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PHOENIX ON THE ROOF: HANS UHLMANN AT THE BERLIN GALLERY

PHOENIX ON THE ROOF: HANS UHLMANN AT THE BERLIN GALLERY

One of Berlin’s most curious sculptures can be found on the roof of the Philharmonie. The sculptor Hans Uhlmann installed his Phoenix — a stylized bird with two broad metal wings — here in 1964. While artwork on buildings usually catches the eye, Uhlmann’s sculpture almost entirely eludes it. His Phoenix nestles so closely to the architecture that it’s nearly unnoticeable, symbolizing the artist’s work. Uhlmann’s works blend seamlessly into the Berlin cityscape. His steel spirals and columns wind towards the sky in the Hansaviertel, in front of the Deutsche Oper, and at the University of the Arts. Yet his name is unknown to most people today. The Berlinische Galerie aims to change that with the first comprehensive retrospective in 50 years. With around 80 sculptures and graphic works, the museum traces Uhlmann’s life and work from his artistic beginnings in the 1930s to his death in the 1970s. After studying mechanical engineering, the Berlin-born artist repeatedly tried his hand at sculpting, discovering wire early on as the main material for his works. When he was arrested in 1933 during an anti-fascist leaflet campaign and sentenced to one and a half years in prison, he filled his time in custody with the only activity left to him: drawing.

His artist friend Jeanne Mammen smuggled pencils and notepads into prison. After his release, he exhibited the ideas of the time. He created heads made of metal and iron wire. Uhlmann described his imprisonment as the “most important period” in his artistic development. Even if the fine wire figures later gave way to massive metal sculptures, the linear aspect always remained part of his formal language. While teaching at the Berlin University of the Arts in the 1950s, Uhlmann developed his own style further. Figurative explorations receded into the background; instead, Uhlmann was interested in how he could depict movement in space with reduced forms. His abstract formal arrangements made him one of the most sought-after artists in the young Federal Republic of Germany. Invitations to the Venice Biennale and documenta followed. In addition to elaborate art-in-building projects, he returned to drawing in his old age. In black chalk, he traced the permeability of his structures on paper and discovered the dynamism and spontaneity that were so important to him throughout his life. Uhlmann achieved what many are denied. His works emit a quiet power. Even if, like the Phoenix on the roof of the Philharmonie, they sink in the background at first glace.

Text: Laura Storfner / Photos: Anja Elisabeth Witte & Clemens Poloczek / Credit: Legal successors Ewald Gnilka/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023; Margot Schmidt, Hamburg, for the work by Hans Uhlmann: VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024

Berlinische Galerie, Museum of Modern Art, Alte Jakobstr.124–128, 10969 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Hans Uhlmann: Experimental Forming until 13.05.2024 Wed–Mon 10–18h.

@berlinischegalerie

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FEEL, SEE, GIVE — PUT THE WHOLE WORLD OF FILM UNDER THE TREE WITH MUBI

FEEL, SEE, GIVE — PUT THE WHOLE WORLD OF FILM UNDER THE TREE WITH MUBI

As we all know, many things change as we get older. Two fundamental ones are the acceleration of time and the helplessness to answer the question: What do you actually want? While the wait for Christmas as a child felt like an eternity and the wish list was endless, this year the holidays have arrived far too quickly, and somehow you already have everything. For all those who still want to give presents to themselves and their loved ones, here is a recommendation that combines everything: romance and excitement, peace and comfort, pleasant creepiness, cathartic anger, and comforting sadness. There are a zillion different pictures, inspirations, and quotes — something for those who want to be alone or something to share with their loved ones. Bottomless fun and cultural education, full of journeys to the most distant worlds, all from the comfort of your own sofa. And something that definitely won’t be lying around unnecessarily. Sounds good? Works well too. We’re talking about Mubi, of course. Mubi, the cinema-on-demand service, curates classics and soon-to-be-classics on its streaming platform. The focus here is on great films. Highlights include Mathieu Kassovitz’s “La Haine,” Charlotte Wells’ award-winning drama “Aftersun,” Jim Jarmusch’s “Night on Earth,” and Ira Sach’s latest work “Passages.” These selections are constantly changing — you can never finish watching Mubi. At least that’s what my brother said when I gave him a subscription last year. Incidentally, it will simply be renewed again this year. How very practical!

Text: Lola Brody / Stills: Courtesy of Mubi

Mubi

You can gift great movies here.

