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
Wiredu does not shy away from heavier, bitter-sweet, themes, though those looking for melancholia will be disappointed. She writes about teenage escapades (Back home, strict folks), shadism in school (I was called purple), Identity (the heaviness of expectation), immigrants and Brexit (he told me he voted leave), single mothers (she had three cleaning jobs and me) and ultimately about the generational survival that many immigrants in the UK, and literally everywhere else are forced to be extremely good at (eventually at 63, hobbling to work with your back pain, your children will study, get good jobs, do well). http://griotmag.com/en/adjoa-wiredus-reflection-moments-flight-nothing-new-evocative-debut-collection-charmingly-honest-poetry/ Image: Paris market with umbrella, women, 2017. © Adjoa Wiredu
A place in the sun, (German: Ein Platz in der Sonne) is a phrase heavy with longing. It is credited to the Foreign affairs Minister of the German Empire, Bernhard von Bülow. Referring to the parliamentary debate about the empire’s colonial ambitions in 1897, he said “we do not want to put anyone in the shade, but we also demand our place in the sun”. His words marked the early beginnings of a 30-year colonial empire: from China’s Kiautschou Bay to ‘German Southwest Africa’ and beyond, an empire that was outlived by a distinct longing. The phrase depended on the jolly images that it produced in people’s minds. Despite its seemingly harmless connotations, It became a metaphor for a counterintuitive dual fantasy in which domination met urlaub: put differently, it significantly blurred the lines between German colonial nostalgia and the ‘right’ to enjoy holidays in a sunnier part of the world at any given time. Interview with Frankfurt Photographer Ana Paula Dos Santos http://griotmag.com/en/arts-photography-frankfurt-photographer-ana-paula-dos-santos-deconstructs-place-sun-series/ Image: Untitled (Deconstructing a Place in the Sun), 2015 © Ana Paula Dos Santos
ENG Why Restitution Won’t Happen If Europe Controls the Terms. Charges of ‘attempted theft of a cultural asset’ against Congolese activist Mwazulu Diyabanza reveal the abyss of Europe’s self-referential legality https://www.frieze.com/article/why-restitution-wont-happen-if-europe-controls-terms DE Wer ist hier der Dieb? Ein mutmaßlicher Pariser »Beutekunstdieb« legt die Abgründe eurozentristischer Legalität offen https://www.akweb.de/gesellschaft/pariser-beutekunstdieb-angriff-auf-eurozentrische-realitaet/ Image/Bild: © Mwazulu Diyabanza by Elliot Verdier
Muzi, the 29-year-old South African musician-producer making waves across continents was dubbed “golden boy” when he entered the scene for the lightness and funk of his music. However, Muzi’s journey started long before his appearances on the world stage, in the township in Empangeni, some 140KM north of Durban, where he first started to envision his place in music. Bolstered by the support of his mother, and soaking up the sounds of the time, his roots have consistently played a significant role in his music. This is most obvious in his wide-ranging blend of music influenced by urban and electronica with a host of South African genres like Maskandi, Kwaito, Iscathamiya and Bubblegum Pop of the 80s and 90s. http://griotmag.com/en/mama-ep-muzi/ Image: © clout killed the kids
My review of Larry W. Cook appears in the October Issue of Frieze Magazine (#214). It is also available under the title "Larry W. Cook Photographs the Vulnerability of Black Fatherhood": https://www.frieze.com/article/larry-w-cook-photographs-vulnerability-black-fatherhood Image: Promotional still from Carmen Jones (1954) starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge as seen on John Akomfrah's © work "Our Skin is a Monument" (2020) on the cover of Frieze Magazine #214.
At the beginning of the present pandemic, there seemed to be a curious, newfound appreciation for art. Social media was awash with elegies at the realization that art fairs would be cancelled, galleries closed, and highly anticipated exhibitions postponed indefinitely. Various non-artist stakeholders in the art world declared that art was the only thing that we had in the face of unprecedented adversity. https://www.contemporaryand.com/magazines/when-artists-speak/ Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art © The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC.
Initially installed on Kassel's main Square, the work earned Olu Oguibe the prestigious 2017 Arnold Bode Prize, but was also met with indignation for what some right-wing politicians read as a provocation in the midst of the raging debate on Germany’s asylum policy. The 16.3-metre-tall concrete obelisk bears the inscription: ‘I was a stranger and you took me in’ – a verse from the New Testament’s Gospel of Matthew – in gold letters in German, English, Arabic and Turkish. While Monument remains Oguibe’s best-known piece, his current solo exhibition at Vienna’s Galerie Kandlhofer demonstrates his sustained engagement with forms of memorialization. https://www.frieze.com/article/olu-oguibe-creates-monuments-precarity-survival Image: Olu Oguibe, Many Thousand Gone (detail), 2000, ink on acid-free watercolour paper. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna; Photograph by ©Manuel Carreon-Lopez / kunst-dokumentation.com
Born in Senegal, educated in Japan and currently based in Germany, Kuwaiti visual artist Monira al Qadiri came of age during the rapid transformation of Kuwait from one of the world’s oldest civilizations to a giant of the oil industry. From the beginning of her career, she has paid attention to the turmoil caused by prosperity, religion, and rapid societal transformation. Her performance, sculpture and video work also explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and speculative futures. ENG http://griotmag.com/en/monira-al-qadiri-on-the-end-of-oil-and-documenting-petro-culture-for-a-post-oil-world/ GER https://www.monopol-magazin.de/kuenstlerin-monira-al-qadiri Image: "Diver" (2018) © Monira Al Kadiri
Black Is King is a timely affirmation for the global African diaspora, but it can’t be accepted as a universal representation of global Blackness. Its biggest problem is not visible within its frames, but has an intangible, hovering presence. Beyoncé’s promise to ‘present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message’ is compromised by the project’s very foundation: The Lion King ontology, which is the ongoing belief that Disney’s fictional imaginary is an adequate basis to appraise the varieties of contemporary global Blackness. https://www.frieze.com/article/black-king-beyonce-doesnt-share-crown Image: ©Travis Matthews/Disney/Parkwood Ent.
In a cosy yet sparsely furnished living room, a young girl in pink, Disney-themed pyjamas sits on a low folding chair cradling a doll and gazing off to one side. From behind, her father wraps his arms around her in a similarly protective manner. Next to him on the sofa, a comb and a tub of hair lotion suggest that they have been interrupted during the girl’s hair-care routine. Fatherhood 3 (2018) is one of a series of photographs by the Washington-based artist Larry W. Cook, who brilliantly uses paternity to problematize notions of Black masculinity and carcerality in the American imaginary. https://frieze.com/article/larry-w-cook-photographs-vulnerability-black-fatherhood Image: Larry W. Cook, Fatherhood 3 (detail) 2018, archival inkjet print, 102 × 76 cm. Courtesy: © the artist and Weiss Berlin
Otobong Nkanga's new exhibition at Gropius Bau investigates the ecological, economic and political issues negotiated through landscapes. On entering 'There’s no such a thing as Solid Ground', visitors are invited to walk on pebbles, interspersed with boulders here and there. After months in which touching anything, including one’s own face, seemed reckless, the gallery attendant’s advice to “sit awhile if you like…the boulders have been sanitised” is indicative of a new gallery etiquette as much as it is a temporary reprieve from the collective restraint in public spaces lately. I join my fellow masked visitors and sit on an unoccupied boulder in the corner of the room. https://www.sleek-mag.com/article/otobong-nkanga-gropius-bau-breathing-landscape-repair/ Image: ©Laura Fiorio (the artist stands in front of 'Double Plot' 2018)
Three figures are in hot pursuit of a Black man. A thrown brick, still suspended mid-air, will land on his head at any moment. One member of the group grabs the man’s hand; another’s arm is raised angrily. Nearby, a traffic light switches to green, as if to sanction the imminent lynching. Titled with a variation of the German n-word, George Herold’s painting revived a debate on the authority of art museums to judge on issues of racism when it was recently exhibited at Frankfurt’s Städel Museum. https://frieze.com/article/racist-painting-reveals-blind-spots-german-art-institutions Image ©Städel Museum
