Billie Zangewa

Billie Zangewa

Work from her oeuvre.

“Billie Zangewa’s background is as an engaged artist. A golden-fingered embroiderer, she has gradually garnered recognition on the African and international art scene. Her autobiographical works skilfully combine personal experience with universal subjects, from the hustle and bustle of urban megalopolises to ordinary activities in the life of a woman and mother in today’s world. Daily life thus serves as a pretext to engage in a political reflection on identity which insightfully challenges gender stereotypes and racial prejudices.

The artist is now taking her work in a new direction, moving away from purely domestic scenes to tackle topics with more of a universal and timeless dimension. Scraps of silk and various colourful, shiny textiles mingle delicately in the exhibition’s ten or so figurative compositions, painting narrative portraits that extol love in all its many facets. As the artist explains, ‘The exhibition is entitled Soldier of Love because I believe that especially at this time in history that we live in, universal and personal love is something that we have to fight for. I consider myself a soldier of love.'” – Galerie Templon

Jesse Ly

Jesse Ly

Work from Image Interference @ BasketShop.

“Through the process of both creation and experience of discursive depictions, Image Interference balances both the appearance of indexical truth and anecdotal nature of photographic imagery. Within the foreground lies the viewer transitional experience from presentation to impression. Reckoning with the varying nuances from what once was and now appears before the viewer, but in the form of a flattened and cropped view, allows for changing perspectives that directly create liminal spaces. Adjustments that move the individual view to including and understanding the view of others addresses this gap and expands the photographic dialog from “what is here,” to “how is it here and why.” These concerns and notions further divide these gaps that allow bleeding into more specific concerns in relation to identity. In the case of this work, pertinent concerns directly address facets of relationships, nostalgia, passing moments, racial disparity, melancholy and appreciation. This deconstruction incites a willingness to transcend and further understand these disparities of viewing, in terms of both photographic and actuality. Coming into these compositions from the array of varying and subversive experiences every person holds creates differentiation subjected to the photographs. This questioning within photographic complexity extends the conversation of the continual necessity of image making and instigates these pursuits to further understand what directly comes from and differentiates in these pulls from reality.” – Jesse Ly

Widline Cadet


Widline Cadet

Work from her oeuvre.

“Widline Cadet (b. 1992 in Pétion-Ville, Haiti; currently lives and works in New York) is a Haitian-born artist. Her practice draws from personal history and examines race, memory, erasure, migration, and Haitian cultural identity from a viewpoint within the United States. She uses photography, video, and installations to construct a visual language that explores notions of visibility and hypervisibility, black feminine interiority, and selfhood.”

Karolina Wojtas

Karolina Wojtas

Work from The Extremely Rich Fauna of the Local Area.

“…No sense in assuming an academic tone, we’re in the woods, after all. Peculiarities abound. Here the hedgehogs can be coniferous or deciduous, occasionally mixed. Vegetarian lions prance through the meadows. Snails and deer: they’ve both got horns. Otherwise you grasp for similarities in vain. A squirrel suffering from amnesia cannot recall where it hid its salubrious nuts last autumn. The butterflies while away the hours tracing nonsensical poems in the heated air. They say that butterflies are the souls of wilted flowers. Most likely this doesn’t concern domesticated flowers—perhaps this is why it is so hard to tame a butterfly. We make all these conjectures, however, with no scientific basis. There are too many butterflies and flowers here to make room for scientists. And only every so often the light flashes, and the woods fall still. The woodpecker stabs his beak into a tree trunk. The wolves stretch open their mouths. Silence falls. The cage closes, everyone keeps on drinking from the mud puddle.” – This text was based upon Zbigniew Batko’s novel Z powrotem, czyli fatalne skutki niewłaściwych lektur [Returning, or: The Dire Consequences of Reading the Wrong Books] (Warsaw, 1985). Edited by: Nadia Dziurdzia via TFHKoncept

THE FACULTY OF SENSING – Thinking With, Through, and by Anton Wilhelm Amo

THE FACULTY OF SENSING – Thinking With, Through, and by Anton Wilhelm Amo at Kunstverein Braunschweig.

“With THE FACULTY OF SENSING – Thinking With, Through, and by Anton Wilhelm Amo, Kunstverein Braunschweig has worked in close cooperation with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung to develop a project in honor of Anton Wilhelm Amo, an outstanding philosopher of the 18th century. On the basis of Amo’s writings and their reception, highly topical issues of referentiality, erasure, and canonization will be discussed.

