Giving Contours To Shadows.
February – November 2014
Exhibition: May 24 – July 27, 2014

The art and research project Giving Contours to Shadowstakes 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, as well as a roundtable series in Nairobi and Berlin, a series of satellite projects in Marrakech, 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 brave the colonial and post-colonial discourses.

Recounting the past and history’s trace to the present through works that stand as a voice of the unspoken or the unuttered, the exhibition and satellites are framed in four thematic sections: Performing and Embodying History,Wandering through History, Sequestrating History and Pre-Writing History. Furthermore, the roundtable program is dedicated to discussions on the ideologies of space, performativity and the archive, the imaginary of the present, and notions of pre-writing history. 

Satellite #1 – Marrakech, Morocco
On February 28, 2014 Giving Contours to Shadowsembarked with its first satellite project – a collaboration with the exhibition project If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? On The Economics Of Knowledge (curators: Bonaventure Ndikung and Pauline Doutreluingne) in the framework of the 5th Marrakech Biennale. Both projects interweave especially through the intervention of Emeka Ogboh, whose work Oshodi Stock Exchange links thesatellite projects in Marrakech and Lagos.

Roundtable #1, Satellite #2 – Nairobi, Kenya
Organized in collaboration with Jimmy Ogonga and the Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa, and hosted by The NEST, the first Giving Contours to Shadows roundtable platform will take place in Nairobi on March 12 and 13, 2014. With the titles Beyond Amnesia: Alternative Narrations and The Written, The Spoken: Legends, Myths, Fictions & Histories, the two-day sessions will engage Kenyan artists and thinkers with an invitation to explore the limits of the hegemonic and teleological relationship between concepts of the historic, and the future. Paulo Nazareth will do a performance in the framework of Satellite #2.

May 24 – July 31, 2014: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin 
Opening: May 23, 2014 at n.b.k. / May 24, 2014 at SAVVY Contemporary

Artists: Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Jelili Atiku, Fayçal Baghriche, Neïl Beloufa, Halida Boughriet, Marcio Carvalho, Virginia Chihota, Chimurenga Lab, 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, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Ato Malinda, Nástio Mosquito, Ingrid Mwangi / Robert Hutter, Paulo Nazareth, Otobong Nkanga, Ahmet Öğüt, Emeka Ogboh, Lerato Shadi, Alexandre Singh, Hank Willis Thomas, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa

Performance program
May 25–28, 2014: Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin
June 25, 2014: Gemäldegalerie / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Satellite projects
March 1–22, 2014: 5th Marrakech Biennale Parallel Project
March 12–13, 2014: Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa,Nairobi
September 2014: Kër Thiossane, Dakar
October 2014: Video Art Network / CCA, Lagos
November 2014: Parking Gallery / VANSA, Johannesburg

Roundtable I–III
March 12–13, 2014: Centre for Contemporary Art of East Africa, Nairobi
May 23, 201: Exhibition Opening Statements, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
June  25–27, 2014: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin

Curator: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung // Co-curator: Elena Agudio // Roundtable Series Co-curator: Storm Janse van Rensburg // Curatorial Assistant: Maria Gracia Guimarães
n.b.k. team: Director: Marius Babias // General Management / Head of Video-Forum: Kathrin Becker // Head of Communication and Public Program: Silke Wittig // Project Coordinator: Susanne Husse // Internship: Isabell Herzog

Giving Contours To Shadows is a project by SAVVY Contemporary and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Supported by Ernst Schering Foundation.

For further information on the project and to follow its research and program trajectories visit the

Video still: Lerato Shadi, Matsogo, 2013