Solo Exhibition

»THE WORDS THAT WERE MISSING«

Grada Kilomba

MCLAUGHLIN Galerie is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of new works by internationally renowned artist Grada Kilomba in Berlin. In her work, Kilomba reinterprets classic heroic sagas that are familiar to us, exposes colonial relationships, and radically questions our use of language and roles that are systemically hidden within it. With the exhibition THE WORDS THAT WERE MISSING she continues her highly topical and forceful questioning of our gender-specific and social power structures that are implicit in our historiography and the various languages.

“What is actually the true story behind the story? What happens when history is told in a distorted way? How do images and legends dating back to antiquity shape our lives in the present? What happens when important parts of history are missing?”

It’s time to tell the story, in sound, image and form. As gently as precisely, Grada Kilomba uncovers the unarticulated words, the suppressed feelings, the archaic knitting patterns. She shapes from them the new story, which is urgently worth telling, showing and shaping. “What if our history is haunted by cyclical violence, precisely because it has not been buried properly?” asks Grada Kilomba.

In her new series of photographic works, Heroines, Birds and Monsters (2020) Kilomba carefully captures the complexity of the characters from her video trilogy A World of Illusions (2019). Embodied by a female actress, Kilomba uses only a few props in an all-white room to stage the moment when Creon – King of Thebes in Greek mythology and known for the Oedipus saga and Sophocles’ Antigone – looks at a black cloth representing a funeral. Creon, at the end of his immense tale of woe, realizes that violence is always repeated when history is falsified. Kilomba explains, “I wanted to capture the female characters who negotiate this complex story of cyclical violence and oppression. They embody the heroines, the birds, and the monsters. The sculptural moments reveal the intensity of this negotiation.”

Grada Kilomba, internationally known as an interdisciplinary artist and writer, was born in Lisbon in 1968. She lives and works in Berlin.

Known for her sensitive yet uninhibitedly precise writing and unconventional use of artistic practices, Kilomba creates a hybrid space between academic and artistic languages, lending her body, voice, and image to her texts through staged readings, performances, installations, and video. Unsparing and poetically beautiful, Kilomba puts her finger on the wounds of our time, bringing to our attention the unspoken feelings, the unarticulated emotions, our deepest needs and inhibitions.

“Who can speak?”, “What can we speak of?” and “What happens when we speak?” are three constant questions in her work, in which the artist creates unique images to deconstruct the concepts of knowledge, power and violence.

Kilomba earned her doctorate with honors in philosophy at the Free University Berlin and has taught at several international universities, most recently as a visiting professor at Humboldt University Berlin on her work Performing Knowledge. With her artistic-political intervention series Kosmos² at the Maxim Gorki Theater (2015-2017), she has had a lasting impact on the city and its discourse.

Grada Kilomba’s works have been exhibited internationally several times, including at the XIII Biennale de Lubumbashi (2019), the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018), the Documenta 14 (Kassel, 2017), the 32nd Biennale São Paulo (2016), and in museums such as ARoS Art Museum, Aarhus (2021), MUAC – Museo de Arte Contemporanea, Mexico City (2021), Bozar Art Museum, Brussels (2021), Museum of Art and Photography, Tokyo (2020), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2020), Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden (2019), e-flux, New York (2019), Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2019), Pinacoteca de São Paulo (2019), The Power Plant, Toronto (2018), MAAT, Lisbon (2017), Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin (2017) and Wits Theater, Johannesburg (2016). Her work is in public and private collections worldwide, including Hessel Museum of Art, New York; Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon and the Tate Modern, London.

Framework program

Friday, Apr 30, 2021, 3 – 8 pm
Opening Reception
Visitors will be able to view the exhibition through the gallery’s large windows. If you wish to view the exhibition from within the gallery, please register in advance in accordance with the current COVID-19 rules and restrictions. A negative Corona-Test of the day (Schnelltest) is required as well. Please wear a FFP2 mask while inside the gallery.

MCLAUGHLIN

May 1 — June 12, 2021
Opening Reception: Friday, Apr 30, 2021, 3 – 8 pm,
registration: please see above

Linienstraße 32, 10178 Berlin
[District: Mitte | Borough: Mitte]

+49 30 2462 6880 | Opening hours: Tue – Sat 11 am – 6 pm

Admission free

+++ Before your visit, please check the gallery website for their current Corona regulations +++

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Berlin | Mitte

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