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Kate Brehme

Lupe [1]

Center for Metropolitan Studies
TU Berlin
Hardenbergstraße 16-18
10623 Berlin

  • Dissertation
  • CV


Imagining Berlin: the temporary use of urban space by The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Biennales across the globe are often charged with the task of responding to a city’s changing urban situation (Hanru 2005; Doherty 2004). Unlike most west-European biennales, The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art distinguishes itself as a fascinating case study for investigating the relationship between architecture, contemporary art and the identity of the city. Founded during the 1990s, a period that saw rapid urban development on a monumental scale (Huyssen 1997; Till 2005), the Biennale has always dealt with, and is still influenced by the kind of accelerated and ongoing urban change unique to Berlin. Throughout its history, the Berlin Biennale has used non-traditional venues such as abandoned offices, apartments, schools, city streets, and even cemeteries for its exhibitions; sometimes out of a desire to connect to the city's past, sometimes out of sheer necessity to meet exhibition requirements. The temporary use of these urban spaces has become a significant part of the Biennale’s production process and its very identity, with the biennale priding itself on creating a dialogue with the city.

My research investigates the power struggles between the city and the biennial producer. Combining art historical and urban studies approaches, and by using the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art as a case study, I investigate why and how temporary urban spaces are desired as exhibition sites by the Berlin Biennale’s production team and how has this changed over the Biennale’s twenty year history.



2015 – Present
Doctoral Fellow
International Graduate Research Program Berlin - New York - Toronto, Center for Metropolitan Studies, Technical University of Berlin

Masters of Cultural Heritage (Museum Studies), Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Bachelor of Contemporary Arts (Visual Arts) with Distinction, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Diploma Visual Arts, Box Hill TAFE, Victoria, Australia


Independent Curator

Feb 2014-present
Lecturer, NODE Center for Curatorial Studies, Berlin

Nov 2011-Sept 2012
Educator, National Galleries of Scotland, UK

May 2011-July 2012
Tutor, Strathclyde University, Centre for Lifelong Learning, Glasgow, UK

Nov 2011-Jan 2012
Tutor, Edinburgh City Council, The Learning in Later Life Programme, UK

Jan 2012
Guest Tutor, Glasgow University, Humanities, Art, Technology and Information Institute, Masters in Museum Studies, UK

Oct 2009–Oct 2010
Education Assistant, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (1-year temporary post)


May 18th 2017
Paper Presentation, "Urban Space as Exhibition Space: A Study into The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art" at Biennale, Biennali. Politics Identity in between global and local, Graduate School Arts History of Venice, Università di Verona), Italy

April 8th 2016
Paper Presentation, “The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art: Temporality and Architecture as Spectacle" as part of the panel "The City in the Biennale: Architecture, geography and identity", at the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

April 5th 2016
Lecture, “The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art: Temporality and Architecture as Spectacle", Master Education in Arts Public Lecture Series, Piet Zwart Institute for Postgraduate Studies and Research , Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam University, Rotterdam

Oct 9th 2015
Poster Presentation, “Imagining Berlin as an International Cultural Metropolis Through the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art”, at HISTART ’15 Conference, Istanbul

Nov 19th 2015
Poster Presentation, “Imagining Berlin as an International Cultural Metropolis Through the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art”, at the International Graduate College Annual Conference, University of Toronto, Toronto

Oct 4, 2014
Symposium Panel Moderator
Berlin Unlimited Festival
ZK/U Berlin, Germany

June 3, 2014
Discussion Group Moderator, “The Future of Work and Education in the Arts” Ouishare Summit, SUPERMARKT, Berlin, Germany

March 29, 2014
Guest Speaker, “Resources in Berlin”
Instituto Cervantes Berlin International Arts Players Brunch
SUPERMARKT, Berlin, Germany

Nov 17, 2013
Panel Discussion Moderator, “Art and Discourse in the Digital Age”
Cyberfest, The WYE, Berlin, Germany

October 18-20, 2013
Co-Curator/Organiser, “WORKAROUND”, a 3-day seminar and workshop event on the theme of Self-Employment, Self-Organisation and New Notions of Work with Ela Kagel.
SUPERMARKT, Berlin, Germany

Sept 9, 2013
Paper Presentation, “Locatedness and the 13th Istanbul Biennial”
Independent Curators International Curatorial Intensive Public Symposium
Salt, Istanbul, Turkey
Video on YouTube


The Present in Drag, 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Art & the Public Sphere, Intellect Books, Volume 6 Issue 1-2, September 2017


September 2013
Istanbul, Turkey
(Field Research)


Curatorial Projects - www.contemporaryartexchange.org [4] 

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