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The crack begins within.

Pacita Abad; Noor Abuarafeh; Marwa Arsanios; Shuvinai Ashoona; Paula Baeza Pailamilla; Aline Baiana; Virginia Borges, Gil DuOdé and Virginia de Medeiros (and guests: Pêdra Costa, Marie Monteiro, Bárbara Richter); Deanna Bowen; Felix Brüggemann; Cansu Çakar; Edgar Calel (in collaboration with Fernando Pereira dos Santos); Flávio de Carvalho (in collaboration with Raymond Frajmund); Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide); Colectivo de Serigrafía Instantánea; Francisco Copello; Léo Corrêa; Kiri Dalena; Cian Dayrit; Die Remise (Ali Akyol, Jacqueline Aslan, Stefan Bast, Muriel Biedrzycki, Julia Brunner, Fatma Cakmak, Stefan Endewardt, Tobi Euler, Melina Gerstemann, Ayşe Güleç, Juanita Kellner, Angelika Levi, Carmen Mörsch, Shanti Suki Osman, Ayse Preissing, Markus Schega, Miriam Schickler, Aylin Turgay and pupils from the Nürtingen and Heinrich-Zille elementary schools and guests: Çiçek Bacık, Aïcha Diallo, Saraya Gomis, Kotti-Shop, Annika Niemann, Tuğba Tanyılmaz); Zehra Doğan; El Palomar; Brenda V. Fajardo; FCNN – Feminist Collective With No Name (Dina El Kaisy Friemuth/Anita Beikpour) with Neda Sanai; Feminist Health Care Research Group (Inga Zimprich/Julia Bonn) (and guest: Sickness Affinity Group); Andrés Fernández; Galli; Sandra Gamarra Heshiki; Till Gathmann; Mauricio Gatti and Grupo Experimental de Cine (Alfredo Echániz, Gabriel Peluffo, Walter Tournier); Pélagie Gbaguidi; Eiko Grimberg; Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe; Emma Howes and Justin Kennedy in collaboration with Balz Isler; Francisco Huichaqueo; Âlut Kangermio; Käthe Kollwitz; La rara troupe; Delaine Le Bas; Mapa Teatro – Laboratorio de Artistas; Christine Meisner; Meyer-Grohbrügge; Dana Michel and Tracy Maurice; Małgorzata Mirga-Tas; Dorine Mokha; Pedro Moraleida Bernardes; Óscar Fernando Morales Martínez; Marcelo Moreschi; Carlos Motta; Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (MSSA), CL; Museu de Arte Osório Cesar, Franco da Rocha, BR; Museu de Imagens do Inconsciente, Rio de Janeiro, BR; Andrés Pereira Paz; Antonio Pichillá; Mirja Reuter and Florian Gass; Naomi Rincón Gallardo; Florencia Rodriguez Giles; Aykan Safoğlu; Mariela Scafati; Solvognen (The Sun Chariot) Theater Group; Young-jun Tak; Teatro da Vertigem; Elena Tejada-Herrera; Teo; The Black Mamba – Natasha Mendonca & Suman Sridhar; Berlin, 7.7.2020 Sinthujan Varatharajah; Cecilia Vicuña; Azucena Vieites; Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro; Bartolina Xixa; Osías Yanov and Sirenes Errantes; Katarina Zdjelar; and more.

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(c) Małgorzata Mirga-Tas

The slow opening of the 11th Berlin Biennale began a year ago, and since then it has been exploring the many cracks we carry, the fissures that keep us apart and those that bring us together. Many of the invited artists and participants in the Biennale have been exploring and practicing this, each in their own artistic terms, in their own contexts and temporalities. Making space to share these experiences demanded that we slow down the unsustainable pace of biennials and forgo the expectation of a singular concept, a novel idea to once again fix things into place. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the European fortress several months ago, it felt for a moment that the earth wanted to stand still. The virus exposed the cruelty of everyday life and the inequality endured by the vast majority of people imprisoned by patriarchal capitalism. As we write, many of those whose works are present in the exhibition are in the South and continue living under lockdown, in places where professional healthcare is a luxury, safeguarding only the privileged.

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(c) Paula Baeza Pailamilla

“The crack begins within” are words borrowed from poet Iman Mersal. She explores the many ghosts of motherhood, tearing apart its contemporary morals. She begins with the refusal to become the sacrificed, the “egg that the newborn breaks en route to life.” She rummages in the crevices of this dissent, exploring the many ways that within all the brokenness the mother and child carry, there is pain and beauty, mourning and living. As the epilogue of the Biennale The Crack Begins Within calls out the fallacy of claiming for oneself the destruction of the old and the birthing of the new, refloated so many times by the white fathers as a new scaffolding to secure the continuity of their decaying structures. This is the violence that surrounds us, and that we are a part of.

The Crack Begins Within comprises the overlapping experiences of the artworks gathered here, breathing together, touching and moving one another. It is a testament to the powerful collective stories they tell, the work they do, and the things they shatter. The epilogue is an exercise of mutual recognition, an acknowledgement of the cracks in the system, of those broken by it and their struggles. As the carceral politics of compartmentalization are cracked open, art will not disappear into nothingness, but flow into everything. The Crack Begins Within is a nod to the solidarity in vulnerability of the healers and carers, the fighters, their fractures, and their power.




KW Institute for Contemporary

Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin

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(c) Sara Sejin Chang



Oranienstraße 161, 10969 Berlin 

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(c) Edgar Calel


Gropius Bau

Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin 

Flavio1 b
(c) Flávio de Carvalho


11th Berlin Biennale c/o ExRotaprint

Bornemannstraße 9, 13357 Berlin

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(c) Cansu Çakar


(Text from Berlin Biennale 11)


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