The great art-doors

It’s finally summer in Berlin, so get out of the museums and spend some time with art en plein air. Here's what to see.

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Frank Sperling

It’s finally summer in Berlin, so get out of the museums and spend some time with art en plein air. From Dahlem to Marzahn, here’s what to see.

Some of the best outdoor art you’ll see this summer is at the mammoth garden exhibition IGA Berlin 2017, whose motto “An Ocean of Colours” applies not only to landscape design. Nine contemporary artists have been invited to present a range of temporary and permanent installations as well as participatory works. Catch a ride on the aerial tram, then stroll down Kienberg hill and across the bridge to hear the acoustic interplay of Georg Klein’s award-winning audio installation “Grün Hören” with the landscape on your way to Gärten der Welt. Walk back across the grounds to discover works by Martin Kaltwasser, Anna Rispoli, and Janet Laurence – ending at Jeppe Hein’s must-see disorienting walk-in mirror labyrinth “Reflecting Gardens” near the other end of the ropeway. Check the calendar for selected dates of Seraphina Lenz’s performance project Anspiel (produced in conjunction with local residents) and Erik Göngrich’s “Subbotnik” informational walks on the GDR’s green planning; or go July 27-30 for Jeanne van Heeswijk’s “Unkrautlabor” series of radical lectures on weeds.

While you’re in Marzahn, head to nearby Schloss Biesdorf and take an indoor breather at the new ZKR Centre for Art and Public Space. The city-funded institution’s second exhibition, Between Spaces, celebrates pioneering urban artist Gordon Matta-Clark, whose 1970s New York building-scale gestures are presented alongside art and architecture drawings from East Berlin in dialogue with contemporary artists such the local collective Kunstrepublik and renowned Argentinian Tomás Saraceno.

On the other side of Berlin, spend a day at Dahlem’s Botanical Garden and explore Belgian Mark Swysen’s on-site installation of over 30 works, both in the Botanical Museum and throughout the gardens themselves. Through a residency programme organised by the district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Swysen (who studied both biology and art) is now the second artist to live in the guest house of the garden and develop new work. Many of the resulting installations involve everyday objects like umbrellas, plastic bottles and even urinals; the artist’s interest “in human behaviour in Western societies” can be seen in works such as “Social Collaboration Experiment”, where visitors learn just how many social interactions accompany the preparation of a cappuccino.

Meanwhile, Berlin’s galleries have also gotten in on the outdoor action: Haus am Lützowplatz continues its ongoing series of courtyard sculptures with the Berlin artist Michael Pohl, whose detail-accurate miniature replica of the building will be up for the next five months. It’s also a great time to see König Galerie’s sculpture garden outside the brutalist Church of St. Agnes. Its recently redesigned iteration Gartenschau showcases new works by big names from Jonas Burgert to Erwin Wurm and Camille Henrot. Inside the gallery, Berlin-based artist Julian Rosefeldt reminds us just why we should not take our environment for granted. His post-apocalyptic video work In the Land of Drought was shot via drone at abandoned film sites near the Moroccan Atlas Mountains and over the post-industrial remains of the Ruhr mining region in Germany.

IGA Berlin 2017 Through Oct 15 Marzahn

Between Spaces Through Oct 8 ZKR Centre for Art and Public Space, Biesdorf

Mark Swysen: IK & the many others Through Sep 24  Botanical Gardens and Botanical Museum, Dahlem

Michael Pohl: Haus am Haus am Lützowplatz Through Oct 15  Haus am Lützowplatz, Tiergarten

Gartenschau Through Sep 30, 2018  König Galerie, Kreuzberg

Julian Rosefeldt: In the Land of Drought Through Aug 6 König Galerie, Kreuzberg