As a seismograph of global artistic output, the national pavilions of Venice are no longer fit for purpose. Along with pavilion swaps (France-Germany in 2013), takeovers (Estonia at the Dutch Pavilion in 2022), and literal excavations of national histories (Germany in 1993 and 2022), bland critiques of nationalism return reliably every two years to garnish the curatorial statements of the permanent pavilions. The long and bumpy road to Venice for many of the other pavilions is easily lost on western critics, who often don’t bother to visit them. https://contemporaryand.com/magazines/why-the-venice-biennale-model-is-obsolete/ Image: 70 artists, "Unfolding Questions, Codes, and Contours" (2012-2020), imaged here first iteration in Bergen 2012, cotton, 79 x 57 inches each (photo by Randi Grov Berger and courtesy Entrée).
The April issue of frieze is dedicated to the Venice Biennale. Fernanda Brenner, Thea Havlin, Skye Arundhati Thomas and myself each select an artist to watch at this year’s Biennale: Dineo Seshee Bopape, Giulia Cenci, Shubigi Rao and Luiz Roque. Ahead of Bobape's presentation at TBA21–Academy's Ocean Space in Venice, Eric Otieno Sumba reflects on the artist’s relationship with the sea . https://www.frieze.com/article/dineo-seshee-bopape-and-multiplicity-ocean Images: Cover of Frieze 226 (right) and Dineo Seshee Bopape, ‘Ile aye, moya, l , ndokh...harmonic conversions...mm’, 2021, installation view. Courtesy: © the artist and Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Richmond (left).
The newly opened Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute presents the first-ever survey of the autodidact’s long painting career. https://www.frieze.com/article/sane-wadu-nairobi-contemporary-art-institute-2022-review. Image: Sane Wadu Broken Calabash (1984)
The general reception of Abloh’s work often straddled the line between fierce contestation and euphoric celebration. Yet, as the outpouring of grief upon the announcement of his death showed, it is his “immaterial” legacy – his kindness, generosity, and readiness to variously lift others – that shifted culture. Abloh understood his job, but perhaps more importantly, he understood the assignment. Read my obituary of Virgil Abloh in the March 2022 Issue of Texte Zur Kunst #125 https://www.textezurkunst.de/125/
53 years after it was first made in 1968, the Ghanaian filmmaker King Ampaw’s short film ‘Black Is Black’ celebrates its inconspicuous premiere. Karina Griffith performs “We Call It Love: An Oppositional Screening” at HAU Berlin's "Radical Mutations: On the Ruins of Rising Suns' Festival curated by Nyabinghi Lab, 2020. https://africasacountry.com/2022/01/swallowed-by-the-archive Image: © Dorothea Tuch.
In Igbo, the word Ámà denotes a site of knowledge and collectivity – a communal vibe. But bringing this archetype to Europe requires an awareness of clichéd visions of Africa, and an excavation of the sonic and haptic as vital challenges to Western modes of seeing the world. Writer and political economist Eric Otieno Sumba follows the wave. https://www.berlinerfestspiele.de/en/gropiusbau/programm/journal/start.html Image: Emeka Ogboh, Ámà: The Gathering Place, 2021, installation view, Gropius Bau, Berlin by Luca Girardini
Far removed from the rich, viral imagery advanced by US pop stars, Orupabo’s rendering is unobtrusive in its simplicity. Yet, Girl on Horse reminds us that, on the flipside of the relatively well-researched visual history of the horse, art history is only beginning to decisively grapple with the injustices – slavery, colonialism and capitalist patriarchy – symbolized by the girl’s severed limbs. https://www.frieze.com/article/frida-orupabo-girl-on-horse
In einer Filmreihe verbindet Oliver Hardt die Themen aus Kara Walkers Werk mit den Perspektiven Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland. Im Gespräch mit Autor Eric Otieno Sumba erzählt der Filmemacher, was uns an den Abenden erwartet. https://www.schirn.de/magazin/interviews/2021_interview/schwarz_ist_keine_farbe/
Daniela Ortiz’s Small-Scale Monuments Are Bollards Of Resistance. At the heart of the Peruvian artist's painting, sculpture and performance is a critique of border regimes and a celebration of anti-colonial aesthetics. The Cuzco-based artist presents her site-specific performance 'The children are not of the wolf' for the curatorial program Hidden Histories https://griotmag.com/en/daniela-ortizs-small-scale-monuments-are-bollards-of-resistance/ Image: Daniela Ortiz, Anti-colonial monuments (Columbus), 2018 series of six sand painted clays. COURTESY Galleria La Veronica
In Frankfurt, Gqunta summons her ancestors via her dreams to reassociate herself with her alienated and alienating inheritance. She reclaims severed connections between herself, the land and that which grows on it, as well as the physical, mental and emotional implications of that process. In her hands, the ugliness of South Africa’s famous landscape is revealed. After all, how beautiful can a garden really be when it’s on stolen land? https://www.frieze.com/article-lungiswa-gqunta-zollamt-mmk-review-2021 Image: Lungiswa Gqunta, 'Tending to the Harvest of Dreams', 2021, installation view, ZOLLAMT MMK, Frankfurt. Courtesy: the artist and MMK, Frankfurt; photograph: Diana Pfammatter
