Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and opened in 1968, I once heard it said that Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie looks like the world's dopest Texaco station. After five decades of hard use, the legendary David Chipperfield was entrusted with renovating the building six years ago: the safest pair of safe hands considering his past successes across the German capital. Despite myriad changes (Chipperfield previously compared the revamp process to “surgery”) the steel-roofed icon is finally open to the public once again, looking more formidable than ever. Don't call it a glo-up!

Which contemporary artist, then, should have the honor of re-opening the city's biggest and best gallery? Enter German-Italian visual artist and filmmaker Rosa Barba, who has looked back on her oeuvre for “In a Perpetual Now." For the uninitiated, Barba's work is about as far from on the nose as imaginable. The conceptualist deals in lofty, abstract ideas, exploring the materiality, devices, production conditions, and grammar of cinema — she's a sound fit for a building that demands gravitas.

When entering the space, one is met by a steel structure that references an unrealized van der Rohe design. This is the skeleton for a montage of Barba's work – 15 creations that have been revamped and readapted to the layout, with one being totally new.

It's quite a trip, exploring the relationship between artist and architect, time and space. Cards on the table, it's not the type of exhibition for those lacking imagination. Barba implores the viewer to throw out any siloed notions they have of sound, image, and sculpture, instead proposing how each discipline is interlinked. I dare say the message will go over the heads of more than a few, but whatever! Even if it does, the ambient lights and whirring projectors are pure Instagram timeline catnip.

Prior to the exhibition, Highsnobiety and friends were invited along to a talk with Barba at the wonderfully grandiose setting of Berlin's Italian embassy. There, we were joined by Armando Varricchio, the country's ambassador to Germany. A most charming fellow in what I suspect is a perfectly tailored Neapolitan suit, Varricchio outlined his commitment to the arts, describing Barba as the perfect choice to mark the Giornata del Contemporaneo's (a global initiative organized in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) year of performance art.

"Contemporary art is simply part of my life and my work," he explained over a strong Grappa. "It is the art of my present and the encounter with it allows me to rethink my attitudes and to better understand other positions."

Even if art isn't your bag, a visit to the Neue Nationalgalerie is a must do on any trip to Berlin. Find it at:

Potsdamer Str. 50



What To Read Next

  • best scandinavian brands feature rains sandqvist stutterheim

    39 Scandinavian Brands You Need to Know

  • spanish rappers feature BEJO C.Tangana Cookin' Soul

    10 Spanish Rappers You Need to Know

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Palace’s UGG Boots Probably Aren’t For Skating In

  • salomon xt-6

    Is This the Best Salomon Colorway Yet?

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Can New Balance's 610 Be Its Next 990?

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    A Testament to Greatness – Drake's Apollo Theatre Setlist

*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.