Giving Contours To Shadows

May 24 – July 27, 2014

Lerato Shadi, Mosaka wa nako, 2014, performance at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, photo: Jens ZieheAlexandre Singh, Assembly Instructions: The Pledge (Donatien Grau), 2012 / Adelita Husni-Bey, (On) Difficult Terms, 2013, exhibition view Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, photo: Jens ZieheEmma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Nice Time, 2014, exhibition view SAVVY Contemporary, photo: Jens ZieheKiluanji Kia Henda, Homen Novo Series, 2009 – ongoing, exhibition view SAVVY Contemporary, photo: Jens Ziehe
Artists: Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Jelili Atiku, Fayçal Baghriche, Neïl Beloufa, Halida Boughriet, Márcio Carvalho, Virginia Chihota, Chimurenga, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Mounir Fatmi, Serge Olivier Fokoua, Badr el Hammami / Fadma Kaddouri, Adelita Husni-Bey, Wanuri Kahiu, Bouchra Khalili, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Kapwani Kiwanga, Donna Kukama, Ato Malinda, Mwangi Hutter, Otobong Nkanga, Ahmet Öğüt, Lerato Shadi, Alexandre Singh, Hank Willis Thomas, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa

The art and research project
 Giving Contours to Shadows takes its cue from the Glissantian concept that history, a “functional fantasy of the West“, cannot be left in the hands of historians only. In that sense, the project looks at ways, by which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives to established narratives – from embodiment practices to possibilities of 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 interest. With a particular interest in creating space for different epistemologies, the project will cast light on discourses 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. 

Curator: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung // Co-curator: Elena Agudio // Co-curator Roundtable series: Storm Janse van Rensburg

Friday, May 23, 2014, 7 pm
Opening Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
Lerato Shadi,
Mosaka wa nako, performance
Mwangi Hutter,
Drastic, performance

Saturday, May 24, 2014
6 pm
Jelili Atiku, Alaagba, performance walk from Richardplatz to SAVVY Contemporary
7 pm Opening SAVVY Contemporary
9 pm
Concert by M3NSA, venue:Prachtwerk, Ganghoferstraße 2, 12043 Berlin
10 pm
Afterparty with Ntone Edjabe (Chimurenga), venue: Prachtwerk

Performance program
Performing and Embodying histories
Monday, May 26, 2014
7 pm
Ato Malinda: Mshoga Mpya, or the New Homosexual
7:30 pm Roundtable II Keynote: Simon Njami, Giving Contours To Shadows
8 pm Kapwani Kiwanga: Afrogalactica: A Brief History of the Future
9:15 pm Uhr Kapwani Kiwanga: Afrogalactica: The Black Star Chronicles
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
7 pm
Ato Malinda: Mshoga Mpya, or the New Homosexual
8 pm Kapwani Kiwanga: Afrogalactica: The Deep Space Scrolls
9:30 pm Lerato Shadi: Leleme
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
7 pm
Ato Malinda: Mshoga Mpya, or the New Homosexual
8 pm Márcio Carvalho: Power Over Memory – A Case Study
9:30 pm Serge Olivier Fokoua: Le Vrai Visage
Venue: Maxim Gorki Theater, Studio Я, Hinter dem Gießhaus 2, 10117 Berlin
Admission: 5 Euro / 3 Euro (reduced), Tickets: 030 – 20221115, or at the box office

Wandering Through histories
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 3:30 pm
Márcio Carvalho / Christoph Ploner,
Reconsolidation Machine
Venue: Gemäldegalerie / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin

Poster intervention in urban space
Wandering Through histories
16.5. – 28.7.2014 
Artists: Chimurenga, Hank Willis Thomas
In cooperation with STRÖER 
For precise information about the sites go to

Roundtable program
Thursday, June 26, 2014
10 am – 1 pm
Imaginary of the Present: Current Images of African Worlds
Roundtable with Simon Njami (curator, art critic, Paris), Yacouba Konaté (curator, art critic, Professor of Philosophy, Université de Cocody, Abidjan), Karen Fiss (curator, writer, San Francisco), moderated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (curator, Art Director SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)
2–6 pm
Carving up and Carving out: Ideologies of Making Space
Roundtable with Paul Goodwin (curator, urbanist, Professor of Black Art und Design, University of the Arts, London), Sarah Nuttall (Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), Peggy Piesche (literary scholar, cultural scientist, Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, Berlin), Sarah Rifky (curator, Cairo), moderated by Storm Janse van Rensburg (curator, Berlin)
Venue: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

Friday, June 27, 2014
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Contained Measures of a Kolanut
Intervention and Talk with Otobong Nkanga (artist, Antwerp)
1:30–4:30 pm
Fleshing the Archive: Performance / Orality / Embodiment of History
Roundtable with Olivier Marbœuf (curator, Paris), Tavia Nyong'o (cultural scientist, historian, New York), Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll (artist, curator, London), moderated by Elena Agudio (art historian, curator, Berlin)
Venue: SAVVY Contemporary
5–8 pm
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 Dyangani Ose (curator, Tate Modern, London), Greg Tate (writer, musician, New York), moderated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (curator, Art Director SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)
8:30–9:30 pm
Black Maas Biotek BaKol
Performance with Greg Tate (writer, musician, New York), Satch Hoyt (artist, Berlin), Christina Wheeler (musician, artist, Berlin), followed by DJane Grace Kelly 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

Thursday, July 17, 2014, 6 pm
When Odd-feathered Birds Flock Together - On Collaborations and Other Symbiotic Relations
Roundtable with Jimmy Ogonga (artist and curator, Malindi, Kenya) and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa (artist and researcher, Berlin)
Venue: SAVVY Contemporary

Within the n.b.k. book series “Discourse” a publication in German and English language will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, with contributions by Elena Agudio, Marius Babias, Alexander Farenholtz, Premesh Lalu, Heike Catherina Mertens, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Simon Njami, Tavia Nyong’o, Sarah Rifky, Storm Janse van Rensburg and Hortensia Völckers. The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet with short texts about the participating artists.

Satellite projects
March 2014
5. Marrakech Biennale Parallel Projekt
March 2014 Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa, / The NEST, Nairobi
September 2014 Kër Thiossane, Dakar
October 2014 Video Art Network / CCA, Lagos
November 2014 Parking Gallery / VANSA, Johannesburg