Program 2020



Image: Leonilson, Inflammable, ca. 1990, Drawing, Permanent Ink on Paper 17 x 9,5 cm, Photo: Courtesy Eduardo Ortega / Projeto Leonilson



KW Institute for Contemporary Art presents its program 2020


KW Institute for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce its program for 2020. Operating under the influences of Surrealism, in which the body as environment is being explored, the upcoming program focuses on the representation of biography and (dis-)placement spearheaded by the works of Hassan Sharif, Amelie von Wulffen, and Leonilson.

Pause: Broken Sounds /
Remote Music—
Prepared Pianos from the
Archivio Conz Collection


January 16–19, 2020 

Opening: January 15, 2020, 7 pm 

Curators: Gigiotto Del Vecchio, Stefania Palumbo


In collaboration with KW, Archivio Conz presents a five-day event with a selection of more than 20 prepared pianos by artists such as Ay-O, Dorothy Iannone, Carolee Schneemann, Nam June Paik, and Ben Patterson from Francesco Conz’s (1935–2010) collection to create a poetical environment, a possible architecture. Within such scenario a number of performances by Charlemagne Palestine, Phillipp Sollman & Konrad Sprenger, Angharad Williams, Skywalking, Nina Kurtela, and others take place.


The complete collection of more than 65 pianos was commissioned by Conz as a continuation of the tradition of the prepared piano established by John Cage at the end of the 1930s. Various avant-garde movements have manipulated the instruments during the years and Conz put together a collection of prepared pianos from many artists that populated his lifetime. 


Archivio Conz houses artworks, documents, editions and personal belongings collected and catalyzed by Francesco Conz over the course of more than 30 years. More than a collector, he worked closely with artists of the main artistic avant-garde movements of his time: Fluxus, Viennese Actionism, Zaj, Lettrisme, Concrete Poetry, Visual Poetry, Sound Poetry, and Gorgona. He left a collection of more than 3000 items by over 150 artists that are now stored in Berlin.

Hassan Sharif
I Am The Single Work Artist


February 29 – May 3, 2020
Opening: February 28, 2020, 7 pm  
Curators: Hoor Al Qasimi, Krist Gruijthuijsen


In spring 2020, KW will present the first major retrospective of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) artist Hassan Sharif (1951–2016) in Europe. Sharif was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century from the Middle East. He is discussed as a leading force in the field of Conceptual Art, which rethought a conventional understanding of time, space, form, and social interactions.


Hassan Sharif, who studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London, returned to the UAE after graduating in 1984, began staging interventions and exhibitions of contemporary art in Sharjah for the first time and introduced a generation of artists to conceptual and Fluxus practices. Moving between roles as an artist, educator, critic, and writer, Sharif not only sought to encourage Emirati audiences to engage with contemporary art in exhibitions but also on the page, through his Arabic translations of historical art texts and manifestos. 


This retrospective is the culmination of Sharif’s long history with the Emirate of Sharjah and is produced in close collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, where Sharif’s exhibition was originally displayed in 2018. The show at KW presents around 150 works that span sculptural installation, drawing, painting, and assemblage. Afterwards it will travel to the Malmö Konsthall (SE).

Kris Lemsalu Malone &
Kyp Malone Lemsalu
Love Song Sing-Along


February 29 – May 3, 2020

Opening: February 28, 2020, 7 pm  

Curator: Cathrin Mayer


Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu (born in 1985, EE) creates sculptures, installations, and performances that fuse the animal kingdom with humankind, nature with the artificial, and beauty with repulsion, lightness with gravity, and life with death. She combines animal bodies and porcelain objects with found (natural) material such as furs, leather, seashells, wool, or paper in theatrical installations that whisk us off into a world of fantastic imagination. Endeavoring to erase any distance between herself and her objects, the artist also uses her installations as stages for performance pieces in which her sculptures become an integral part of her attire. Her works carry the memory of local mythologies onto the surfaces of objects that resemble artifacts and byproducts of contemporary civilization.


Since Performa 17, Kris Lemsalu has collaborated with New York-based artist and multi-instrumentalist Kyp Malone (born in 1973, US) to create enhanced installations and performances encompassing sculpture, ceramics, animation, performative elements as well as music and sound. The exhibition at KW presents a newly conceived body of work as a continuation of the multifaceted collaboration between the—in the meantime married—duo. The large-scale installation will take up the entire third floor and will serve as an environment for several performances in which the lines between objects, bodies, and action are blurred in order to create an enlivened spatial continuum.

