Participating artists: Jeewi Lee, Lerato Shadi, Viron Erol Vert and Christophe Ndabananiye
The Kunstverein in Hamburg is pleased to present the winners of the Villa Romana Prize to a wide audience this summer 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. Prize winners include Max Beckmann, Käthe Kollwitz, Georg Baselitz, Anna Oppermann, Michael Buthe, and many more artists who have left a mark on the history of modern art. The Villa Romana continues to be one of the few residencies participating in many regional co-operative programs, closely combining the residency with a curatorial program. Artists Jeewi Lee, Christophe Ndabananiye, Lerato Shadi, and Viron Erol Vert were the 2018 Villa Romana Prize winners selected by artist Nasan Tur and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, director of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin:
Jeewi Lee (*1987, Seoul, South Korea, lives and works in Berlin) studied painting at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, and at Hunter College University, New York. In her primarily site-specific installations, actions, and image series, she works with metaphorical and real physical traces which she retraces, conserves, and employs as graphic elements. The traces are evidence of movements and histories, simultaneously reflecting the process of their production. Lee is particularly interested in indexicality, which carries traces that simultaneously embody past and present.
Christophe Ndabananiye (*1977 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, lives and works in Berlin) studied at the Hochschule der Bildende Künste in Saarbrücken. Work with memory is a central aspect of Ndabananiye’s work, starting with his own biography. In a series of self-portraits, he addresses themes of traumatic experiences related to escape, loss of homeland, and destruction. In his new paintings, he continues his examination of memories and experiences on paper, canvas, and Styrofoam panels.
Lerato Shadi (*1979 in Mahlkeng, South Africa, lives and works in Berlin) studied art at the University of Johannesburg and at the Weißensee Academy of Art, Berlin. Lerato Shadi’s work questions established assumptions in order to critique western perceptions of history and make the invisible or overlooked visible. Her artistic practice focuses on body politics and makes explicit reference to the body and its experiences. It addresses institutional violence, patriarchal and colonial strategies of exclusion and oblivion, and resistance through subjective narratives. Shadi works in different mediums with drawing, performance, film, and installation.
Viron Erol Vert (*1975 in Varel, Germany, lives and works in Istanbul and Berlin) studied at the University of Applied Sciences, the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin (KHB), and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, followed by further academic studies at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, and in the fields of fashion and experimental textile design at the KHB. In his objects and installations, Vert deals with intercultural exchanges and questions of cultural supremacy. He often connects narratives of Mediterranean and northern European history. Vert’s work is interdisciplinary and questions one-dimensional identity politics as well as the imaginary borders between the so-called foreign and the familiar. Over the past few years, he has created more and more site-specific installations to address these issues.
For #UNFINISHEDTRACES, we have decided on a consecutive exhibition series since the prizes have been given to individual and very exciting artistic personalities and not a group who came together with a thematic purpose. We are interested in individual perspectives and individual work that opens a discourse and triggers processes in everyone involved. A prize offers free space, allows risks to be taken, and for growth and development. This particularity, which can develop freely in each of the artist’s practices, is worth exhibiting in a curatorial format that does not produce competitive comparisons, but reflects the specificities of a work.
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 trace marks what has been and has inscribed itself into the flow of time and will therefore also be part of the future. As with the present, traces are fleeting and malleable. #UNFINISHEDTRACES recounts a moment of passage in which nothing has been decided yet and all options are open. 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 and the specific projects produce the following questions: in the cases of particular works, formats, and exhibition situations, what kinds of attitudes do artists, curators, and viewers require and generate? What kinds of exchanges are there today and what kinds of exchanges are even possible? What are current artistic practices and can a dynamic discourse about our era emerge?
The prize winners will invite guests from a variety of fields for lectures, talks, and other contributions that will be available online in order to further pursue the themes and questions of their artworks. A multifaceted dialogue will develop over the next three months – we hope you enjoy it!
Lerato Shadi - Batho ba me
6/27 – 7/19/2020
Jeewi Lee - re-
7/25 – 8/16/2020
Christophe Ndabananiye - 11° 40′ S 27° 29′ O
8/22 – 9/13/2020
Viron Erol Vert -„Ich mag keine Ausländer, aber bei dir ist es was anderes.“
9/19 – 10/11/2020
Other exhibitions from the series “#UNFINISHED-TRACES“: