post-title Philip Crawford | Self Defense Made Easy | nüü gallery | 28.04.-10.06.2023

Philip Crawford | Self Defense Made Easy | nüü gallery | 28.04.-10.06.2023

Philip Crawford | Self Defense Made Easy | nüü gallery | 28.04.-10.06.2023

Philip Crawford | Self Defense Made Easy | nüü gallery | 28.04.-10.06.2023

until 10.06. | #3837ARTatBerlin | nüü Galerie presents from 29. April 2023 (Opening: 28.04.) the exhibition Self Defense Made Easy by the artist Philip Crawford.

From April 28 to June 10, 2023, nüü gallery will show the exhibition  Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1), with works by Berlin-based artist Philip Crawford (*1988, USA). The exhibition explores references between kung fu culture and practices of self-defense in Black communities that ultimately serve self-care. It asks us to pause, engage with the images, relax, take a deep breath, and then repeat the process. On display are a video work and derivative prints.

ART at Berlin - Nuud Galerie - Philip Crawford 2Philip Crawford : Self Defense Made Easy (n° 5), © Philip Crawford, Courtesy : nüü

Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1) explores the teaching and constitution of African American martial arts as a mechanism for radical social, political, and epistemological liberation. Through the fusion of body and mind disciplines, various adaptations and appropriations of non-Western self-defense have permeated Black communities in America for centuries. These kinesthetic systems, often associated with religious and political movements, continue to create new pathways of self-knowledge today.

While Philip Crawford’s works draw primarily from the popular sounds and images of 1980s kung fu culture, his research also considers the roots of Black American martial arts and unarmed self-defense that lie in slavery uprisings, religious communities, military service, solidarity with global anti-imperialist movements, and Black Power. The basis of Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1) is an adapted and edited sequence of a martial arts instructional video (“Self Defense Made Easy,” 1989, Century Film Studios, New York).

ART at Berlin - Nuud Galerie - Philip Crawford 3Philip Crawford : Self Defense Made Easy (n° 7), © Philip Crawford, Courtesy : nüü

The clip shows Shidoshi Ron Van Clief demonstrating the correct form of the so-called snake fist, an open-handed technique characterized by quick and powerful strikes to the opponent’s vital points, including the face, throat and neck. Throughout his demonstration, Van Clief reminds trainees to relax and breathe. He instructs us to carefully tuck our thumbs under our palms so that we can effectively hit our opponent’s eyes without hurting ourselves.

The focus of the looped animation and softly pixelated prints in the exhibition is the “strike to the eyes” not as a moment of aggression, but as a call to self-empowerment and preparation for the improvisation-based demands of self-defense.

Philip Crawford (b. 1988) is a US artist living in Berlin. His artistic work includes critical essays, works on paper, videos, sculptures, and installations. Philip Crawford holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University and an MFA in Sculpture from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture.

Artist’s Statement

ART at Berlin - Nuud Galerie - Philip CrawfordPhilip Crawford : Autoportrait, © Philip Crawford

The study of “fast images” is central to my artistic practice. I explore ways to slow down their reading in order to shake up historical narratives, question systems of oppression, and reclaim technologies of power. In my work, fast images take the form of visual representations, statements, objects, and sounds taken from popular culture. These things are fast not only because of the speed at which they are produced and consumed, but also because the narratives they convey easily align with the expectations we have of the world.

Comic books, religious tracts, household appliances, film memorabilia, and other popular artifacts become narrative frameworks and material resources for an interdisciplinary artistic practice that includes works on paper, sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Through the intertextual layering of these pre-existing resources, I hope to activate a dissonant, speculative nostalgia that allows us to rethink our past, present, and future.

Opening: Friday, 28. April 2023, 6 pm

Exhibition dates: Saturday, 29. April until Saturday, 10. June 2023

To the Gallery



Image caption: Philip Crawford: Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1) © Philip Crawford, Courtesy: nüü

Exhibition Philip Crawford – nüü gallery | Zeitgenössische Kunst | Contemporary Art | Ausstellungen Galerien Berlin | ART at Berlin

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