Mophradat’s Consortium
Jasmina Metwaly &
Yazan Khalili


March 14 – April 19, 2020
Opening: March 13, 2020, 7 pm
Curator: Tirdad Zolghadr


A pioneering model for co-commissioning ambitious new work initiated by Mophradat, the Consortium Commissions exemplify the organization’s inventive approach to supporting artists from the Arab world. KW and Mophradat present two solo exhibitions by Jasmina Metwaly (born in 1982, PL) and Yazan Khalili (born in 1981, SY).


Jasmina Metwaly presents Anbar (2019), a three-channel video installation with textile components, addressing the semantics of military uniforms in the aftermath of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. The work is organized around three characters—a onetime soldier, a tailor, and an activist filmmaker—who each demonstrate particular ties to the Egyptian military.


Yazan Khalili’s Medusa (2020) is a video installation based on the artist’s long-standing engagement with digital archiving in times of political unrest. Here, Khalili addresses the rise of facial recognition technologies. The human face as basic mode of identification triggers well-known dystopic tropes and scenarios. However, technology is created by humans and their respective weaknesses; and thinking technology needs to be informed by human imagination in its overtly emancipatory capacity.


The exhibition’s accompanying program will further reflect the collective practices Metwaly and Khalili stand for. Metwaly is known for her work with the prominent Cairo-based video collective Mosireen, while Khalili is director of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, a groundbreaking non-profit organization in Ramallah (PS).

Kunsthalle for Music


April 30 – May 3, 2020

Opening: April 30, 2020, 7 pm 

Curator: Krist Gruijthuijsen


Initiated by Ari Benjamin Meyers (born in 1972, US) and co-founded with Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in 2018, Kunsthalle for Music is an itinerant institution dedicated to the presentation of music within the histories and environments of the visual arts. For KW, Kunsthalle for Music will transform the exhibition galleries into a contemporary space for live performances of musical works, eluding the barriers between rehearsal, performance, performers, and audience. An especially formed ensemble will enact an on-site exhibition of musical works, a selection from the Kunsthalle for Music repertoire or “collection” that includes a new Berlin commission by Karl Holmqvist and Klara Lidén, and previous commissions as well as existing solos, duets, and group pieces contributed by different composers and visual artists. The exhibition’s meta-score is open to variations and offers a unique interpretation and experience every day. 


During the weekend, Ari Benjamin Meyers’ new performance Forecast will be presented at the Volksbühne Berlin.  

11th Berlin Biennale
for Contemporary Art


exp. 1: September 7– November 9, 2019

exp. 2: November 30, 2019 – February 8, 2020

exp. 3: February 2 – May 2, 2020

NEW DATES: epilogue – 11th Berlin Biennale: September 5 – November 1, 2020
Curators: María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado, Agustín Pérez Rubio


The curators of the 11th Berlin Biennale envision the forthcoming edition as a series of lived experiences. The process unfolds through three sequential moments: exp. 1, exp. 2, and exp. 3. This edition attempts to learn from and build sustainable relations, not only with participating artists and projects, but as importantly with the city and people of Berlin. The first step was to settle into the ground level space of a tower belonging to the architectural complex of ExRotaprint in the neighborhood of Berlin-Wedding, where they presented exp. 1: The Bones of the World. For the upcoming second experience, Brazilian artist Virginia de Medeiros (born in 1973, BR) and the German collective Feminist Health Care Research Group (Inga Zimprich, born in 1979, DE/Julia Bonn, born in 1975, DE) will share and activate the ExRotaprint space working around questions of sexual politics and the care of both the collective and isolated body. From June 13 to September 13, 2020, the 11th Berlin Biennale will bring forth all experiences at various venues throughout the city. More information:

KW on location


During the 11th Berlin Biennale, KW continues exploring other venues and collaborations across the city and around the globe.

Two Years with:
The School of Casablanca


May 2020 – May 2022

Curators: Krist Gruijthuijsen, Inka Gressel, Salma Lahlou, Alya Sebti


The École Municipale des Beaux-Arts of Casablanca (MA) was an innovative institution founded in 1950 by the French, during the protectorate era in Morocco (1912–1956). The rise of civic awareness after Moroccan independence in 1956 had an impact on artists, their social function and their presence in the public sphere. The artist became the producer of a social and cultural project, in which art was expected to become a space of shared knowledge and experience. In the midst of the post-colonial artistic and cultural renewal, three artists, Farid Belkahia (1934–2014), Mohammed Chabâa (1935–2013), and Mohamed Melehi (born in 1936, MA) came together as the School of Casablanca at the École Municipale des Beaux-Arts and were later joined by Mohamed Hamidi (born in 1941, MA), Mustapha Hafid (born in 1942, MA), and Mohamed Ataallah (1939–2014).


