Kenny Dunkan: BIDIM BLO!

basis, Frankfurt, Germany
09 Feb 2024 - 14 Apr 2024

Kenny Dunkan, NÈG MARRON, 2021
Metallic pieces, nylon, PVC and shoes of the artist (c : Philippe Fragnière)

Kenny Dunkan, NÈG MARRON, 2021 Metallic pieces, nylon, PVC and shoes of the artist (c : Philippe Fragnière)

basis e.V. presents BIDIM BLO!, Kenny Dunkan’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany. Through sculpture, photography, video and large-scale installations, the artist creates a diverse and visually powerful world in which established categories are questioned and objects and rituals are revitalised in new ways. His exhibition features immersive spaces in which materials and mystical elements coalesce into a microcosm. Upon entering the building, there is already a visual disjunction that leads visitors into a blue environment reminiscent of an underwater world, which in the course of the exhibition then transforms into mainland natural landscape and finally vanishes into lava.

The works are driven by a critical and conceptual exploration of social, political, sexual, and ethnic themes. By linking these themes with the visual culture of the Caribbean and the aesthetics of the carnival in particular, Dunkan addresses French colonial heritage and its enduring influence on perceptions and forms of representation. This complexity also characterises the aesthetics of his works, which are defined by dichotomies that move between craftsmanship and design, pop and high culture, fetish and playfulness, detail and entirety, minimalism and overloaded execution. By adapting his works to site-specific conditions, the artist also rewrites histories of violence and oppression. This is particularly significant in the context of the history of the basis building at Gutleutstraße 8–12. The building was the seat of the regional NSDAP party headquarters from 1933 to 1940. Through his artistic intervention, Kenny Dunkan literally writes over the brown history of the building on the exterior façade and in the foyer with his brown skin colour right at the entrance to the exhibition. This therefore enables him to take over the building with his own visual language.

The exhibition title BIDIM BLO!, like many of Kenny Dunkan’s work titles, is Guadeloupean creole. The title is a form of onomatopoeia, meaning words that are formed by the sounds they are describing, and relates to a sudden movement, the sound of a fall or a sudden appearance. This linguistic phenomenon is an important constituent of the Creole language and stems from the passage of traditions, values and knowledge through storytelling, since the language was for a long time based solely on oral tradition and is a mixture of the French colonial language with the spoken languages of the people of Guadeloupe.




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