Savvy Contemporary / Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany
23 May 2014 - 27 Jul 2014


Mounir Fatmi, History is Not Mine, 2013, Video, HD

Giving Contours To Shadows takes its cue from the Glissantian conception that History cannot be left in the hands of historians only. In that sense, the project explores the ways in which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their own epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives into existing narratives: from embodiment practices to the pre-writing of History.

Unfolding into a group exhibition at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and SAVVY Contemporary 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 concern. With a particular interest in creating space for diverse epistemologies, the project will cast light on discourse frameworks 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, Unthinking the Chimera, Sequestrating History and Pre-writing histories. 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), Ingrid Mwangi/Robert 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).

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

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), Kër Thiossane (Dakar, Senegal), 5th Marrakech Biennale Satellite (Marrakech, Morocco), Video Art Network (VAN Lagos, Nigeria) and Parking Gallery/ VANSA (Johannesburg, South Africa).


from may 24-july 31, 2014 at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein/ SAVVY Contemporary,

Friday, May 23, 7pm 
Opening Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
Lerato Shadi, Mosaka wa nako, performance
Mwangi Hutter, Drastic, performance

Saturday, May 24
6pm Jelili Atiku, Alaagba, performance walk from Richardplatz to SAVVY Contemporary
7pm Opening SAVVY Contemporary
9pm Concert by M3NSA, venue: Prachtwerk, Ganghoferstraße 2, 12043 Berlin
10pm Afterparty with Ntone Edjabe (Chimurenga), venue: Prachtwerk


Berlin, Maxim Gorki Theatre, May 25 – 28, 2014
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: June 25th-27th, 2014

Performing and Embodying histories
Monday, May 26
7pm Ato Malinda: Mshoga Mpya, or the New Homosexual
8pm Kapwani Kiwanga: Afrogalactica: A Brief History of the Future
9:15 pm Uhr Kapwani Kiwanga: Afrogalactica: The Black Star Chronicles

Tuesday, May 27
7pm Ato Malinda: Mshoga Mpya, or the New Homosexual
8pm Kapwani Kiwanga: Afrogalactica: The Deep Space Scrolls
9:30pm Lerato Shadi: Leleme

Wednesday, May 28
7pm Ato Malinda: Mshoga Mpya, or the New Homosexual
7:30pm Roundtable II Keynote: Simon Njami, Giving Contours To Shadows
8pm Márcio Carvalho: Power Over Memory – A Case Study
9:30pm Serge Olivier Fokoua: Le Vrai Visage

Venue: Maxim Gorki Theater, Studio ?, Hinter dem Gießhaus 2, 10117 Berlin
Tickets: T +030 20221115, ticket@gorki.de or at the box office

Wandering through histories
Wednesday, June 25
3:30pm Donna Kukama: Historical Overview (I Painted Each and Every One)
4:30pm Márcio Carvalho / Christoph Ploner, Reconsolidation Machine

Venue: Gemäldegalerie / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin


Wandering through histories
16 May– 28 July

Artists: Chimurenga, Hank Willis Thomas
In cooperation with STRÖER
For precise information about the sites, go to www.givingcontours.net


Berlin, SAVVY Contemporary, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, precursor to the opening of the exhibition, 23 May 2014
Berlin, SAVVY Contemporary, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, 25 – 28 June 2014

Thursday, June 26
“Imaginary of the Present: Current Images of African Worlds”
Roundtable with Simon Njami (curator, art critic, Paris), Binyavanga Wainaina (writer and art critic, Nairobi), Yacouba Konaté (curator, art critic, Professor of Philosophy, Université de Cocody, Abidjan), moderated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (curator, Art Director SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)
“Carving up and Carving out: Ideologies of Making Space”
Roundtable with Paul Goodwin (curator, urbanist, Professor of Black Art and Design, University of the Arts, London), Sarah Nuttall (Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), Peggy Piesche (scholar and researcher, Bayreuth Academy for Advanced African Studies, Berlin), Sarah Rifky (curator, Cairo), moderated by Storm Janse van Rensburg (curator, Berlin)

Venue: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein


Friday, June 27
“Contained Measures of a Kolanut”, Intervention and talk with Otobong Nkanga (artist, Antwerp)
“Fleshing the Archive: Performance / Orality / Embodiment of History”
Roundtable with Olivier Marbœuf (curator, Paris), Tavia Nyong’o (cultural scientist, historian, New York), Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa (artist, Berlin), moderated by Elena Agudio (art historian, curator, Berlin)

Venue: SAVVY Contemporary
Pre-Writing History: Past / Future”
Roundtable with Premesh Lalu (Professor of History, Director Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town), Elvira Dyangane Ose (curator, Tate Modern, London), Greg Tate (writer, musician, New York), Jimmy Ogonga (artist, Nairobi), moderated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (curator, Art Director SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)

Black Mass Biotek BaKol  – Performance with Greg Tate (writer, musician, New York), Satch Hoyt (artist, Berlin), Christina Wheeler (musician, artist, Berlin), followed by DJ and bar

In cooperation with the TURN Meeting #1: On perspectives, facts and fictions by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Venue: Heimathafen Neukölln, Karl-Marx-Straße 141, 12043 Berlin


Filipa César / Suleimane Biai
n.b.k. Showroom

Filipa César, in her films and installations, explores the post-colonial constellations that were spawned by the recent history of Portugal. Since 2011, her research is focused on the film production in Guinea-Bissau, the beginnings of which were closely linked to the struggle for liberation. In February, in Birbam, about three hours north of the capital Bissau, for a period of three weeks, she has been documenting, together with the filmmaker Suleimane Biai, the construction of a house that will serve the surrounding villages as a meeting space. Alongside his work as a filmmaker, Suleimane Biai is the régulo in this region and hence has assumed the duties of the head and conciliator of the community. Regulado, an installation conceived for Neuer Berliner Kunstverein in cooperation with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, is named after the régulo’s scope of responsibility, usually an association of several villages. The installation results from a confrontation, which occurred in the course of shooting in Birbam and by which the cinematic action was called upon in unforeseen ways. Centered around two related videos, each of them shot in one take, the installation sketches relationships between various discursive and physical spaces, which intertwine within this encounter: the régulo’s scope of responsibilities and the staging space in front of the film camera, but also the assembly hall built off-scene, a mobile cinema in Birbam and the showroom in Berlin.
Curated by Tobias Hering

In cooperation with the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, in frame of the project Visionary Archive, funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation


Marrakech, 5th Marrakech Biennal, March 1st – 22nd, 2014
Nairobi, Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa (CCAEA) and The NEST, March 11-14, 2014
Dakar, Kër Thiossane: September 2014 (dates tba)
Lagos, Video Art Network (VAN Lagos), October 2014 (dates tba)
Johannesburg, Parking Gallery/ (VANSA), November 2014 (dates tba)





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