The School of Casablanca, with the support of art historian and anthropologist Toni Maraini (born in 1941, JP) and Bert Flint (born in 1931, NL), a fervent researcher of popular arts and rural traditions, pioneered innovative teaching and exhibition strategies that rejected the Western academic legacies. Their project of artistic and social reform was supported by a multidisciplinary educational program based on the complementary value of theoretical lessons and formal experimentation. The program emphasized studying and re-appropriating popular and traditional artistic heritage. The reform led to the inclusion of previously nonexistent content in the curriculum. This project was founded in a strategy of collective visual education, integrating art into architecture and public space. The collective work reached out through both formal and informal channels, its reception was mainly based on correspondence and affinities. Mutual encounters released new, creative energies.


In collaboration with Goethe-Institut Marokko and Sharjah Art Foundation, KW has initiated a collaborative venture for 2020–2022 evolving around the School of Casablanca. Part of this venture is a research residency in Casablanca, in which the residents are invited to do research, produce new work and possibly build a public/pedagogical program around the subject(s) addressed within the research. The six participants are Céline Condorelli, Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa, Marion von Osten, Bik Van der Pol, Manuel Raeder, and Abdeslam Ziou Ziou.

Michele Rizzo


May 27 and 29, 2020

Curator: Léon Kruijswijk


In collaboration with Berghain and the Julia Stoschek Collection, KW presents a newly commissioned performance by Michele Rizzo (born in 1984, IT). The choreographer and multidisciplinary artist investigates the experience of the raver, dance culture and the significance of the club as a microcosm in which the human explores its most ontological characteristics: the relationship with the self, with the other and with time and space.


Within Rizzo’s performances, the raver is the protagonist, the political actor as much as the activator of the space. The physical place of the club becomes a haven that makes it possible to enter into a continuum diametrically opposed tomundane socio-political structures, where club goers merge in a chosen communal, coded yet undefined, hedonistic yet political, that enhances an experience of catharsis existing in the form of collective energy in motion.

KW on location:
Slavs and Tatars’ Pickle Bar


September 11–13, 2020

Artists: Selin Davasse, Shalva Nikvashvili, Ana Prvacki
Curators: Kathrin Bentele, Slavs and Tatars


During Berlin Art Week and Gallery Weekend, Slavs and Tatars will launch Pickle Bar in collaboration with KW Institute for Contemporary Art. A Slavic take on the aperitivo bar, Pickle Bar will be a site for the exploration of loose tongues, the limits of language both as affect and discourse. Located steps away from Slavs and Tatars studio in Moabit, Pickle Bar will offer different fermented items and spirits, a doubly bubbly answer to the bourgeois staples of wines and cheeses.

The three day program will revisit the Georgian rituals of the Tamada, inviting three different artists and performers to each hold court over the course of a day. The iconic character of the Tamada is well known for toast making, oratorical flourishes, and tolerance for alcohol. Typically, the Master or Mistress of Ceremony of a Georgian meal, the Tamada weaves memory, notions of nationhood, and hospitality into liquid libations. Pickle Bar invites each artist to reconsider these and more, through drink and discourse in an intimate setting suited for our fluid times. During the chamber drinking ritual, guests will be offered a selection of fermented drinks and bites, in addition to the sharp tongue of a Tamada guiding them through the afternoon and evening.

Online screeening: KW Production Series 2020:
Onyeka Igwe & Lin+Lam


12–30 December 2020

Curator: Mason Leaver-Yap


For its third and final year of commissioning, KW Production Series will work with London-based artist and researcher Onyeka Igwe, who explores the physical body and geographical place as sites of cultural and political meaning; and New York-based collaborative duo Lin+Lam––Lana Lin and H. Lan Thao Lam––who draw on their backgrounds in architecture, photography, sculpture, installation and time-based media to grapple with incidents informed by past political narratives. Already in development, these two new moving image works will be premiered in the winter of 2020. 


