Satch Hoyt: Riding Celestial Chariots – On Mining Entangled Vernaculars

Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin, Germany
11 Feb 2015 - 04 Apr 2015

Satch Hoyt: Riding Celestial Chariots – On Mining Entangled Vernaculars

© Satch Hoyt, 'IcePick', courtesy of the artist and Galerie Wedding

Riding Celestial Chariots: On Mining Entangled Vernaculars is the first exhibition in a yearlong series of exhibitions that deal with the epistemology of objects and many narratives that accompany these objects when they encounter or existence with or within other cultures. The afro comb, in all it’s colours, forms and significations, serves as a point of departure or a key to unlock the numerous narratives that accompanied and still are a companion to the African presence. The references Hoyt conjures are multifaceted.

That coarse raking sound, a familiar sound. Through multiplicity and frequency it becomes melodious. But as melodious as it might be, the sound brings with it those memories. Memories of an era. Of an age. A moment. Memories that bring along other sounds that accompany the aforementioned: moaning, screeching, hissing sounds of a kid fighting back. The kid is clutched between the thighs of it’s mama, as it tries to resist by yowling and growling, to no avail. It‘s Sunday and it‘s time to go to church, or it might be any other day for that matter. All is done, but the last bit. That hair matter! It was already political before you could spell the word politics, let alone understand what it means. Your mama would wash your hair, oil it and then start the combing with any of the afro combs she would find around. It might have been the wooden, plastic or metal afro comb. They brought along varying nuances in the sound they created as the comb’s teeth chopped their ways through your curly hair, but the pain was there. As vivid as it could be.

This is an element in the cosmos in which the audience finds itself in Satch Hoyt’s exhibition Riding Celestial Chariots: On Mining Entangled Vernaculars, most especially if the viewer shares a similar experience and memory as the above mentioned. Along with other sounds, the comb and it’s soundscape take centre stage in this exhibition. The afro comb, though important as beauty tool, embodies a 5500 years of history1 of form and meaning in form. The afro comb has stood it’s grounds as the waves of glories and follies passed by the African continent. The afro comb was one of those few objects that made their way to the new world on the middle passage, under unbelievably cruel and inhumane circumstances. Upon arrival in the new world the comb, like a few other objects, rituals and the body itself, became the link between the lost past, that benighted present and a bleak future. It was silenced for a long time, as Africans in the diaspora tried to situate themselves in the New World, as they toiled on the plantations or went through ordeals of hair-straightening schemes. It is this same comb that along with the archetypical black power fist became a symbol of resistance in the freedom movements of the 1960s and 70s. The afro comb speaks a language. It frames a political, cultural, religious and historical vernacular. It is this vernacular that Satch Hoyt explores in his installations, paintings, and sound pieces.

Satch Hoyt is a Berlin–based British–Jamaican visual artist and musician who investigates the ›being‹, the becoming, the existence, the challenges of the African Diaspora experience through his artistic practice . Hoyt writes in his own words:

»I argue that this mnemonic network of sound is a primary element that has kept the transnational African Diaspora intact. Through research of African diaspora histories, mythologies and cosmologies I employ a plethora of materials such as boxing gloves, raw cotton, police batons, drum sticks, bull whips, burnt electric guitars, used 1970’s tennis racquets, 45 rpm vinyl records and guitar plectrums, as well as drawings and paintings. These works are accompanied by a self composed sonic cartography to map out historical and fantastical Afro-futuristic Black Atlantic journeys – voyages from Slave Ship to Space Ship. Through research, narrative, imagination, myth and fantasy I persevere to contribute to the ongoing construction of a new all-inclusive Black cultural identity.«

The exhibition is curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung und Solvej Helweg Ovesen

10th February 2015, 7pm
With a performance Satch Hoyt, »Hair Combing Cycle #14«


Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst
Müllerstraße 146/147
13353 Berlin





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