I had the opportunity once returning to Berlin after the <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/content/amour-col%C3%A8re-folie-part2">BIAC Biennale</a> in Martinique to participate in an exhibition at the Gallery/Project Space/archive called <strong>SAAVY Contemporary</strong> in Berlin-Neuekoelln the brainchild of its director <em>Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung</em>. The exhibition is entitled <strong>Wahala – On Representation, Authenticity, Expectations and Other Inflated Concepts</strong> and is officially curated by "<em>to whom it may concern</em>" but in fact is from its Art directors: <em>Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung, Dr. Elena Agudio </em>.
Artists: <em>William Cordova, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Yoel Diaz Vazquez, Köken Ergun, Alex Martinis Roe, Katrin Ströbel, Emeka Udemba</em>
Exhibition catalogue coordination and texts by <em>Saskia Köbschall</em>.
One quotation citing <em>Bell Hooks</em> provided in conjunction with the exhibition is as follows:
<strong><em>‘Good’ representation is often a reaction against the white stereotypical representation. Rather, the debate should be about transforming the image, questioning the images that subvert, posing alternatives and recognising that it is not an issue of ‘us’ and ‘them’</em>. </strong>
It offered me the opportunity to show a work from the <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/negerhosen2000">Negerhosen2000 series </a>(specifically a photo i have dubbed "<em>Gothic</em>" which was originally exhibited with a text called <em>Exotik </em>by May Optiz-Ayim ) in a manner I have wanted to do so in a very long while. It had only been seen 3 times before (<a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/negerhosen_desert_eberspaecher_001.jpg?itok=RKRj3OOB">Aktionsforum</a> Munich, Brooklyn Museum of Art NY, <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/negerhosen_desert_eberspaecher_001.jpg?itok=RKRj3OOB">Halles de la Vilette</a> Paris) and never before exhibited in Berlin. The image used in "Gothic/Gothik" may be familiar to those from the francophone world interested in theory as it was used as the cover image for <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Hall_%28cultural_theorist%29">Stuart Halls</a></em> first french language book on his work in "Identités et Cultures, Politiques des cultural studies" <a href="http://editionsamsterdam.fr/articles.php?idArt=48">book1</a> and <a href="http://www.editionsamsterdam.fr/articles.php?idArt=224">book2</a>. A very lucky collector in Texas was recently able to purchase a special <a href="http://camh.org/sites/default/files/Jean-Ulrick%20Desert.jpg">pigmented-ink edition</a> of this artwork recently at the 65th Anniversary Annual Gala & <a href="http://camh.org/join-give/special-events/gala/auction-items/negerhosen2000-gothic">Art Auction</a> for just USd 5K, a months rent for some Manhattanites. This was in conjunction with the "<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/arts/design/riffs-on-race-role-and-identity.html?_r=0">Radical Presence</a>" Exhibit curated by <em>Valerie Cassel-Oliver</em> (Contemporary Arts Museum Houston) recently/currently traveling in New York City where the imaginary-postcards from the "Negerhosen2000" series are on display at <strong>Grey Art Gallery</strong> in partnership with the <strong>Studio Museum of Harlem</strong>. The HuffingtonPost published one of those imaginary-postcards <a href="www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/09/radical-presence_n_4059910.html">HERE</a>. (Special note: the imaginary-postcards from the Negerhosen2000 series will next be on exhibit at the <a href="http://www.walkerart.org/">Walker Art Center</a>)
I have wanted to show this artwork as BUILDING BLOCKS as if it were a construction of a mountain or pyramid- and allowing the mind to fill in the cognitive gaps which bring forth understandings. In this manner it has a similarity to another variation in the series where the an image is reconstructed in the format of <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/negerhosen_paintbynumbers_desert_001.jpg?itok=aE01x0vo">Paint-by-Numbers</a>.
Thanks to the small working-<a href="https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.529263943790834.1073741834.187611887956043&type=3">team</a> afforded me directly at Saavy (<em>Willan, Gaultier Ischmä</em>l and <em>Ismael</em>) during "Aufbau" (german for build-up/ installation) we were able to successfully work with and adjust the existing wiring for the illuminated boxes custom-made in 2009 for me before they were transported to Paris. This work, because of the light , is dreadfully difficult to photograph.
The opening was unusually full given the snow storm outside- this indicated that the viewers were in some way dedicated to the space, the artists and perhaps the exhibits theme. I have already seen a number of very interesting projects/exhibits from Savvy Contemporary and I believe it has developed (perhaps from its inception) as a critically important stage within the Berlin art scene(s)- I can easily begin to imagine a variety of projects and events there. I am admittedly uncertain how one can keep afloat such an institution unless it in some manner dovetails with the existing system - this i believe is a real challenge for visionary "off-spaces" be they in Berlin, London, New York and many other places where there is a critical mass of creators and consumers (financially or otherwise btw) of art(s).
The last time i found myself engaged in an "Aufbau" during the wintertime was in the winter of 2010 when I had a 2person show with the conceptual painter <a href="http://www.paulaross.net/works-on-linen/"><em>Paula Ross</em></a> at <em>Howard McCalebb</em>'s <a href="http://unlike.net/berlin/culture/dada-post"><strong>Dada Post</strong>.</a> I took the opportunity to show for the first time in Berlin the "Shrine of the <a href="http://youtu.be/RPixj8jhAx4">Divine Negress</a> nr.1" the first commissioned project in what would eventually develop into the <a href="http://jeanulrickdesert.com/content/goddess-project">Goddess Project</a> series. I had sworn never again to work in a cold space during the winter(!) Little did i know this would happen again, this time at Savvy Contemporary.
The Savvy Contemporary team has posted images (on facebook) from the "Wahala – On Representation, Authenticity, Expectations and Other Inflated Concepts" opening <a href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.655816251135602.1073741866.187611887956043&type=1">HERE</a>
Ever since their <a href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.594993093884585.1073741848.187611887956043&type=3">summer opening</a> "The Myth of Proportional Response and Ghostbusters" curated by <em>Storm Janse Van Rensburg</em> they have achieved the correct and necessary strategy: MAKE Savvy Contemporary a DESTINATION!
The gallery's website may be found at <a href="http://www.savvy-contemporary.com/">www.savvy-contemporary.com</a>
A visual archive of their past events may be seen <a href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/SAVVYContemporary/photos_albums">HERE </a>(again via facebook which is perhaps the easiest to manage for a small but growing cultural space that relies on "savvy" young practitioners)
<em>nachdem sie mich erst anschwärzten
zogen sie mich dann durch den kakao
um mir schließlich weiß machen zu wollen
es sei vollkommen unangebracht
____________________________schwarz zu sehen </em>
From „Blues in Schwarz Weiss“ by May Ayim, Orlanda Verlag, 1985