What’s on in Europe this month

Berlin has a film-mad month in store this February as it hosts the Berlinale festival and throws open the historic Babelsberg film studios outside the city to mark their centenary. Treasures galore are up for grabs at the Stockholm antiques fair, Andy Warhol’s 1960s art scene goes on show in Rotterdam, and London hosts the world’s first major exhibit on Hajj, the pilgrimage to the heart of Islam.


Ballet: The re-energised Vienna State Ballet will premiere an evening of works “made in France” on February 12, including Serge Lifar’s Suite en blanc, Roland Petit’s L’Arlesienne and Before Nightfall by Nils Christe.

Further performances of Masterpieces of the 20th century will be held on February 13, 19, 20 and 23 as well as March 3.

Fashion: Fashion photography from the 1920s till today is at the heart of Vanity, an exhibit of works from the collection of German photographer F.C. Gundlach, running until April 1 at Vienna’s Kunsthalle gallery.

The show explores the idea of fashion photography as an art form in itself, through 200 images including highly-staged shoots for Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, as well as photographs by David LaChapelle, Cecil Beaton and Guy Bourdin.


Art: The National Gallery of Denmark devotes an exhibition to Vilhelm Hammershoei (1864-1916), known for his melancholy portraits and interiors, all in greys and blurred outlines.

Hammershoei and Europe, which runs from February 4 to May 20, sets the work of the Danish painter – long considered one of a kind – alongside that of his European contemporaries, from Whistler to Gauguin.

Art: Eight women who marked avant-garde art in the interwar years, from French abstract artist Sonia Delaunay to Polish sculptor Katarzyna Kobro, are the focus of a new show at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

“Women of the avant-garde 1920-1940” brings together 200 paintings, photographs, collages, films and design works linked to dadaism, surrealism and constructivism from February 14 to May 20, in Humlebaek, north of Copenhagen.


Film: The first major European film festival of the year, the Berlinale, runs February 9 to 19, featuring up-and-coming directors as well as Hollywood A-listers such as Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie.

Film: The world’s oldest major film studio, Babelsberg outside Berlin, marks its centenary with exhibitions, classic movie retrospectives and glittering soirees to cheer the studio that was once the springboard for Marlene Dietrich and is now a workshop for the likes of Quentin Tarantino.


Art: The first known use of the word landscape was in a letter sent by Titian to Philip II in 1552. An exhibition of 50 paintings by the Italian painter, the most important of the 16th-century Venetian school, and other masters, looks at the evolving depiction of landscape in his works.

At the Royal Palace of Milan from February 16 to May 20.

Art history: An exhibition at Florence’s Palazzo Pitti looks at the history of Italy’s city states before the country was unified in 1861. From Turin, to Rome, Milan, Naples, Bologna, Florence and Venice, each city’s striking identity is explored through over 350 works of art from that period. Runs till February 12.

An ivory sundial and Qibla pointer indicating the direction to Mecca by Turkish artisan Bayram circa. 1582-3, on display at the exhbition Hajj: Journey To the Heart of Islam.An ivory sundial and Qibla pointer indicating the direction to Mecca by Turkish artisan Bayram circa. 1582-3, on display at the exhbition Hajj: Journey To the Heart of Islam.


History/Religion: The British Museum hosts the first major exhibition in the world on Hajj, the pilgrimage to the heart of Islam.

Using priceless artefacts, video footage, personal audio recordings and photographs, the show explores the history, journeys and experiences of pilgrims who travel from around the world to reach the holy city of Mecca.

Among the artefacts on display is a Mahmal, one of the ceremonial curtained transports in which the Sultans were carried from Cairo to Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia, and an eighth-century Koran. Until April 15.

Art: Around 100 paintings by the celebrated British painter Lucian Freud, who died last year aged 88, go on show at the National Portrait Gallery.

Freud was closely involved in planning the show, which will see his final painting go on display for the first time – the unfinished Portrait of the Hound 2011 depicts Freud’s assistant David Dawson posing nude with his dog Eli. Until May 27.


Art: Paris hosts its first major retrospective devoted to the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, an architect, blogger, photographer and new media adept all at once, who spent 80 days in detention last year.

Through photographs posted online or snapped with his mobile phone, videos and even tweets by the artist, the exhibition retraces his prolific, provovative body of work – and charts the transformation of China’s urban landscape.

Runs at the Jeu de Paume from February 21 to April 29.

Hip-hop: Once a year a gritty Paris suburb turns into a hip-hop mecca, as the Suresnes Cite Danse festival, which this year turns 20, puts France’s thriving urban dance culture on display.

This year’s edition brings together 28 choreographers and 106 dancers, half from established hip-hop troupes like Pockemon Crew and Wanted Posse and the other half young dancers auditioned for the event.

Runs until February 12.


Art: Spain’s first major retrospective devoted to Russian-born artist Marc Chagall charts his influence on art history through 150 works from collections around the world, with paintings such as The Fiddler plus sculptures, ceramics and stained-glass windows.

The two-part exhibition at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum and the Caja Madrid Foundation is curated by world Chagall specialist Jean-Louis Prat, tracking the artist in Europe and the United States both sides of World War II.

From February 14 to May 20.

Ballet: Cuba’s contemporary dance troupe Danza Contemporeana de Cuba showcases three pieces including the balletic Folia by Dutch choreographer Jan Linkens, and the electro-tinged Latin creation Mambo 3XXI by the Cuban George Cespedes. At Madrid’s Teatro Real from February 16 to 23.

A photo of Andy Warhol on show at the exhibition Warhol’s World.A photo of Andy Warhol on show at the exhibition Warhol’s World.

The Netherlands

Art: One hundred prints by famous French painters including Pierre Bonnard, Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec go on display at the Van Gogh Museum in an exhibition entitled the “golden age” of Paris lithography from 1890-1905. Runs from today to September 23.

Photography: Pictures snapped by Andy Warhol and his contemporaries offer a glimpse of the New York underground scene surrounding the pop art icon’s Factory in the 1960s, in an exhibition dubbed Warhol’s World.

Drawn from a private collection entitled From Cobra to Contemporary, the images – many of them exhibited for the first time – go on show at Rotterdam’s Kunsthal centre, from Saturday to April 1.


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