Organised in collaboration with the Julia Stoschek Collection and OUTSET Germany_Switzerland, KW Production Series is inspired by KW’s founding principles as a place of production, critical exchange, and thoughtful collaboration. This series seeks to identify and serve artists that are at a pivotal moment in their work and career—those who will benefit not only from the financial support and institutional visibility this opportunity provides, but also those who will be able to use the Series to significantly contribute towards the depth and rigor of their moving image practice. Previous productions include: Andrea Büttner, What is so terrible about craft? / Die Produkte der menschlichen Hand, 2019; Rachel O’Reilly, INFRACTIONS, 2019; Jamie Crewe, Pastoral Drama, 2018; and Beatrice Gibson, I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Dead, 2018. 

Pause: The Noa Eshkol
Chamber Dance Group


September 25–27, 2020

Curator: Krist Gruijthuijsen


In the 1950s, dancer Noa Eshkol (1924–2007), together with architect Avraham Wachman (1931–2010), developed a notational system for movement, using a combination of symbols and numbers to define the motion of any limb around its joint. Noa Eshkol was born in 1924 in Kibbutz Degania Bet in Palestine. Eshkol studied piano with musician Frank Peleg, who taught her the role of notation in music. From 1943 to 1945 she attended the Tille Rössler (Tehila Ressler) School in Tel Aviv where she studied dance and body culture studies. About this time, she began to express that the world of dance required a notation analogous to music notation in order to develop and uncover rich and complex compositions and combinations of movements. In 1954, Eshkol founded the The Chamber Dance Group—originally named The Chamber Dance Quartet—to perform her compositions, developed through Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation (EWMN). Dance performances by The Chamber Dance Group feature the basic material of all dance styles—that is, the movement of the human body. For Eshkol, dance was a pure art form, in and for itself, to be practiced without scenery, costumes or music. She treated the parts of the body as separate instruments, not unlike the musical instruments of an orchestra, each with its own rules of movement. Her compositions rely on seriality, as well as on the polyphonic forms of canon, fugue and so on. She used these forms to create polyphony between various parts of each dancer’s body and between the dancers as a group. 


Eshkol danced with the group until the late 1950s, when she became increasingly focused on developing EWMN, composing, and teaching her dances. After her death in 2007, the group was renamed The Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group and features both veteran dancers Racheli Nul-Kahana and Ruth Sela, as well as new members who have joined the group since, Mor Bashan, Noga Goral, and Dror Shoval. 

Amelie von Wulffen


NEW DATES: December 5, 2020 – February 21, 2021
Curator: Anna Gritz


Berlin-based artist Amelie von Wulffen (born in 1966, DE) has established herself internationally as one of Germany’s most important painters. Despite her continued international presence, the exhibition at KW is Amelie von Wulffen’s first institutional solo exhibition presenting new work in Berlin. Since the 1990s, von Wulffen has developed a distinctly unique artistic practice. She has created a complex and productive body of work that inquires into the social, economic, and political conditions of painting. Von Wulffen’s consistently self-reflexive practice is not limited to painting and its scope of action—whose primacy has often been challenged by reporting it dead—but expands to include the artist herself. Her work engages with German historical heritage of the post-war era on the level of family, nation, and art. It appropriates stereotypes of different styles of painting only to contrast them within a picture—both an ironic, humorous gesture and a meta-reflection on the aesthetic contradictions of Germany after the war and of contemporary popular and political culture.


At KW, Amelie von Wulffen presents a new series of paintings framed by a site-specific installation, which will host the new production of a comic strip as well as new ceramics. These new works will be accompanied by existing paintings, drawings, furniture, sculptures, and films.

Drawn 1975–1993


NEW DATES: December 5, 2020 – February 21, 2021

Curator: Krist Gruijthuijsen


Brazilian artist José Leonilson (1957–1993) is recognized for his poetic vision during a period of social upheaval within his home country. He emerged as part of a generation of artists dubbed the Brazilian Geração ’80 (1980s generation), whose work is characterized by a turn to subjectivity, eschewing the rationality of Conceptual Art predominant in the 1970s and rediscovering a “joy of painting” in the years following the end of Brazil’s dictatorship. Considered one of the most important representatives of this generation, Leonilson’s work stands out as unique through his personal focus on emotion, introspection, and the human body. During the ten years of his short career, Leonilson was remarkably productive and leaves behind a sizable body of work.


The exhibition at KW is the first retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work in Europe and will provide an overview of his entire oeuvre. The show presents a selection of 250 works, encompassing a broad range of mediums and styles, from early paintings to the introspective embroidery he turned to late in his life after being diagnosed with AIDS.

Press Contact


Karoline Köber

Tel. +49 30 243459 41


KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Auguststraße 69

10117 Berlin


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


The exhibitions and projects within the program of 2020 take place in collaboration with and/or supported by: 






As of: July 28, 2020