The Kunstverein in Hamburg is pleased to present the winners of the Villa Romana Prize to a wide audience in the exhibition series #UNFINISHEDTRACES. The Villa Romana Prize is Germany’s oldest art prize and has been awarded to four artists every year since 1905. Artists Jeewi Lee, Christophe Ndabananiye, Lerato Shadi, and Viron Erol Vert were the 2018 Villa Romana Prize winners selected by Nasan Tur (artist) and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (director of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin).
With #UNFINISHEDTRACES, the artists themselves have provided the title for the series. It refers to shared qualities in their works, which each pursue the search for traces in different ways; memories, untold (hi)stories, the artist’s personal biography, and the attempt to experience what is absent are focal points in the content of each project. The title’s reference to what is left unfinished opens up a field of tension between the future and the past. Every exhibition is the realization of a possibility – ambiguity, permeability, and mobility play a large role here, both on the side of the institution as well as on the side of the artists. An experiment emerges that points beyond the specific projects. Supplemented by an online program, a multifaceted dialogue will develop over three months.
Christophe Ndabananiye - 11° 40′ S 27° 29′ O
22.8. – 13.9.2020
German has two distinct words for memory: Erinnerung and Gedächtnis. In regards to culture and history, the first means reflection and exchanging personal experiences that can be shared with others, while the latter encompasses self-commitment to a larger “we,” including the various rituals nations use to keep their past alive. Christophe Ndabananiye’s show forces us to reconsider these interpretative models. And that is good, too.
As Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung fittingly describes, Christophe Ndabananiye not only burrows deep into history, but into his own soul as well. Ndikung describes how Ndabananiye looks back in order to consider the past and find his own place in something that could probably be described as the present. In formally diverse works, he deals with themes of traumatic experience relating to escape, family, homeland, and native language, connecting them to his current life in Europe. The situation is complex and the artistic form he has found is appropriate for it. The title of this solo show in the Kunstverein, 11° 40′ S 27° 29′ O, shows the coordinates of his birthplace in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is the starting point for physical and mental reflection, where the individual stories begin that metaphorically record the spatial process of life.