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Giving Contours to Shadows

Exhibition and research project by SAVVY Contemporary and n.b.k., 23 May - 27 July 2014 at different venues in Berlin.
May 2014

The art and research project Giving Contours to Shadows takes its cue from the Glissantian concept that history, a "functional fantasy of the West," cannot be left in the hands of historians only. In that sense, the project looks at ways, by which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives to established narratives from embodiment practices to possibilities of pre-writing of History.

Unfolding into a group exhibition at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and SAVVYContemporary and a performance program at Maxim Gorki Theatre and Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, a roundtable program as well as a series of satellite projects in Marrakech, Nairobi, Dakar, Lagos and Johannesburg Giving Contours to Shadows reflects on philosophical, socio-cultural and historical aspects of global interest. With a particular interest in creating space for different epistemologies, the project will cast light on discourses that transcend Western perceptions of history, and propose contemporary narratives that overcome the colonial and post-colonial discourses.

The exhibition and program are framed in five thematic chapters: Performing and Embodying histories, Wandering through histories, <emphasize>Unthinking the Chimera</emphasize>, <emphasize>Sequestrating History</emphasize> and <emphasize>Pre-writing histories</emphasize>. Furthermore, the roundtable program is dedicated to discussions on the ideologies of space, performativity and the archive, and notions of pre-writing history.

Artists: Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (GF), Jelili Atiku (NG), Fayçal Baghriche (DZ), Neïl Beloufa (FR/DZ), Halida Boughriet (DZ), Marcio Carvalho (PT), Virginia Chihota (ZW), Chimurenga Lab (ZA), Em’kal Eyongakpa (CAM), Mounir Fatmi (MA), Badr el Hammami & Fadma Kaddouri (MA), Adelita Husni-Bey (IT/LYB), Wanuri Kahiu (KE), Bouchra Khalili (MA), Kiluanji Kia Henda (ANG), Kapwani Kiwanga (CA/TZ), Donna Kukama (ZA), Ato Malinda (KE), Mwangi Hutter (DE/KE), Paulo Nazareth (BR), Otobong Nkanga (NG), Ahmet Ögüt (TR), Lerato Shadi (ZA), Alexandre Singh (FR/USA), Hank Willis Thomas (USA), Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa (UK).

Giving Contours To Shadows is a project by SAVVY Contemporary and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), Maxim Gorki Theater, Gemäldegalerie Berlin, Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa (CCAEA, Nairobi, Kenya), Ker Thiossane (Dakar, Senegal), 5th Marrakech Biennale Satellite (Marrakech, Morocco), Video Art Network (VAN Lagos, Nigeria) and Parking Gallery/ VANSA (Johannesburg, South Africa).

More information:

(From press information.
Images: Hank Willis Thomas, Mounir Fatmi)

Giving Contours to Shadows

23 May - 27 July 2014

Curator: Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung
Co-curator: Dr. Elena Agudio
Roundtable Series Co-curator:
Storm Janse van Rensburg

Opening at n.b.k.: 23 May, 7 pm

Chausseestrasse 128/129

10115 Berlin


Performances by Lerato Shadi "Mosaka wa nako" and Mwangi Hutter "Drastic"


Opening at SAVVY: 24 May, 7 pm

Richardstraße 20

12043 Berlin


6 pm: Performance on Richardplatz by Jelili Atiku "Alaagba"


9 pm: Concert by M3NSA at Prachtwerk, Ganghoferstraße 2


Afterparty with Ntone Edjabe

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