With the inversion of West African Studio portraiture, Silvia Rosi’s exploration of heritage is both inward and outward. It is inward because the subjects she embodies in her photography are members of her own family. But It is also outward because the technique she applies to capture herself is quite common in the family albums of Rosi’s generation. Now known as West African Studio portraiture, it is an aesthetic that is celebrated in the work of trailblazers such as Mali’s Malick Sidibe and Ghana’s Felica Abban, and more recently in contemporary work by Rosi, who is reinterpreting the classic West African studio portrait by stripping it down to convey the lived realities of her family. https://griotmag.com/en/people-photography-silvia-rosi-studio-portrait/ Image: self-portrait as my father, 2020 ©Silvia Rosi
Based on her instantly recognizable work, Lawson belongs to a short list of photographers who in their commitment to the Black image both as a document and as an archive, have created a distinctive signature style. Born 1979 in Rochester (NY), Lawson hails from a family for whom photography has long served as a craft, a source of livelihood or, intermittently, both. Her father, the family photographer, worked for Xerox and her mother for Kodak in Rochester, New York, where Lawson grew up. Her grandmother cleaned the home of George Eastman, who invented and mainstreamed the use of roll film. http://griotmag.com/en/centropy-deana-lawson-exhibition/ Image: Chief, 2019 ©Deana Lawson & Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Even though many societies globally, including Germany, are conscious of widespread racism, it will take more than that to bring an end to the violence and racial profiling that permeate social structures and policing, writes Eric Otieno https://www.sleek-mag.com/article/structural-racism-awareness-undo-george-floyd-black-lives-matter/ Image: ©Ibrahim X. Kendi
In the opening scene of Sondela Forever, it is hard to catch the walking man in the wide frame. Once-green grass, now the colour of hay although it is still growing, stretches out as far as the eye can see. Above it, the expansive cloudy sky, in its blueish-grey hues, adds an air that is both dramatic and sullen to the frame. The man approaches slowly. Suddenly, we can see his shoulders from the back thanks to a swift cut and a tighter frame that conveys the calm before the storm of him running towards us in apparent resolve. But even then, he seems buoyant. [...] http://griotmag.com/en/sondela-forever-muzi-new/ Images: ©Muzi ©Camangu Studio
As an independent print magazine enthusiast, it is often baffling what folks will make mags about. There are indie mags about literally everything, including Rugby, Plantain, Eastern European encounters, Global Warming, Activism, Conflict, Typography, Cats—it’s actually called Cat People y’all—and loads of other stuff you didn’t even know existed, but which have steadfast communities around them. However, until the Lagos-based Ìrìn Journal came along, nobody appears to have had the foresight to create an independent print magazine dedicated to African cities, travel, and culture. http://griotmag.com/en/irin-journal-lagos-issue-africa-culture/ Photo by Baingor Joiner, Prototype’, National Theater via facebook/Ìrìn
If all we had was the written word, the ephemeral mysticism of rituals would be completely lost on us. We would run out adjectives faster than the performers of a ritual — in their temporal ecstasy — ran out of breath. Eventually, the performers regain their breath, leaving the witnesses — us — lost for words, grappling to describe an event that was never meant to be contended with but to be experienced: to be felt, seen, heard, touched? It is this dearth of language that confronts all who attempt to describe any ritual, including but not limited to the Southern Italian ritual of Tarantism. http://griotmag.com/en/tarantism-odyssey-of-an-italian-ritual-flee-project/ Image: © Chiara Samugheo