Hiwa K in front of his work "My Father's Colour Periods"
Photo: Fabian Schubert
Hiwa K: This Lemon Tastes of Apple, 2011, Video, 16:9, color, sound, 13:26 min, Video Still
Photo: This Lemon Tastes of Apple © Hiwa K
Aneta Szylak, Prof. Anthony Downey, Prof. Dr. Stefan E. Kaufmann, Hiwa K, Heike Catherina Mertens, Bakir Ali, Prof. Dr. Charlotte Klonk, Krist Gruijthuijsen
Photo: Andreas Müller
Hiwa K in front of his work "The Existentialist Scene in Kurdistan (Raw Materiality 01)", 2017
Photo: Andreas Müller, Courtesy Hiwa K und KOW, Berlin
The paradox of belonging and estrangement has been a crucial aspect within the life and work of Hiwa K. By concealing his last name, he underlines his detachment and ongoing engagement with issues around refuge. The letter “K”, in this process, comes to the foreground and operates as a figure without agency — a figure that is not able to identify with either an “I” nor a “we”.
Forced to leave his home country for political reasons, the disconnection with what was formally known as “home” is crucial to the artistic inquiry undertaken by Hiwa K. This question drives the artist to produce work in which vernacular forms, oral histories, and political constructs are intertwined. The various references in his practice consist of stories told by family members and friends, found situations, and everyday encounters that evolve around make-shift solutions and pragmatic approaches to often complex ideas and concepts. In this capacity, the artist attempts to retain the traditions surrounding his upbringing while also obtaining the knowledge that will help him to further integrate into newer environments.
The longing for connection, curiosity, and the desire to learn remain key to the artist’s exploration of the relationship between personal and the collective systems of thought. When arriving in Europe in 2001, he took the opportunity to study music and became a pupil of the Flamenco master Paco Peña. Acting as a tool to create another dimension of critique within today’s society, his relationship to music has since become a key element in the work. Music has also functioned as a bridge to create a strong collective and participatory dimension within his practice and working models.
The jury consisted of Mariana Castillo Deball (artist), Natasha Ginwala (Curator, Contour Biennale 8, and Curatorial Advisor, documenta 14), Krist Gruijthuijsen (Director, KW Institute for Contemporary Art), Charlotte Klonk (Professor of Art History and New Media, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and member of the Ernst Schering Foundation Council), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (Director, SAVVY Contemporary), Jacob Proctor (Curator, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, University of Chicago), and Wael Shawky (artist and recipient of the Schering Stiftung Art Award 2011).
"Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet" is the title of the exhibition by artist Hiwa K - winner of the Schering Stiftung Art Award 2016 - at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.Learn more
Charlotte Klonk studied art history at the Universities of Hamburg and Cambridge. After completing her dissertation, she was a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church College, Oxford University, and a lecturer at the University of Warwick. Since 2011, she has been professor of art history at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.Close
The Schering Stiftung Art Award is a collaboration between the Schering Stiftung and KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
The cultural programming of KW Institute for Contemporary Art is made possible with support from the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.
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