January 19, 2021 - KW Institute for Contemporary Art - 30 Years of KW
January 19, 2021

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Courtyard of Kunst-Werke Berlin e. V., 1991. Photo: Uwe Walter

30 Years of KW

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Auguststraße 69
10117 Berlin

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To mark its 30th anniversary, KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e. V. is inviting artists to revisit the institution’s seminal role in the production and dissemination of contemporary art with a year-long program of exhibitions and special commissions, an art auction, an elaborate publication, and a celebratory weekend in its courtyard and neighborhood.

KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e. V., the support association of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, presents its program celebrating the institution’s 30-year anniversary. Reflecting its pivotal role in the production, display, and dissemination of contemporary art, KW looks back on three decades of exhibitions and events, which established it as a pioneering space for progressive practices within the Berlin and international art scenes, and significantly contributed to the development of Berlin as an international center for contemporary art.

To mark this special occasion, KW will host a range of exhibitions featuring artists Renée Green, Leonilson, Michael Stevenson, and Amelie von Wulffen; group exhibitions co-curated by artists Iman Issa and Ghislaine Leung; and a new performance piece by Michele Rizzo

From January 15 onwards, KW will unveil a series of new commissions, featuring Susan Philipsz’s acoustic work in KW’s courtyard in homage of political activist Rosa Luxemburg on the anniversary of her execution, which was created during Philipsz’s residency at KW in 2002; the re-installation of Katharina Sieverding’s monumental print Deutschland wird deutscher (1993) is to be displayed in the entranceway of KW as well as on billboards across Berlin in April-May; and artist Sissel Tolaas will create a limited edition of soap carefully composed from particles she collected at the KW building, a former margarine factory. 

Complementing this program, a major two-part art auction, organized in collaboration with renowned Berlin-based fine art auction house Grisebach, will take place in June and December 2021, featuring works by over 60 artists who have significantly contributed to KW’s legacy. The annual program’s key event will be a weekend-long celebration on July 2–4, 2021, featuring an extensive program of events, performances, and the launch of the first publication retracing KW’s history.

Founded on July 1, 1991 by Klaus Biesenbach, Alexandra Binswanger, Philipp von Doering, Clemens Homburger, and Alfonso Rutigliano, KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e. V. put down roots in a derelict former margarine factory located on Auguststraße 69 in the Berlin-Mitte district. After organizing the pivotal innovative exhibition project 37 Räume in 1992, artistic director Klaus Biesenbach continued to present ground-breaking exhibitions that won the institution critical acclaim, both nationally and internationally, and in 1996 he initiated the now widely renowned Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Following in Biesenbach’s footsteps, Gabriele Horn took over the directorship of KW’s two institutional branches, KW Institute for Contemporary Art and the Berlin Biennale, in 2004, driving and assuring sustainable restructuring of the institution in 2016. While Gabriele Horn remained director of the Berlin Biennale, Krist Gruijthuijsen succeeded her as new director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art in July that same year, who since then further refined the institution’s local and international profile.

In its 30 years, KW has considerably shaped the development of contemporary art by critically examining current tendencies and discourses within society. Through its avant-garde program of exhibitions, commissions and multidisciplinary events, which feature distinctive collaborations with artists and institutions, KW has both aligned itself with, and innovatively steered, national and international art and cultural discourses—and it continues to do so today.

KW’s national and international significance has never ceased to grow, cemented by such landmark thematic shows as Berliner Chronik (1994); Stand der Dinge (2000); Territories (2003); Zur Vorstellung des Terrors: Die RAF-Ausstellung (2005); Into Me / Out of Me (2006); One on One (2012/13); Fire and Forget. On Violence (2015); and The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue (2019/2020).

Many outstanding artists have presented significant solo exhibitions at KW, amongst which Absalon, Kader Attia, Kate Cooper, Keren Cytter, Anna Daučíková, Ceal Floyer, Cyprien Gaillard, Beatriz González, Douglas Gordon, Judith Hopf, Channa Horwitz, Carsten Höller, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Hanne Lippard, Renata Lucas, Hiwa K, Annette Kelm, Adam Pendleton, Mika Rottenberg, Christoph Schlingensief, Hassan Sharif, Anri Sala, Wael Shawky, Santiago Sierra, Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, and Ian Wilson.

Over the years, the program of KW has been developed together with decisive curatorial voices, amongst others Anselm Franke, Susanne Pfeffer, Ellen Blumenstein, and Anna Gritz.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art’s full 30-year anniversary program can be found here. You can also visit the event’s dedicated website here.

Press Contact
Sofie Krogh Christensen
Tel. +49 30 243459 41
press [​at​] kw-berlin.de

KW Institute for Contemporary Art is institutionally supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin.

The 30 Years of KW art auction takes place in cooperation with Grisebach. KW, A History will be published by DISTANZ and is generously supported by Volkswagen AG and KW Freunde. KW’s celebratory weekend is generously supported by Ólafur Elíasson and Julia Stoschek. 

The exhibitions and projects in the 2021 program take place in collaboration with and/or are supported by:

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
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