Berliner Salon: Gallery Weekend Arrives


The 1st of May is a national holiday in Berlin, when businesses close and the streets fill with music, dancing, social demonstrations, and, finally, riots. Today, however, May 2nd, marks another annual event in town, in an ironic follow-up to yesterday’s May Day festivities, which are more or less identified with the political agendas of the communist and anarchist parties active in Berlin. Instead, May 2nd-4th will celebrate international commerce and capitalism. Oh, and art. It’s gallery weekend.

34 of Berlin’s most influential galleries will host openings this weekend, with countless others opening independently of the official event as well. Almost every cultural venue in Berlin has strategically scheduled their exhibitions to coincide this weekend and take full advantage of the out-of-town collectors, curators and gallerists who will descend on the city in droves, traipsing across town from one private view to another and tripping over the broken bottles and remaining detritus still littering the streets from yesterday’s riots.

It would be impossible to cover every opening of merit occurring this weekend, but one particular exhibition deserves recognition, namely Nobuyoshi Araki’s first solo exhibition in Berlin. Tonight, Jablonka Galerie will open Kinbaku, which features 100 black and white photographs by one of Japan’s most notorious contemporary artists. Although this exhibition will be Araki’s first in Berlin, his work was recently shown in Germany alongside Season 3 artist Hiroshi Sugimoto and Ryuji Miyamoto at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsberg. Araki’s photographs predominately depict women bound in rope, which the artist explains in the press release as “a contrast to the Western concept of Bondage: ‘Kinbaku (knots with ropes) are different from bondage. I only tie up a woman’s body because I know I cannot tie up her heart. Only her physical parts can be tied up. Tying up a woman becomes an embrace.’” It seems a bit odd that Araki’s work is only now being exhibited on this scale in Berlin, a city known for its liberal, if not encouraging, attitudes towards fetish and BDSM subcultures, but, as the adage goes, better late than never. Schoenes Galerie Wochenende.