The Kunstverein Hannover exhibition »Beyond the Black Atlantic« showcases the work of four young artists who work in various media to address aspects of the Western, Eurocentric notion of »Blackness«, which is often freighted with prejudice. Identitydetermining factors such as gender, descent and sexual orientation are examined from various perspectives with the aim of raising new awareness about how the Black community is more widely perceived in society.
British sociologist Paul Gilroy coined the term »Black Atlantic« in 1993 with the publication of his book The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness, a work that describes both the various outside cultural influences that have impacted the diaspora and the changes it has affected. Gilroy describes the culture of the »Black Atlantic« as stemming from a confluence of African, American, British and Caribbean cultures. The meeting of those influences has its origins in the history of the slave trade, for which the crossing of the Atlantic constituted an important trade route. As such, the »Black Atlantic« contains aspects of both presumably European and African origin.
This group exhibition curated by Sergey Harutoonian (curator Kunstverein Hannover) presents four different vantage points on the notion of a global Black identity while simultaneously distancing itself from the historical approach to the »Black Atlantic« that gives the exhibition its title. »Beyond the Black Atlantic« looks to the younger generation of artists for a contemporary take on this still highly relevant subject area.
Invited artists Sandra Mujinga (b. 1989, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo), Paulo Nazareth (b. 1977, Governador Valadares, Brazil), Tschabalala Self (b. 1990, New York City, USA), and Kemang Wa Lehulere (b. 1984, Cape Town, South Africa) reflect in their works the still difficult confrontation with topics of gender, skin color, origin, and sexual orientation in their respective homelands whilst at the same time, by virtue of their own backgrounds, being direct protagonists and witnesses of the constant change in the way society views the Black Community. The works on display present a complex picture of this topic and cover a broad range of artistic media including photography, film, installation, painting and sculpture.
A publication is planned for the exhibition that will focus even more strongly on the mentioned subject.
A varied supporting program has been developed to shed critical light on the underlying topic, which remains highly relevant today.
The Kunstverein will be hosting a “Summer School” for the duration of the exhibition which will be held April 14th to 18th and is sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation. Titled Anthropology and Contemporary Visual Arts from the Black Atlantic, the one-week conference will feature a distinguished selection of international scholars. The exhibition and Summer School will further be accompanied by films screened at the Kommunales Kino, a cinema at the Künstlerhaus. The described concept and supporting program provide yet another opportunity for interdisciplinary, productive exchange at Kunstverein Hannover.
Artist Talk: February 14, 6:30pm,
with Sandra Mujinga and Tschabalala Self
Opening: February 14, 8pm
Lecture with Dr. Clémentine Deliss: March 25, 7pm,
Artistic and curatorial research on debatable collections
Lecture with C&’s Dr. Yvette Mutumba & Julia Grosse: April 22, 7pm,
Approaches to an art magazine beyond the “global art hype”