Old Masters and the stars of tomorrow: art exhibitions in Germany

The great German poet Friedrich Schiller once said that all art is dedicated to joy. But it is perhaps most joyous of all when great works of art leave the studios, galleries and workshops of the artists to be displayed, admired and contemplated in lavish exhibitions up and down the county.

The idyllic coastal landscapes of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have long been a popular haven for artists of all styles and genres. Every year in May/June, the region hosts the Kunst : Offen project, which sees around 500 established and lesser-known artists across the whole state open their studios to the public. Painters, graphic artists, sculptors, photographers, potters and artisans invite visitors to discuss their work and have a go themselves. Some 200 art galleries and museums host their own accompanying events.

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Munich is where the gallery weekend was first held. Every September since 1989, Munich's art houses have opened their doors to visitors for the Open Art event, presenting a variety of their latest and most exceptional works of contemporary art. Today around 70 galleries take part in this collaborative event. The equally successful Gallery Weekend in Berlin , launched in 2004, is an offshoot of the Munich event.

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Although the neighbouring cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf do not always see eye to eye on everything, they have joined forces every autumn since 2009 to host the successful Düsseldorf Cologne Open Galleries event – the 'dc open'. For one weekend, some 70 galleries in both these Rhineland cities run joint initiatives to promote the region's outstanding art scene and present their latest exhibitions and works.

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Films and exhibitions provide the focus for the European Media Art Festival (EAMF), held every April in Osnabrück . The organisers compile the three-day festival programme from thousands of short and feature-length films submitted by media artists from all over the world. The idea is to stimulate reflection and discussion among visitors. Accompanying exhibitions feature monitor installations, kinetic objects and light art projects.

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Every two years, the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art showcases the latest works by international artists at various locations in the German capital. The three-month exhibition provides a space for artistic experimentation, while identifying and critically examining the latest trends in the art world. It is an opportunity especially for young artists to communicate with a global audience. The Berlin Biennale is organised by the KW Institute for Contemporary Art.

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The Spree Forest is probably best known for its traditional Sorbian handicrafts – but every year during the aquamediale® open-air art exhibition, you'll see a very different side to this wooded wetlands region in southern Brandenburg . For three months, the town of Lübben in the Spree Forest hosts displays of avant-garde art by international artists. The exhibition is enjoyed by more than 100,000 visitors every year.

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More than ten exhibition venues in the city, each displaying the works of around 50 international photographic artists, have made Darmstadt Photography Festival an increasingly popular event in recent years. The Designhaus at the Mathildenhöhe artists' colony hosts the main exhibition, with the other venues used on a rotation basis. On the Sunday morning, the artists attend the exhibitions in person to answer questions from visitors. A shuttle service operates between the venues.

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