To celebrate the reopening, a large exhibition of the work of the American artist Alexander Calder, the inventor of moving sculptures, is being held for the first time in 50 years in Berlin. Entitled Minimal / Maximal, the exhibition takes up the entire upper floor space, striking up a dialogue between the monumental sculptures and fragile miniatures, specially “activated” twice a day for the general public. The lower floor contains a new permanent collection display with a focus on the first half of the 20th century and on the social changes that characterised the turbulent years from World War I to the Weimar Republic, up to the ascent of National Socialism and World War II.
The focus on modernity notwithstanding, there could be no question of not including contemporary art in a bid to underscore Mies van der Rohe’s enduring influence not just on the designers but also on the artists of today. The Berlin-based Italian artist Rosa Barba was invited to conceive an ad hoc project in the Neue Nazionalmuseum’s Grafisches Kabinett. Taking inspiration from the more or less abstract plan for the Brick Country House, which was never built, the artist has created a metal structure in which she has inserted 15 of her own works from 2009 to the present day - a frame drawn from Mies van der Rohe’s concept of architecture as a new way of living, playing with the light, the transparency, the margins and the continuity of the space, just like the building in which it is located.
The refurbishment of this major modernist building, a symbol of Berlin and Post-War architecture, has fired the imagination of the city as a whole, to such an extent that it is also being celebrated beyond the confines of the museum. To mark the occasion, 31 contemporary art galleries have put together an equal number of two-day exhibitions inspired by Mies van der Rohe and Neue Nationalgalerie, on from 20th to 22nd August. The initiative, Mies in Mind, was the brainchild of the gallerists Mehdi Chouakri, Marie-Blanche Carlier and Ulrich Gebauer and was sponsored by Index, an organisation that has been publishing the calendar of the city’s art events for the last 20 years.