@mubideutschland

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A KEY ICON OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN MUSIC — ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO PERFORMS AT HKW

A KEY ICON OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN MUSIC — ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO PERFORMS AT HKW

“Best We Can” is the name of the latest single release by Beninese singer and five-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo, who collaborated with the two musicians Nomcebo Zikode and James BKS. A comforting title and an aspirational goal, Kidjo’s driving beats and warm sounds also manage to dispel the omnipresent clouds. On Friday (24.11.2023), you can hear it for yourself live: HKW invites you to indulge in the vast spectrum of rhythms of African music at Tiergarten. Congolese rumba, Nigerian highlife, West African funk, Cameroonian makossa and so on… Combining influences from Caribbean reggae, North American rock, Brazilian samba, and European disco – there is hardly any other musician who so effortlessly draws on these genres, blending the sounds with her unique energy to create something entirely her own without shying away from vintage quotes or Afrofuturist tendencies. With a career spanning over forty years, Kidjo is rightly regarded as one of the most important West African artists and a key figure in contemporary African music. We are lucky to be able to experience her in Berlin – and just the right thing on these short days and at a time when we should all be reminding ourselves regularly: Let’s do the “best we can.”

Text: Alina Herbel / Photos: Fabrice Mabillot

HKW, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin–Tiergarten; map
Angélique Kidjo on 24.11.2023 at 20h. More information and tickets can be found here.

@hkw_berlin

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JAZZFEST BERLIN: PLAYFUL & INVENTIVE SOUNDS FOR THE 60TH EDITION OF THE MUSIC FESTIVAL

JAZZFEST BERLIN: PLAYFUL & INVENTIVE SOUNDS FOR THE 60TH EDITION OF THE MUSIC FESTIVAL

Hardly any other genre of music is as diverse and multifaceted as jazz, and it is precisely this versatility and diversity that the Berliner Festspiele is again demonstrating with this year’s program. You can expect 36 projects from different generations, including playful and imaginative music. I associate jazz with my father, who burned his favorites for me on CD when I was young; reverently listening to classics like Miles Davis, Count Basie, and Keith Jarrett in my first flat-share, I felt so significantly grown up. Female artists, however, were not only underrepresented in this collection; no, they were completely absent. And so it is my pleasure that in the 60th edition of Jazzfest, a special effort was made to feature female artists across four full days of programming. To name just a few, trumpeter and jazz avant-gardist Steph Richardsand her quartet on Friday night will reflect on the influence of the sense of smell on our listening experience through experimentation with sound.

Saturday will feature the acclaimed, free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements with U.S. spoken word artist Camae Ayewa, aka Moor Mother, and music from her new album “Protect your light.” Infectious grooves meet vocal intensity and tightly woven improvisations. The French pianist Eve Risser and her Red Desert Orchestra present the result of an intensive exploration of music from West Africa. Most concerts will take place at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, but surrounding venues such as QuasimodoA-Trane, or the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche also host original shows. Some tickets are already sold out so close to the festival, as expected, but it’s worth taking a chance on the unknown – especially when it comes to jazz.

Text: Laura Luisa Iriondo / Photos: Jade Sastro, Juri Hiensch & Piper Ferguson

Jazzfest Berlin
02.–05.11.2023, various locations. Schedule, tickets and details are available here.

@berlinerfestspiele

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UNVEILING THE FUTURE — GET EXCITED ABOUT SCIENCE AT BERLIN SCIENCE WEEK 2023

UNVEILING THE FUTURE — GET EXCITED ABOUT SCIENCE AT BERLIN SCIENCE WEEK 2023

Knowledge is power. And as the past and present painfully teach us, power should always be distributed as democratically as possible. Making knowledge and research more accessible and breaking down barriers is one of the central concerns of Berlin Science Week 2023. Initiated by the Falling Walls Foundation, the eighth edition of the conference (01.-10.11.2023) will feature more than 200 events with over 500 speakers over ten days under this year’s slogan, “Creative science, precise art.” Participating events are spread out at various locations throughout the city. Headquarters, however, are the Natural History Museum and the Holzmarkt (where this year, for the first time, the festival will come to an end in a large, joint club night). The topics are as diverse as the locations: From lectures on the quality of human presence to experiments with colorful slime molds and mineralogical exhibits to the pressing questions of our time: human vs. artificial creativity or gender bias in programming and science journalism in the digital age. And these are just a few examples. The entire program is rich; there is so much to listen to, watch, experience, and participate in it’s hard to decide. This is undoubtedly also due to speakers ranging from artists like Martin Eder to scientists and designers like Gesche Joost and health ministers like Karl Lauterbach. There will also be a party at the end: The Berlin Science Week Club Night will take place on 10.11.2023 at Holzmarkt 25. So, Science Week is anything but nerdy. And in turbulent times like today, it is certainly more relevant than ever before.

Text: Alina Herbel / Credit: Berlin Science Week

Berlin Science Week

The full schedule is listed here.

@berlinscienceweek

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