Artists have long turned to science fiction, to worlds of the imagination, to understand what it is to be human. This general concept forms the overarching theme at the 2023 Gallery Weekend Berlin— the annual event which sees independent galleries around the city open their doors to all — with mixed results.
“Human Is”, a group exhibition at Schinkel Pavillon, for instance, proposes a series of alternative futures, questioning the reality of being human, its weaknesses, fears and limitations. It asks if the distinctions between dystopia and reality are collapsing due to technological and ecological upheavals.
Working on a similar theme is Cao Fei’s “Duotopia” at Sprüth Magers. For over two decades, the Chinese multimedia artist has been investigating what it means to be human within our rapidly changing twenty-first-century landscape. Visiting the artist at her studio in Beijing a few years ago, I was struck by her work’s originality and how alive it is, constantly moving and evolving to be in conversation with our time.
In this significant exhibition, she has transformed this lovely Berlin gallery space into a visually cinematic, performative and highly engaging series of multi-media exhibits that take the viewer on a journey into multiple worlds here on earth and in the multiverse.