The joy of corona regulations in Berlin: while cultural institutions, including museums and other art spaces, must remain closed, some cultural venues are still allowed to let their doors open. This the case of art galleries, considered as shops (they are art dealers, after all…) and places of worship.
Currently, art galleries can be visited following the “test and meet” scheme: you need to book a time slot and make proof a negative test not older than 24 hours. But luckily, some churches in Berlin are not used anymore as buildings hosting religious services and today their unique interiors host concerts, performances, site-specific installations and other art exhibitions.
We selected two unmissable exhibitions taking place in two different churches. For you visit, you only need to wear a FFP-2 mask and comply with the physical distancing rules. No booking or proof of a negative corona test is required.
Designed in the “antique style” by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the church burned down in 1945, was in ruins for more than 50 years and has been restored since 1999.
The current show, “The Cast Whale Project” by Gil Shachar, organized by Semjon Contemporary, is one of the most impressive art installations open to the public right now in Berlin.
After years of negotiations with the South African government, Gil Shachar and his team were able to cast a stranded dead humpback whale on the coast in the summer of 2018. The sculpture was completed in Cape Town in spring 2019.
The life-size sculpture (length 14 m) matches perfectly the architectural proportions of the Schinkel Church and its tragic history, giving the whale a second life as art.
The exhibition is open daily from 11am-8pm until May 14 on Invalidenstrasse 3, in Mitte.
The St. Matthew Church, conceived by Friedrich August Stüler, a Schinkel student, is located at the Kulturforum, surrounded by important buildings from the 20th century, including the Neue Nationalgalerie, by Mies van der Rohe, the Philharmonie and the Neue Staatsbibliothek, by Hans Scharoun.
On the 100th anniversary Joseph Beuys’ birth, one of the most influential German artists of the 1900s, the exhibition at St. Matthäus-Kirche shows the neglected religious roots of Beuys in different creative phases of his art work, including the sculpture “Dumb Box” (1982) and films projected above the altar of the church.
And once there, don’t miss the amazing views of Potsdamer Platz, Tiergarten and other landmarks in West Berlin from the tower of the church!
The exhibition is open from Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm at Matthäikirchplatz.