The epilogue of the 11th Berlin Biennale, “The Crack Begins Within,” curated by María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado, and Agustín Pérez Rubio, opened September 5. On view through November 1, it explores the fissures that separate us and those that bring us together.
The ‟crack begins within” are words borrowed from poet Iman Mersal, who explores the ghosts of motherhood. Mersal is interested in the pain and beauty, mourning and living that lie within the mother and child. The biennial echoes with Mersal’s work, as it addresses the destruction of the old and the birthing of the new, and highlights the violence that surrounds us.
Participating artists include Pacita Abad, Noor Abuarafeh, Francisco Copello, Léo Corrêa, Kiri Dalena, Carmen Mörsch, Shanti Suki Osman, Ayse Preissing, Markus Schega, Zehra Doğan, El Palomar, Andrés Fernández, Galli, Sandra Gamarra Heshiki, Till Gathmann, Pélagie Gbaguidi, Eiko Grimberg, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, Âlut Kangermio, Käthe Kollwitz, Meyer-Grohbrügge, Dorine Mokha, Pedro Moraleida Bernardes, Óscar Fernando Morales Martínez, Marcelo Moreschi, Carlos Motta, Andrés Pereira Paz, Antonio Pichillá, Mirja Reuter and Florian Gass, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Florencia Rodriguez Giles, Aykan Safoğlu, Young-jun Tak, Teatro da Vertigem, Elena Tejada-Herrera, Cecilia Vicuña, Azucena Vieites, Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, Bartolina Xixa, Osías Yanov and Sirenes Errantes, Katarina Zdjelar, and more.
“The Crack Begins Within” is made up of four chapters, one for each of the venues. KW Institute for Contemporary Art presents The Antichurch, a space filled with personal and collective antichurches, queer, and transfeminist temples who rebel against colonial capitalism.
The second chapter, Storefront for Dissident Bodies, takes place at daadgalerie and transforms the space into a storefront for queer, dissident, and rebel bodies. Its prêt-à-porter architecture for vulnerable movements and their politics of fashion, which tear down the hyper-sexualized normalcy of department-store season collections.
For the third chapter, Gropius Bau is transformed into The Inverted Museum. This section addresses the way museums have become clean slates to make things new, as a way of fixing the past in a perpetual power relation to their present, therefore hijacking temporality itself. The stories of all that has been erased and silenced—in the name of progress, beauty, and the future—will be heard and felt.
The last chapter The Living Archive recounts the multiple stories that have been told, shaped and shared over the past year in the temporary space 11th Biennale ℅ ExRotaprint. It has been a place made of hospitality, for experimental exhibition-making and for people to have conversations, as well as a safe house for the process.
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit Europe, it exposed the cruelty of everyday life and the inequalities endured by patriarchal capitalism. “The Crack Begins Within” is an acknowledgment of the broken system, and those affected by it and their struggles. It is also a nod to the solidarity and vulnerability of the healers, caregivers, and fighters, as well as their own fractures and power.