In a 2013 essay The Enlightenment’s ‘Race’ Problem, and Ours for the New York Times’ philosophy page The Stone, Justin E. H. Smith wonders how and why philosophers like Immanuel Kant or David Hume could afford to be so explicitly racist, at a period when a contemporary of theirs Anton Wilhelm Amo was excelling as a philosopher. The explanation for this can be found in processes of erasure in relation to what Michel-Rolph Trouillot has called ‘Silencing the Past’.

Anton Wilhelm Amo (* around 1700 — † after 1753) is considered to be the first Black academic and philosopher in Germany. His work was largely pushed to the margins and rendered obscure. Amo studied philosophy and law in Halle and positioned himself with his dissertations on the mind-body problem (1734) at the University of Wittenberg and Treatise on the Art of Philosophising Soberly and Accurately (1738) as an early thinker of the Enlightenment.

Anton Wilhelm Amo was abducted from the territory of present-day Ghana as an infant, enslaved, and taken via Amsterdam to Wolfenbüttel at the court of Duke Anton Ulrich. It was here that he began his academic career.

As part of the extensive research and exhibition project, 16 international artists and groups were invited to respond to the philosophical thought of Anton Wilhelm Amo in largely newly produced works. Curatorially, the project develops around questions of Amo’s understanding of the thing-in-itself, the discourse of body and soul, the legal status and recognition of Black people in the 18th century and the present time, transcendental homelessness, the politics of naming, and the narrative and history of the Enlightenment.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive public program of performances, artist talks, workshops, and discussions. As part of this, a symposium with international scholars and artists will take place. More detailed information will follow in due course.

A publication will be produced alongside the exhibition THE FACULTY OF SENSING – Thinking With, Through, and by Anton Wilhelm Amo, linking theoretical and artistic contributions to the exhibition and the symposium.” –

Stephanie Syjuco

Stephanie Syjuco

Work from Dodge and Burn (Visible Storage) at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

“Stephanie Syjuco explores the complicated ways in which we understand such politically charged concepts as citizen, immigrant, nationhood, and identity. The title installation, Rogue States, is made up of twenty-two reproduced flags originally used in Hollywood films (Die Hard 2Ace Ventura, and Coming to America, among them) to represent fictional enemy nations through the lens of the West. Central to the exhibition are two platform installations: Neutral Calibration Studies (Ornament + Crime) and Dodge and Burn (Visible Storage). These contemporary “still lifes” contain hundreds of images and objects, many taken from stock photos and Google Image searches. Each installation contains a multiplicity of coded narratives of empire and colonialism told through art history, photography, Modernism, and ethnography. The photographic series Cargo Cults revisits historical ethnographic studio portraiture via a fictional display, with the artist posing as a foreign, exotic “other,” but in clothing and artifacts purchased at Omaha shopping malls. For Block out the Sun, Syjuco makes use of images of the notorious “living exhibits” from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Among these was the Filipino Village, for which hundreds of people were shipped across the Pacific to live as “natives” in recreated villages for the entertainment and “education” of fairgoers. Syjuco photographs her own hands obscuring the subjects in these images, blocking the perpetuation of racist narratives. ” – Stephanie Syjuco: Rogue States is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, with Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator.

Cosmo Whyte

Cosmo Whyte

Works from his oeuvre.

“I am a trans-disciplinary artist who employs drawing, performance, and sculpture to create conceptual work that explores how notions of identity are disrupted by migration—particularly migration as an unfinished arc of motion whose final resting point remains an open-ended question. I situate my work in the liminal space between early culture shock and final acclimatization. My creative process begins through the interrogation of my own (racialized as black, gendered as man) body, and the personal memories that are embedded within it. I use this archive as my entry point into collective political interrogations.” – Cosmo Whyte

M’Shinda Imani Abdullah-Broaddus

M’Shinda Imani Abdullah-Broaddus

Work from Daddy Says.

“Daddy Says is a body of work that discusses the challenging and isolated reality of being both queer and black. The work is a byproduct of my response to the traumatic experience of coming out to both my mother and father as homosexual -an experience that queer people of color have struggled with for decades due to the imbedded homophobia within the black community. The photos are images that were taken during an intimate performance I conducted while on residency in January and February of 2019. Photographs are used as source material for collages, collages are used for source material for paintings, and both paintings and collages are used as source material for sculptures that will belong to another body of work that is currently in production.” – M’Shinda Imani Abdullah-Broaddus

Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson

Work from Senseless.