My review of Januario Jano's solo exhibition at Frankfurt Gallery Jean Claude Maier "Arquivo Mestre" appears in the September 2021 Issue of Frieze Magazine (#221). It is also available online titled "Januário Jano’s Elegy to Angola's Stolen Land": https://www.frieze.com/article/januario-jano-arquivo-mestre-2021-review Image: ©Paula Rego on the cover of Frieze Magazine #221. A review of a group show titled "Sweat" at Munich's Haus der Kunst marks my debut for Texte zur Kunst: #123 September 2021 https://www.textezurkunst.de/123/i-just-wanna-make-you-sweat/
The book 'The Journey: New Positions in African Photography' collects fascinating work by African photographers produced between 2008 and 2018. However, there are lingering questions about who gets to see it: taking stock after the strongest decade of “African Photography” >>>>>DE https://www.monopol-magazin.de/new-positions-african-photography?slide=1 >>>>EN https://griotmag.com/en/taking-stock-after-the-strongest-decade-of-african-photography/
Image: © Ibrahim Thiam "Maam Coumba Bang", 2017, from "The Journey, New Positions in African Photography"
Januário Jano’s Elegy to Angola's Stolen Land: At Jean Claude Maier, Frankfurt am Main, the artist samples from institutions that continue to hoard his native country's heritage, connecting the dots between Christianity and the Angolan textile cultures lost to colonial practices. https://www.frieze.com/article/januario-jano-arquivo-mestre-2021-review Image: Januário Jano, ‘Arquivo Mestre’, 2021, exhibition view, Jean Claude Maier, Frankfurt am Main. Courtesy: the artist and Jean Claude Maier
This New Indie Magazine Is Off To Kinshasa. After the inaugural issue explored everybody's darling, Accra, the second issue of ground-breaking independent print magazine OFF TO heads to the elusive megalopolis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. https://griotmag.com/en/this-new-indie-magazine-is-off-to-kinshasa/ Image: © Nizar Saleh Courtesy OFF TO Kinshasa Issue
Oath Magazine Is Feeding The Curiosity For New Photography From Africa. Published in Cape Town, the dazzling inaugural issue navigates a rich landscape of contemporary image-making on the continent and sets a high bar for itself and for others. https://griotmag.com/en/oath-magazine-is-feeding-the-curiosity-for-new-photography-from-africa/ Image: ©Arinze Rodney/ Courtesy Oath Magazine
White Cube never clarifies why Martens believes it is progressive for landless labourers to have to raise money to buy back land that was stolen from them and, ultimately, perpetuates the very form of exploitation that the artist is criticizing. Founding the Lusanga post-plantation on a logic of ownership that reifies colonial theft within a supposedly forward-thinking art project is ‘anti-politics’, to use a term coined by American anthropologist James Ferguson. https://www.frieze.com/article/renzo-martenss-fraught-attempt-change-art-world Image: Screenshot "White Cube" 2020. © Institute for Human Activities & the Artist
Sandra Mujinga's Spectral Figures Evoke Dark Histories and a Murky Present. At the heart of the artist's work is a critique of the violence of representation https://www.frieze.com/article/sandra-mujinga-spectral-figures-2021 Image: Spectral Figures 2021 (Installation View) 2021 courtesy of the Artist and Approach Gallery, London
Bringing Art, Iconography And The Legacy Of Angela Davis together the exhibition '1 Million Roses for Angela' seeks to draw a line from the "Free Angela" campaign to ongoing social justice conversations today https://griotmag.com/en/1-million-roses-the-exhibition-bringing-art-iconography-and-the-legacy-of-angela-davis-together/
Trotz Corona: Einige Ausstellungen konnten wir 2020 doch sehen: Die Monopol-Redaktion hat gemeinsam mit Autorinnen und Autoren des Magazin die Kunst-Highlights des Jahres gewählt. Die meisten Nennungen erhält Hito Steyerl. Und: So viele Galerieausstellungen wurden selten genannt. https://www.monopol-magazin.de/ausstellungen-des-jahres-2020 Bild: Hito Steyerls Arbeit "Hell Yeah We Fuck Die" (2016) im K21 Düsseldorf ©dpa
In Christie Neptune’s 4-minute video work Memories from Yonder (2015), she interviewed elderly female immigrant seniors from Guyana to find out what happens when one’s cultural foundations have shifted because of a new cultural landscape. She weaves together her own family narrative with the story of the 90-year old Eubora Calder who crochets a red bundle of yarn while speaking about her immigrant experience in the US. Her fondest memory, she recalls, was crocheting by the window while watching the snow fall. A popular recreational activity among Guyanese women, crocheting for Neptune takes on symbolic meaning. It is a mode of home maintenance, a way of reasserting over and over again that a place is home, so much so that the act itself becomes a proxy home. http://griotmag.com/en/artists-guyana-thinking-liminal-spaces-migration/ Image: video stills from Memories from Yonder, 2015 © Christie Neptune