Schering Stiftung


Lerato Shadi, Matsogo, video still

Lerato Shadi, Matsogo, video still
Photo: © Lerato Shadi

Mounir Fatmi, History is not Mine, video still

Mounir Fatmi, History is not Mine, video still
Photo: © Mounir Fatmi

Giving Contours to Shadows

Giving Contours to Shadows


May 24 – July 27, 2014

Exhibition opening:

Friday, 23. May 2014, 7–9 p.m.

Opening hours:

Tuesday – Sunday, noon–6 p.m., Thursday, noon–8 p.m. (n.b.k.)
Thursday – Sunday, 4–8 p.m. (SAVVY Contemporary)


Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
Chausseestr. 128/129
10115 Berlin

The complete program of events is available as a downloadable PDF here

A press tour of the exhibition will be held on 23 May at 5:00 p.m. at the Neuen Berliner Kunstverein with the curators and selected artists in attendance

For more information about the project and program, please visit the project blog,

For more press information and images, please log in below on the website under ‘Press’ (Username: Press conference / Password: n.b.k.2014)
For all other inquiries, please contact Silke Wittig: +49 (0)30 280 70 20 or e-mail:

The exhibition and research project “Giving Contours To Shadows” explores how artists and theoreticians relate to their contemporary contexts in their treatment of Western historical narratives and the formulation of divergent perspectives – ranging from physical representation to the possibilities of pre-writing history. An extensive group exhibition will open at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and SAVVY Contemporary at 7:00 p.m. on 23 and 24 May 2014 respectively, accompanied by a series of events which includes a multi-day program of performances at the Maxim Gorki Theater and Gemäldegalerie in Berlin; a roundtable discussion; and satellite projects in Marrakech, Nairobi, Dakar, Lagos, and Johannesburg.

Inspired by philosopher Édouard Glissant’s challenge to free history from its confinement as a “functional fantasy of the West” rather than leaving it to the designs of historians, “Giving Contours To Shadows” explores alternative concepts of history in art and theory. The project establishes a space for the exploration of myriad theories and discourses which look beyond Western perspectives of history, creating new contemporary narrative structures, and overcoming colonial and post-colonial discourse. The exhibition and program are organized across five interlinking themes: “Performing and Embodying Histories”, “Wandering through Histories”, “Unthinking the Chimera”, “Sequestrating History” and “Pre-writing Histories”. The roundtable program will address discussions on the ideology of space, performativity and archival practice, and the notion of pre-writing history.

“Giving Contours to Shadows” is curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung in collaboration with Elena Agudio and Storm Janse van Rensburg, who have invited artists working in the visual and performing arts to produce new works for the exhibition to be shown in Berlin and at five leading African cultural institutions. The Schering Stiftung has chosen to sponsor this artistic research project in light of its capacity to reflect upon the global import of other bodies of cultural knowledge through the lens of the ‘wordless’ historical narratives that are expressed in art.

Giving Contours To Shadows

First Opening:
Statements by the exhibition’s curators and von Njami (curator and art critic, Paris)
Performance: Lerato Shadi, Mosako wa nako
Performance: Mwangi Hutter, Drastic

Publishers Walther König (Cologne) will publish a volume in the n.b.k. “Diskurs” series with contributions in German and English by Elena Agudio, Marius Babias, Alexander Farenholtz, Premesh Lalu, Heike Catherina Mertens, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Simon Njami, Tavia Nyong’o, Sarah Rifky, Storm Janse van Rensburg, and Hortensia Völckers. The exhibition is accompanied by a pamphlet with brief texts about the participating artists.

Giving Contours To Shadows is sponsored by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and by the Schering Stiftung.

Read more


Contact & social networks

Schering Stiftung

Unter den Linden 32-34
10117 Berlin

Telefon: +49 - 30 - 20 62 29 65

Opening hours
Project space

Thursday to Monday: 1 pm - 7 pm
Saturday to Sunday: 11 am - 7 pm
free entrance

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