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The Gropius Bau will reopen to visitors on Monday, 11 May 2020
Lee Mingwei, Our Peaceable Kingdom, 2020. 27 framed paintings, easels. Installation view Lee Mingwei: 禮 Li, Gifts and Rituals, Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2020. Photo: Laura Fiorio.



BERLIN.- The exhibition Akinbode Akinbiyi: Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air has been extended until 19 July; Lee Mingwei’s solo exhibition 禮 Li, Gifts and Rituals will be on view for the first time on 11 May and presented until 12 July 2020. There will be extended opening hours until 31 July 2020: the Gropius Bau will be open from Saturday to Wednesday from 10am to 7pm and Thursday and Friday until 9pm; the building is closed on Tuesdays.

Exhibitions:

Lee Mingwei: 禮 Li, Gifts and Rituals, until 12 July 2020.

Lee Mingwei’s artistic practice focuses on rituals of giving and receiving gifts. The Gropius Bau solo exhibition presents Lee's performances and installations from the past three decades and examines art's potential to be a transformative gift.

In Lee Mingwei’s works immaterial gifts such as songs, conversations and space for contemplation are given and received. His projects often start as personal encounters that the artist then develops into installations. Dealing with experiences that give the gift of time is a central part of Lee’s fascination with hosting. Accordingly, in autumn 2019, the artist sent out open calls in order to involve Berliners as hosts in his upcoming exhibition. As part of The Living Room (2000/2020) project, these hosts have been invited to exhibit their personal collections and in The Mending Project (2009/2020) they repair textiles brought in by visitors and engage them in conversation. These processes create a common experiential space that allows for mutual exchange as well as rituals of healing and caring.

In the atrium of the Gropius Bau, Lee Mingwei presents a monumental version of the installation Guernica in Sand (2006/2020). An homage to Guernica (1937), Pablo Picasso’s icon of western modernism, Lee depicts themes of trauma and grief in sand. This choice of material reflects the Tibetan Buddhist practice of the sand mandala – precise and detailed sand paintings that are swept together after their completion. In keeping with this tradition during the performance of this work, visitors are invited to walk barefoot over the sand painting, thus gently transforming the original imagery. As an extended part of the performance, the artist and collaborators will sweep the sand, creating a ritual of transformation.

With The Dining Project (1997/2020), Lee Mingwei examines whether an art institution is capable of offering space for emotional connection. For the Gropius Bau, this work will be adapted to current circumstances and take place in an altered form in digital space. Lee Mingwei invites visitors to a one-on-one virtual teatime with him. The artist and the participant will exchange a recipe in advance and bake a cake or biscuits to eat together in a digital meeting. For registration online please see here.

The work Fabric of Memory (2006/2020) can already be explored digitally on the Gropius Bau website; a catalogue excerpt from an interview and a video conversation between Stephanie Rosenthal and Lee Mingwei will be available online from 11 May and provide insights into the artist’s working methods.

The exhibition is curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, Director of the Gropius Bau, with Clare Molloy, Assistant Curator.

Akinbode Akinbiyi: Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air, until 19 July 2020.
The exhibition brings together works by Berlin-based, Nigerian photographer Akinbode Akinbiyi, whose images capture the communal life of people in cities including Lagos, Berlin, Johannesburg, Bamako and Chicago.

Akinbode Akinbiyi’s collection of black and white photographs depicts a world of often overlooked narratives, gestures and beliefs amid noisy streets, coastlines and densely populated neighbourhoods. For Akinbiyi, wandering is a primary instrument for documenting social realities and exploring the psychogeography of urban environments. The exhibition includes the internationally acclaimed series Lagos: All Roads and the ongoing series African Quarter—photographs taken in Berlin since the late 1990s. Depicted here are streets inscribed with the historical traces of Germany’s colonial past and open encounters between members of the African diaspora and African-German communities in the city, in particular in the Wedding district.

Additional aspects related to the exhibition include an introduction by curator Natasha Ginwala, a podcast episode with Akinbode Akinbiyi and filmmaker Emeka Okereke, as well as a presentation of the photographer’s long-term series on the Gropius Bau website.

Berliner Festspiele on Demand
Films, recordings and other digital offerings are available free of charge on the online platform Berliner Festspiele On Demand. The programme in May is all about the Theatertreffen virtuell: for the first time in its history, a special edition of the festival will take place from 1 to 9 May. In addition to six presentations of the 10 Selected Productions, presented as on-demand recordings on Berliner Festspiele On Demand and nachtkritik.de, the discursive program ″UnBoxing Stages – Digital Practice in the Theatre″ is also there to be discovered. Following the online Theatertreffen premieres, follow-up talks will also take place with participating artists. The film series ″Sundays for Hong Kong II″ will be online until 7 May 2020. In addition, the 2019 Jazzfest Berlin concerts recorded by Arte Concert can be seen until 9 May. New on the website is the ″Corona Help″ section featuring a library and a ″HelpList″.










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