BEDFORM. A joint site visit with Kapwani Kiwanga and Carolin Köchling. With an introduction by Andreas Schlaegel.
7 p.m., Saturday, 2 October
Dar-es-Salaam-Platz, 20457 Hamburg
The discussion takes place as part of the THE GATE exhibition and is a parallel event with the Lucid Knowledge symposium, the start of the Hamburg Photography Triennial in 2022. You can find more information on the symposium here: https://phototriennale.de
For almost four months now, the brass relief BEDFORM has been complementing the composition of Dar-es-Salaam-Platz. Named after the youngest of Hamburg's nine twin cities in Tanzania, the square marks a central entrance to HafenCity and thus also functions as an important station on THE GATE's art walk. For this special conversation, the artist and the curator jointly visit the work and discuss their impressions with the participants on site.
The geometric shapes of the relief represent the loading cranes of four historic cargo ships of the former shipping company Deutsche Ost-Afrika Linie, which operated between Hamburg and the African port city from 1890 to 1945.
Kiwanga has retained the proportions of the respective ship plans, that is, she has isolated the outlines, simplified them, and put them together to form a composition by rotating or superimposing them. The shiny material sets itself apart from the concrete and brick surroundings, documents the traces of the weather and the environment and reflects what is happening in public space.
While traditional reliefs passed on history through the depiction of concrete situations, the artist places the sometimes invisible, but no less real, economic, cultural and social references into the picture as abstract representations.
In the tension between revealing and concealing, BEDFORM refers to the historical and contemporary trade relations between the two places and recalls Hamburg as the “gateway” for goods and resources from other countries - including Africa - to Europe. The work departs from the historic trade routes between Tanzania and Germany. At the same time, it sees itself as a metaphor for the invisibility of this trade relationship and it’s power imbalance where resources were taken from a foreign territory for the development of Hamburg and Europe.
Kapwani Kiwanga (*1978 in Hamilton, Canada) lives and works in Paris. As a trained anthropologist and social scientist, she often takes on the role of a researcher in her installations, performances, sound and video works, consciously intertwining truth and fiction to challenge dominant historical or political narratives and suggest alternative approaches to discussion.
Carolin Köchling is a curator based in Berlin. She is Nuyten Dime Curator at Large at The Power Plant in Toronto and is currently working with the Franz Erhard Walther Foundation on the conception of a museum dedicated to the artist’s early work in Fulda. She has curated exhibitions at Sesc Pompeia in São Paulo and MMK Frankfurt, among others. In 2017 she curated Kapwani Kiwanga’s exhibition A wall is just a wall at The Power Plant in Toronto.
Andreas Schlaegel (*1966 in Kinshasa, DRC) is a critic and artist, based in Berlin. Since the late nineties, he has been writing about contemporary art for international art magazines such as Flash Art International (Milan), Frieze (Berlin/London) and Kunstkritikk (Oslo / Copenhagen) and many others, as well as in publications for the UCLA Hammer Museum; MUSAC, Leon; Aspen Museum, Colorado; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/M; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Frankfurt/M; TBA21, Vienna; Julia Stoschek Collection, and many others.
Part of the culture program related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020/21, BEDFORM is Kiwanga's first major project in public space. It is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada. The artist talk is supported by the Bureau des arts plastiques of the French Institute Germany and the French Culture Minister.