and 2019 Exhibition Programme

Gropius Bau

Press release from 14 February 2019

"Opening up the building and revealing its spaces in their original, light-flooded form has been very important to me during my first year at the Gropius Bau. Now we are opening the heart of the building to the public, the stunning atrium. We are inviting everyone to visit this central space free of charge, to see art, to spend time in conversation and exchange here or to simply discover the building in its intricate beauty."
– Stephanie Rosenthal

The public opening of the newly conceived building will take place from 23 - 24 March: a new commission by Chiharu Shiota in the atrium will, as part of the new vision, be freely accessible to the public, the new restaurant Beba and the redesigned Walther König Bookshop will also be open. Coinciding with the opening of the exhibition And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin on the evening of 21 March, the weekend marks the debut of a day-ticket scheme that allows all of the Gropius Bau shows and events to be explored in a single visit.

There will be various events taking place on Saturday 23 March and Sunday 24 March: guided tours, workshops, performances, a talk by artist in residence Otobong Nkanga and an exhibition of artist books curated by the Walther König Bookshop. A coordinated events programme responds to the exhibitions and activates the restaurant, bookshop and foyer as spaces for conversation and discussion, opening up the institution as a dynamic space and a place for communal gatherings with regularly scheduled events.

In the Gropius Bau’s atrium a site-specific installation by Chiharu Shiota, internationally renowned for her complex installations crafted from webs of yarn, will be shown as part of the exhibition And Berlin Will Always Need You. The large-scale installation Beyond Memory will be the first of a series of artworks hosted within the atrium beginning in March 2019. Referencing the former art library at the Gropius Bau, Chiharu Shiota creates a piece of art that floats like an enormous cloud in space. Using scores of white threads, she creates a complex web interwoven with individual pages and historical images of the Gropius Bau.

Beba, the new restaurant at the Gropius Bau, is a partnership between Cynthia Barcomi, Shani Leiderman and Infarm. The creative and colourful, vegetable-focused menu is inspired by ancient Jewish cuisines from around the world. The restaurant features a beautiful indoor vertical garden with a large assortment of herbs and leafy greens, harvested minutes before serving. Alongside the garden-to-table menu, Beba will be serving house-roasted coffee and delicious pastries by Cynthia Barcomi.

After a renovation lasting just under a year, the Walther König Bookshop, which has grown to become an integral part of the Gropius Bau, reopens at the start of the 2019 exhibition season. Alongside postcards, prints and a selection of artistic shop items, König continues to focus on presenting a wide variety of books ranging from international exhibition catalogues on art and photography, architecture and fashion, to international contemporary discourse. The new bookshop design offers the possibility of expanding into the atrium, as well as providing space for readings and discussions. Coinciding with the reopening of the Gropius Bau in March, the Walther König Bookshop curates an exhibition of artist books focusing on collecting and archiving. The artist book is acknowledged as an art object in and of itself that produces special forms of knowledge and creation.

As a central part of Stephanie Rosenthal’s vision of “walking in the artist's mind”, artists are situated at the core of the institution. The programme In House: Artist in Residence began in 2018 with Wu Tsang and encourages artists to break out of existing institutional formats. For the spring opening, the Gropius Bau’s second artist in residence, Otobong Nkanga, will present the third part of her project, Carved to Flow, a model for a self-sustaining artwork. During her residency, the Gropius Bau will become the hub of this ongoing project, which began at documenta 14 in 2017 with a lab, a public programme and the production of a marbled soap, O8 Black Stone. Throughout the project’s three phases – The Laboratory, Warehouse and Distribution and Germination – Otobong Nkanga explores how body and landscape are interdependent, and consequently how they are affected by extractive capitalism. The third phase Carved to Flow: Germination will unfold in Otobong Nkanga’s ground-floor space at the Gropius Bau.

When Dorothy Iannone serenaded her friend Mary Harding in 1977 she sang an avowal to the city of Berlin. Her line “And Berlin will always need you”, forms the title of the first exhibition presented at the Gropius Bau in 2019. The exhibition And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin showcases the city’s contemporary art scene. The thematic framework is the Gropius Bau itself, which opened in 1881 as the first Museum of Decorative Arts in Germany and established itself as a teaching, production and exhibition venue. The exhibition invites Berlin-based artists including Haegue Yang, Dorothy Iannone, Nevin Aladağ and Theo Eshetu to present existing and newly commissioned installations and works that engage with craftsmanship, décor, materiality and artefacts. The works provide insight into an expanded understanding of craft and artistic techniques used within contemporary cycles of production, as well as into the construct of the institution as an exhibition house with displays, interpretative sovereignty and power structures.

Events

Thursday 21.3.2019, 19:00
Opening
And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin

Friday 22.3.2019
First Visitor’s Day
And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin
Otobong Nkanga, Carved to Flow: Germination
Artist books from the Walther König Bookshop collection

Saturday 23.3.2019
Performance, Otobong Nkanga, Carved to Flow, 12:00-18:00 (EN/DE)
Architecture Tours, 14:00 (DE) 16:00 (EN)
Artist Talk, In House: Artist in Residence Otobong Nkanga, Maya Tounta and Stephanie Rosenthal, 17:00 (EN)
Workshops, The Space and Me, 13:00, 15:30 (DE)

And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin
Otobong Nkanga, Carved to Flow: Germination
Artist books from the Walther König Bookshop collection

Sunday 24.3.2019
Performance, Otobong Nkanga, Carved to Flow, 12:00-18:00 (EN/DE)
Architecture Tours, 14:00 (DE) 16:00 (EN)
Workshops, The Space and Me, 13:00, 15:30 (DE)
Workshops, Soap Making with Evi Lachana as part of Carved to Flow: Germination by Otobong Nkanga, 12:00, 15:30 (EN)

And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin
Otobong Nkanga, Carved to Flow: Germination
Artist books from the Walther König Bookshop collection

Exhibition

And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin
22 March to 16 June 2019

With works by Nevin Aladağ, Leonor Antunes, Julieta Aranda, Alice Creischer, Andreas Siekmann and the Brukman workers, Mariechen Danz, Haris Epaminonda, Theo Eshetu, Olaf Holzapfel, Dorothy Iannone, Antje Majewski and Olivier Guesselé-Garai, Willem de Rooij, Katarina Šević, Chiharu Shiota, Simon Wachsmuth and Haegue Yang.

Curated by Natasha Ginwala and Julienne Lorz

Contact

Press
Annie-Claire Geisinger
Head of Communications
Gropius Bau

+49 30 254 86 236

Online
gropiusbau.de
facebook.com/gropiusbau
twitter.com/gropiusbau
instagram.com/gropiusbau
#gropiusbau

A selection of images in printable resolution are available in the online media section on our website and upon request.

And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin is made possible by Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin.
In 2019 Gropius Bau is supported by Berliner Stadtwerke.
The opening weekend 23 and 24 March 2019 is sponsored by Audi.