“Based on various anthropological and scientific studies, it has been observed that as people have become more dependent on modern technology and science, people’s senses have gradually dulled and become dislocated with our natural surroundings. Sociologist Richard Sennett states that urban sprawl and technological advances in transportation are some of the many ways in which our advances have made us more and more detached from nature and even other people, creating a passive culture that has led to the deprivation of our senses. As noted in the quote above, anthropologists such as Lévi-Strauss have also noticed the opposite occurring in cultures that are still living in nature and actively participating in it. The cultures with roots in mythology and animism, the belief of the connectedness of everything on earth, are especially in tune with their senses, which as a result, have heightened.

I began to look into various mythologies from around the world and the costumes associated with them and observed most involved the covering of the face and many times the entire body to transform the person into a mythical being. At the same time I was looking at urban legends and hoaxes such as Bigfoot and people’s obsessive fascination of these elusive beasts. What interested me most was that many seemed to be based on existing mythologies and the fact that many of these creatures, seemed to be trapped between two worlds. Bigfoot being the prime example is not quite human or animal so wanders on the fringe of both, not really belonging to either. From these findings I began to create modern day mythological narratives in which I explore themes associated with the dislocation of our senses. It is centred on constructed “yeti-like” creatures made up of either disposable manmade plastic forks, earplugs, vinyl gloves, car air fresheners or compact mirrors, each representing one of the senses. These creatures have been consumed by these modern, materialistic items and as such can no longer sense anything at all. Neither human nor animal, they wander between worlds fitting in nowhere, yearning to be part of a world they no longer belong to, and becoming a creature of myth.” – Laura Thompson

Justyna Wierzchowiecka

Justyna Wierzchowiecka

Work from Museum Studies.

“Most of the things have been photographed. Images circulating amongst the photo documentations or collections projected on the screens of our devices originate an obvious debate over the presence of art and objects being reproduced in the hybrid reality. Their saturation in the networked cycle is on a thin line between the physically existing and the scarcely visualized. Distribution of an immaculate hi-res replica will not replace an impression of seeing the original piece but it possibly will turn out to be equally or even more exciting. What happens to the museum objects when turned into souvenirs to be acquired by visitors? And what is the relation between a prototype and its perfect copy made from entirely different materials? A mould that can be cast repeatedly. On the occasion of her solo exhibition, Justyna Wierzchowiecka converted partially her apartment into an atelier to make her own interpretation of bas-relief by Jef Lambeaux featuring a scene of ‘Human Passions’ produced between 1886 and 1898, now on display in a classicist tempietto pavilion by Victor Horta.

For a couple of weeks, the private space is being used as a studio to cast and shape new works. And by contrast, a collection possessed by one of the biggest public museums in Brussels, belonging to the Royal Museums of Art and History — Musee du Cinquantenaire, serves as a point of departure for creating them. A sculpture in Carrara marble is placed in a pavilion on the other side of the park. Launched in 1898, today belongs to the museum-park complex just at the stone’s throw from EU epicentre. Due to the flame of indignation from the Belgian authorities and church naming the scene ‘seditious’, the pavilion was respectively opened and closed again, a number of times, remaining publically inaccessible throughout 99 years. Re-opened in 2014 it has become a new landmark of Brussels providing a chance to view one of the most curious works by a Flemish sculptor Jef Lambeaux who created avast amount of realizations, both large scale and much smaller or even miniature custom-made objects.

Wierzchowiecka does not only peer at the Lambeaux’s work in a never-visited- by-him pavilion by Horta, which he truly detested. She’s also interested in the operating of the institution itself, opening Horta-Lambeaux to the public six months per year. Passing through the museum shop, you can come across the collection of copies made in-situ and acquired by visitors, often delusively resembling the original works. Questioning the role of an art work and at the same time revealing mesmerizing 3D reproductions hand-made by an army of casting artists.

The exhibition at Komplot is also a follow-up of ‘Museum Studies’, a series consisting of edited images taken from the artist’s archive or appropriated photos which call into question the authorship and physical presence and actuality of an eponymous museum and its surrounding or visitors who appear within its premises, their facial expressions and grimaces bringing associations with Baroque sculpture. Digitally shape shifting and modifying give them a more performative dimension or even ‘blasphemous’ and ‘pornographic’ character.” – Komplot