Esther Schipper

Berlin-based gallerist and crucial force in shaping the city’s evolving art scene

Next year Schipper celebrates 30 years in business: she opened in 1989, in Cologne, with a General Idea show. The intervening decades saw, besides her championing of many key artists of the 90s, numerous changes – relocating to Berlin, merging with and then absorbing Johnen Galerie, opening her Selldorf Architects-designed new space last year, with its unusual semi-bookshop atrium – but some things don’t change. There was a General Idea/AA Bronson show at the gallery this year too, a big celebratory retrospective; and Schipper retains her keen understanding of which artists matter today (and to posterity). This year, between popping up at the major fairs and watching her artists such as Philippe Parreno, Tino Sehgal and Tomás Saraceno circulate through the artworld’s top echelons, she signed Hito Steyerl and Simon Fujiwara to the gallery, and her flexible programme found room for both the latter’s whiplashing, themepark-style simulator, Empathy I, and spectral works by Bangalore minimalist Prabhavathi Meppayil.