The first chapter dedicated to global relatedness takes as a starting point the idea of the “Tout-Monde” conceived by the poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant: the world as a mosaic of individual positions combined with an accelerated interaction between languages, peoples and societies. This space of mutual influence and exchange celebrates the encounter between a plurality of perspectives and subjective forms of knowledge, questioning universal, absolute and normative concepts. Glissant’s philosophy allows for exploring diversity and plurality as essential elements of our global realities. Therefore his position forms the basis of the dialogues for this chapter about the world being in relation. Through the Public Programme, the Reseach Room with Contemporary And’s Center of Unfinished Business and this digital platform, the first chapter will investigate if and how this idea could be translated into cultural practices and the everyday life.
Chaos world? Édouard Glissant and the question of universality
‘Sparring Partners’: An Introduction to the Gallery Reflections Series
Pascale Marthine Tayou
Curated by Alya Sebti
The opening exhibition is dedicated to Pascale Marthine Tayou. With his solo exhibition Kolmanskop Dream, Tayou creates a mental sculpture of the city of Kolmanskop, a former colonial German settlement and today’s ghost town in the Namib Desert. His question is if the argument of the strongest is always the best. (“La raison du plus fort est-elle toujours la meilleure?“).
Today the houses in Kolmanskop are indeed swallowed by the sand of the desert, but underneath the visible and obvious, the hidden colonial structures persist through memories and knowledge, social and cultural relations, mindsets and practices. Tayou interweaves forgotten stories, hidden memories and contemporary images as he investigates the colonial wounds and their present-day topographies as well as their places in our individual and collective memories.
“Pascale Marthine Tayou’s world,” as Bernard Blistène says, embodies what the poet and philosopher Edouard Glissant calls a “philosophy of the relationship” and the thought of a global relatedness.1 He embraces the world’s connected realities, bringing together nontangible impressions and materials, fragments of moments he collected from the succession of places he inhabited, whether for an hour or for ten years.
Tayou also plays with “exoticizing” stereotypes, mirroring the gaze back on Africa. In his installation, Branches of Life, he takes the symbol of the African mask, transforming it from a fantasized figure of power into shiny and vulnerable crystal, delicately dangling from the branches. He challenges the meaning of the African masks, widespread over the West and denounces their usage as speculative commodities, in what Tayou calls a ‘voodooization’ of the everyday life.”2 Made of crystal from a traditional manufacture in Tuscany, they become vulnerable objects.
With his installations, Tayou’s loud laughing shakes the neurotic, manicured colonial walls and shows that the argument of the strongest is not necessarily the best. Because, beyond the colonial separation, each one of us holds the wholeness of the world within himself, there just can’t be an everlasting strongest.
1 — Bernard Blistène, catalog of the exhibition ALLWAYS ALL WAYS (tous les chemins mènent à…), Malmö Kunsthalle
2 — Gemma Rodriguez, The voodooization of everyday life: Pascale Marthine Tayou, in catalog of the exhibition WORLD SHARE Fowler Museum UCLA
30.3.2017, ifa-Galerie Berlin
Égalité: Melancholy of white men over 40
Lectures, Discussions, Readings
16.5.2017, ifa-Galerie Berlin
Liberté: The language of Villa Sésini
Lectures, Discussions, Readings
29.5.2017, ifa-Galerie Berlin
Gallery Reflection #1
Urban Decolonisation and Diasporic Formations
A conversation between Dr. Noa Ha (Center for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin), Trang Tran Thu (Berlin Asian Film Network/Anthropologist), Hyunsin Kim (Choreographer and Performer), and Dr. Jonas Tinius (Anthropologist, CARMAH/HU Berlin).
4.5.2017, ifa-Galerie Berlin
Égalité – Liberté – Fraternité #2
Lecture and discussion with Markus Messling (Centre Marc Bloch), Kossi Efoui (with reading) and Jenny Friedrich-Freksa (Kulturaustausch. Zeitschrift für internationale Perspektiven).
With lectures, discussions and readings, the series “Égalité – Liberté – Fraternité” takes the great
ideals of French universalism as the starting
point of a “politics of literature” (Jacques Rancière) of
Beyond the European echo chamber: in dialogue with the Global South. Cultural Diversity: social strength or existential threat?
A large amount of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. So do rising populism, anti-immigrant attitudes and fears about the loss of national identity, prevalent in Germany and greater Europe. This event addresses the themes of cultural differences, their relationship to other dimensions of political and social life, their consequences for human co-existence and strategies in dealing with these.
With Anupama Sekhar, Abdullah Alkafri, Ayeta Wangusa, Keith Nurse and Ayoko Mensah
Égalité – Liberté – Fraternité #1
discussion with Markus Messling (Centre Marc Bloch), Olivier Remaud (EHESS Paris) and Jenny Friedrich-Freksa (Kulturaustausch.
Zeitschrift für internationale Perspektiven).
discussions and readings, the series “Égalité – Liberté –
Fraternité” takes the great ideals of French universalism as
the starting point of a “politics of literature” (Jacques
Rancière) of the present.
Gallery Reflection #1
A conversation between Dr. Noa Ha (Center for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin; research fields: postcolonial urbanism, Asian diasporas in European cities; Board member of “Migrationsrat Berlin-Brandenburg”), Trang Tran Thu (Berlin Asian Film Network/Anthropologist working on Vietnamese diaspora in Berlin), Hyunsin Kim (Choreographer and Performer), and Dr. Jonas Tinius (Anthropologist, CARMAH/HU Berlin).
Introducing Center of Unfinished Business
The reading room “Center of Unfinished Business”, curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba from Contemporary And, is accessible to all visitors during ifa-Galerie Berlin’s opening hours. It provides a selection of books that are connected to the topic in various ways, showing the diverse impacts of colonial legacies and multiple realities of contemporary times. Among these books are loans provided by the association Each One Teach One (EOTO) e.V., a Berlin library on literature, history and current lifes of people of African descent. Furthermore, C& invites various cultural producers to read, perform and discuss in the reading room.
The grand opening of Untie To Tie at ifa-Galerie Berlin with our first exhibition Kolmanskop Dream, featuring Pascale Marthine Tayou, Contemporary And and Saout Radio. Join us there and have a look at our new exhibition, reading room and hearing station.