For his first solo exhibition in Germany, Joël Andrianomearisoa writes on the trails of his memory. He draws inspiration from a lullaby his grandmother sang to him before bedtime. Iny Hono Izy Ravorombazaha [the white bird]. With time, words may be forgotten, but the body remembers the lullaby’s rhythms and vibrations. Andrianomearisoa uses these intervening spaces to imagine new lyrics for his story at ifa Gallery Berlin.

MEASURES LULLABIES AND WHISPERS is an invitation to explore the rhythm of lullabies and the power of memory. The soothing melodies passed on from one generation to another act as a reminder of a deep-rooted sense of connection and belonging. The essence of lullabies, from the feelings of intimacy they evoke to the healing power they hold, is the starting point for Andrianomearisoa’s poetic exploration in this site-specific installation.

For this exhibition, Joël Andrianomearisoa offers an alternative spatial rhythm by creating a new pathway through the gallery. Visitors are welcomed by letters, reminiscent of his childhood lullaby, carried by a monumental wall that disrupts the space. Andrianomearisoa’s use of poetry and architecture creates a new journey—what may seem obvious is far more complex and ambiguous in this new space, hidden behind the wall. Beyond languages, visitors get lost in the meanderings of an abyssal black paper installation, emblematic of his practice. Echoing the LABYRINTH OF PASSIONS presented at the Venice Biennale in 2019, the installation is both dense and fragile and contaminates the space, resonating with the ambivalence of the melody.

Andrianomearisoa continues his poetic exploration with a traditional Malagasy technique of embroidering fabric. MANIFESTE D’UNE RUPTURE, which he created together with artisans from his hometown of Antananarivo, pushes the technical limits of embroidery by integrating raffia, a plant fiber emblematic of Madagascar. In this minimalist chromatism, almost tone on tone, reading the embroidered words is almost impossible. Ancestral gestures become forms of storytelling.

The hauntingly beautiful rhythm of the lullaby, soundtrack of the exhibition, draws visitors towards the back of the room, unveiling an unprecedented video installation. The film, shot entirely in Antananarivo, inaugurates a new artistic practice for Andrianomearisoa. PLEASE SING ME MY SONG BEFORE YOU GO weaves processes of writing, on material, text, and architecture in an imagery that blurs the spatio-temporal framework of narrative. The movie premiered at the opening on June 6th, 2024.

Joël Andrianomearisoa MANIFESTE D’UNE RUPTURE IV (Detail), Embroidery with raffia, 2024

This exhibition, curated by Meriem Berrada and Alya Sebti, is part of the Untie to Tie platform at ifa Gallery Berlin. The transdisciplinary project Untie to Tie, which began in 2017, is an exhibition and research platform on colonial structures in contemporary societies.

Joël Andrianomearisoa was born in 1977 in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and lives and works between Paris, Antananarivo and Magnat-l’Étrange. In 2019, Andrianomearisoa represented Madagascar for the first time at the 58th Biennale di Venezia. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech (2022), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2021), MAXXI, Rome (2018), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2010), the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC (2015) and the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005). 

ifa Gallery Berlin would like to thank Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) for their collaboration on this exhibition.