until 10.06. | #3918ARTatBerlin | ARTCO Galerie Berlin presents from 27. April 2023 the Group exhibition When the silent song rises of the artsists Beverly D. Renekouzou, Exocé Kassongo, Melody Howse, Thomias Radin, Selassie and Elihu Ashong.
WHEN THE SILENT SONG RISES is a group exhibition with works and performances by Beverly D. Renekouzou, Exocé Kassongo, Melody Howse, Thomias Radin, Selassie and Elihu Ashong. The opening will take place on 27 April at ARTCO Galerie Berlin.
As all participating artists also have a background in music and/or dance, a joint performance will be staged alongside paintings and video works. Contemporary expression that encourages a spiritual experience is planned.
The Right Of Soil 1, 75×0,96m, 2022, T®Beverly Renekouzou
The exhibition builds on the curatorial concept of Beverly Renekouzou and her latest series of works “Honorer le sacrifice”. The Berlin-based painter began the large-format paintings in 2022. They are a tribute to generations of people who lived on – or left – the African continent to contribute to Europe’s economic growth through hard work, frustrating integration experiences and other sacrifices. “They deserve more visibility and attention than any other European citizens,” the artist explains.
The series also revolves around the personal experiences of Renekouzou, who – born in France and living in the Central African Republic from 2011 to 2013 – had to flee the outbreak of civil war in April 2013. In one of her works, she depicts this particular scene of her arrival in France. We see young Beverly, aged fifteen, holding her little brother’s hand. Her stepmother wears the European starry banner on her head. The nimbus sprayed on the oil painting could be a reference to a golden future “against the blue sky of the Western world” (as communicated by the Council of Europe). But it can also be read in this political context as a crown of thorns or an iconographic representation of the Virgin of the Apocalypse. By revisiting these individual experiences through her expressive painting style, Renekouzou also opens a door to ancient knowledge and spiritual experiences that have been buried for too long: “With these paintings, I want to reflect the voices of deceased relatives and the powerful truth that lies within,” she explains.
In a video work by Melody Howse, visitors to the exhibition can watch Renekouzou and her artist colleague Exocé Kasongo in a spontaneous dance performance on the streets of Berlin. The video shows footage from the 2021 Black Lives Matter demonstration in Berlin and combines a soundscape of demo sounds with noises from the African diaspora. This arhythm amplifies the facial expressions and movements of the dancers and emphasises the moment of political refusal and the joy of the demo. An audiovisual experience reminiscent of Arthur Jafa’s famous Black Visual Intonation, according to which limitless capacities of Black life are emphasised and all forms of racism are rejected.
La Danse, 2022, 163,5×123,7×4,3cm T®ThomiasRadin
Thomias Radin‘s works are webs of personal experiences, Caribbean seafaring myths and political motifs that connect his birthplace Guadeloupe (1993) with his later adopted home France. Since 2019, he has been living in Berlin, where he has made a name for himself with a solo exhibition at SAVVY Contemporary, among others. Exhibitions at KINDL – Zentrum für Zeitgenössische Kunst and Galerie Wedding will follow later this year.
Radin’s more recent oil paintings seem like transgenerational psychograms. The figures are still drawn in dynamic pose, dancing across the canvas, but now disappear beneath bold areas of colour, as if they vanish into another time or sphere. Radin’s musical influences and his background as a dancer become visible in the spontaneous ductus, which he understands as a holistic creative process and repeatedly expresses through performative components:
“I paint like I dance. I move and feel with an intuitive freedom of expression, using multiple body languages to be in tune with the music of painting.”
The presentation of his works is complemented by a painted drum made of oak wood, which also functionally offers the possibility of transporting oneself into another state of consciousness through rhythm and ecstasy.
A Messengers Guideline, 210x142cm, T® Selassie
The German-Ghanaian artist Selassie works with far-reaching, physical gestures in which he trusts his intuition. At its best, the application of paint provides immediate access to the spirits of his past. Growing up in Ghana as part of a family belonging to the Ewe ethnic group, the representative powers of symbols, iconographies and figurative representations play a major role. In harmony with nature, they are meant to provide the missing link to a universal wisdom that seems to have been lost in our cultural circles.
Against this background and in his role as a visual artist (as well as a successful musician), Selassie sees himself as an ‘agent of culture’ who mediates individual and collective memory and wants to liberate it from aesthetic factors. The colours of the large-format tableau ‘Grandma’s fabric’ are part of this attitude, which is colourfully transferred into the here and now. They refer to the well-known Kente fabrics, which are known beyond the borders of West Africa and place local textile production in the context of global supply chains. At the same time, the composition of acrylic paints and wood is a personal homage to the rough skin of his grandmother, whom the artist remembers as a young boy.
Following this return to nature and his beginnings, Selassie increasingly works with organic materials and will present a space-grasping sculpture made of moss and volcanic stone as part of the exhibition.
This installation will be created in collaboration with Elihu Ashong. Also from Ghana, he has a background in photography and floral set design. He moved to Berlin in 2020 and brought his knowledge to his contribution to the group exhibition CONCRETE LIMBO at Haus der Statistik. After working as a curatorial assistant for Ralf Schmerberg’s MaHalla for two years, he is now preparing his own artistic platform focusing on holistic art production between continents.
Born in France in 1995, Exosé Kasongo also works interdisciplinarily – whether as a dancer in the context of musical performances on stage, in video productions or as a visual artist. Since 2019, Kasongo has been living in Berlin, giving his community in Berlin a huge presence through, among other things, a series of events at Oyoun. In his mixed-media collages, he chooses a loud, expressive style to bring photography, modern accessories and shells with painting onto paper. Kasongo builds on historical photographs and adds street culture references. The colonial past is rewritten through these codes and thus becomes a demand for cultural, artistic and spiritual restitution.
The attribution of an Afrofuturist aesthetic is fitting in that his vision of Pan-African art goes hand in hand with a return to the primal trust and values of his ancestors. “In time, everything will make sense,” Kasongo explains, referring to his artistic direction, which tells a lot about his Congolese roots and the struggle of a black man in a white society.
Opening: Thursday, 27. April 2023
Exhibition dates: Thursday, 27. April – Saturday, 10. June 2023To the Gallery
Image caption: La Danse, 2022, 163,5×123,7×4,3cm, T®Thomias Radin
Exhibition When the silent song rises – ARTCO Galerie Berlin | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Ausstellungen Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin