Grada Kilomba


Gallery News for Grada Kilomba

Grada Kilomba at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Marrakech

Grada Kilomba will present and discuss a new video work, Illusions (one-channel film, 2018, 32’), as part of the Forum series at the 1-54 Art Fair in Marrakech (23 – 25 February 2018). The work re-stages the myth of Narcissus and Echo using the oral tradition of African storytelling, where the artist herself plays the role of the Griot. Here, Narcissus is a metaphor for a society that has not come to terms with its colonial history and takes itself and its own image as the only objects of love, while Echo is reduced to endlessly repeating Narcissus’ words. Kilomba asks, how do we break out of this colonial and patriarchal mould?

Grada Kilomba takes centre stage in Portugal with first major solo exhibitions

Grada Kilomba holds her first major solo exhibition, The Most Beautiful Language, at EGEAC Gallery Avenida da India in Lisbon in October, followed immediately after by a second solo show at another Lisbon cultural institution – Secrets to Tell, at Museum Art Architecture Technology (MAAT) in November. It is the first time the Berlin-based artist is exhibiting in Portugal, the country of her birth. 

The Most Beautiful Language (26 October 2017 – 31 March 2018), curated by Gabi Ngcobo and with creative production by Moses Leo, features seven new bodies of work – The Simple Act of Listening(2017), The Printed Room (2017), The Dictionary (2017), The Chorus (2017), Plantation Memories(2015), Illusions (2017) and A Table of Books. The exhibition combines myriad art forms and genres, raising fundamental questions about speaking, silencing and listening in a post-colonial society. 

Secrets to Tell (8 November 2017 – 5 February 2018) at MAAT is inspired by the video installation The Desire Project – an artwork created for the 32nd São Paulo Biennale (2016) and featured on Goodman Gallery’s South South: Let me begin again (2017) exhibition. 

Strongly influenced by the work of Frantz Fanon, Kilomba started writing and developing projects on memory and trauma, extending her concerns to form, language, performance, staging and the visualisation of post-colonial narratives. Despite being better known as a writer, Kilomba has been exploring experimental and multidisciplinary artistic practices, using and combining different means of expression: from performance and video installation, to stage readings and lectures, enabling an interface between text and image, artistic language and academic language.

Grada Kilomba’s ‘Illusions’ at Witte de With Center in Rotterdam

Kilomba’s performance piece Illusions is presented at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Arts in Rotterdam (14 July). In this performance, previously staged at the Biennale de Sao Paulo (2016), the artist brings the oral African tradition of storytelling into a contemporary context to recover the memories and realities of a neo-colonial world. The artist explores the coexistence of times through her recasting of the myths of Narcissus and Echo, in which the present seems suffocated by a colonial past. Through her performance, she poses the question: How do we break out of this colonial and patriarchal mould? The performance will be followed by a Q&A with the artist, moderated by curator Katayoun Arian.

Grada Kilomba at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto

Kilomba performs Illusions for first time in her home country and exhibits The Desire Project in Live Uncertainty: An Exhibition After the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (1 July – 1 October) at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal. The Desire Project (2015-2016) is a video installation divided into three parts: While I Speak, While I Write and While I Walk, videos whose only visual element is the written word and which indicates the emergence of a speaker who has been historically silenced by colonial narratives. Illusions (2016) employs video projections and the African tradition of storytelling. The reading introduces the myths of Narcissus and Echo as metaphors for a colonial past and politics of representation that only reflect themselves. The Serralves exhibition is conceived in relation to the museum’s unique architecture and landscape. It extends the Biennale’s reflection on the current conditions of life and the strategies offered by contemporary art to harbour or inhabit uncertainty.

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  • The Desire Project


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    the silences between / 2017

    South-South: Let me begin again

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