EL HADJI SY: PAINTING, PERFORMANCE, POLITICS
5th March 2015 – 18th October 2015
In the mid-1970s, in a pioneering move, the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt began collecting contemporary artworks from Africa. Today it has over 3000 paintings, prints and sculptures in its collection.
In 1985, the museum commissioned the artist and curator El Hadji Sy (born 1954 in Dakar) with the task of assembling a new group of works of contemporary art from Senegal, thereby initiating a long-term relationship between Frankfurt and Dakar.
Thirty years later, as part of its programmatic investigation into its collection, the Weltkulturen Museum is proud to present a retrospective of El Hadji Sy’s career as a painter and cultural activist whose seminal involvement with the museum preceded the so-called global turn of 1989.
The exhibition, which is co-curated by Philippe Pirotte, director of the Städelschule and Portikus, combines El Hadji Sy’s installations and paintings – sometimes executed with his bare feet or produced on unusual surfaces such as industrial rice sacking or synthetic kite silk – with his selection of ethnographic objects and artworks by colleagues from Senegal. The exhibition includes loans from international private collections in addition to works from the Weltkulturen Museum.
As a founder of the notorious collective Laboratoire AGIT’ART, and a curator of numerous artist-led workshops and studio spaces in Dakar, El Hadji Sy’s interdisciplinary practice represents a ground-breaking position within the context of post-independence Africa.
A comprehensive monograph with unseen archival material, essays and interviews by Hans Belting, Clémentine Deliss, Mamadou Diouf, Julia Grosse, Yvette Mutumba, Philippe Pirotte and Manon Schwich is published by diaphanes in English and German.
In 2016 the exhibition will be on display at the National Galery Prag (Národní galerie v Praze) and at Castle Ujazdowski, Centre for Contemporary Art Warsaw (Centrum Sztuki Wspólczesnej Zamek Ujazdowskizu).
Tues – Sun, 11am – 6pm, Wed, 11am – 8pm
Entrance: € 7 / reduced € 3.50