SAVVY Contemporary is moving to Wedding

from 2016 on you find us here:

SAVVY Contemporary c/o Silent Green

Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Yes, the rumours are true. We are leaving our beautiful, our capricious home in Neukölln after two troublesome years of restraints and unnecessary battles. As from 2016 on we will be happy to welcome you all again to our new home, the cultural centre SILENT GREEN in Wedding.

We are leaving Neukölln with mixed feelings – it is our birthplace, our home which made us and which we have made. We worked hard, celebrated successes, welcomed old and new friends, widened our networks and deepened our knowledges. Nevertheless, the myriad of obstacles and the simultaneous lack of political support and cultural vision force us to make a change and move into a more enabling and inspiring environment. We look forward to the opportunity to work, live, think and create with our neighbours at Silent Green who are already showing us invaluable support and love.

Before our official opening in February 2016 we would like to invite you already to warm the space at our next event:

SOUTH AS A STATE OF MIND #6 [documenta 14 #1]

Magazine Launch

6th December 2015 | 7pm

SAVVY Contemporary c/o Silent Green

Gerichtstraße 35 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Talks, Readings, Conversation, and Music to launch the documenta 14 publication program with

South as a State of Mind #6 [documenta 14 #1]

In Collaboration with SAVVY Contemporary

Featuring Akinbode Akinbiyi, Peter Friedl, Bouchra Khalili, and Françoise Vergès

With Marina Fokidis, Head of Artistic Office Athens, documenta 14; Quinn Latimer, Editor-in-Chief of Publications, documenta 14; Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Curator at Large, documenta 14; and Adam Szymczyk, Artistic Director, documenta 14

Music by Ahmet Ögüt / Ali Demirel, Ange Da Costa, VSS Trio (Eric Vaughn, Charles Sammons, Kelvin Sholar), and DJ Judex


Possession and dispossession, displacement and debt—it seems that the stories that condition our present are inextricably born out of the stories that conditioned our past. The first of four special issues of South as a State of Mind, temporarily reconfigured as the documenta 14 journal, examines forms and figures of displacement and dispossession, and the modes of resistance—aesthetic, political, literary, biological—found within them. In essays, both literary and visual, as well as poems, speeches, diaries, conversations, and specially commissioned artist projects, the first issue of the d14 South considers dispossession as a historical and contemporary condition, and its connections to archaeology and the city, coloniality and performativity, debt and imperialism, provenance and repatriation, and feminism and protest.

To launch the inaugural issue of the d14 South, documenta 14 is organizing a series of public events—in Athens, Kassel, Berlin, Dhaka, and Kolkata—that bring the disparate voices of the journal, as well as those outside of it, into conversation in cities across the world. For the Berlin launch at SAVVY Contemporary, South contributors Peter Friedl and Françoise Vergès are joined by artists Bouchra Khalili and Akinbode Akinbiyi, as well as by documenta 14’s Adam Szymczyk, Quinn Latimer, Marina Fokidis, and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, for an evening of talks, conversation, readings, and music.

In the first issue of the d14 South, Peter Friedl takes the reader for a stroll through the arcades and temporalities of “Chirico City,” the imaginary architectures of Giorgio de Chirico, born in an Italian colony in Volos, Greece, in 1888, and ever returning. Françoise Vergès, in her lucid essay for South titled “Like a Riot: The Politics of Forgetfulness, Relearning the South, and the Island of Dr. Moreau,” returns to her youth in Réunion and Algeria, gleaning the legacy of her South for today’s global economic world order. Berlin-based Nigerian photographer Akinbode Akinbiyi’s recent work has included photographic projects that focus on documenting major metropoles across Africa and the urban life they produce. Bouchra Khalili, a Moroccan-French artist, works in video and installation, using the tropes of documentary cinema to trace the history of anticolonial struggles, the stateless, and the displaced. In addition to presentations by these artists and thinkers, the evening at SAVVY Contemporary will be accompanied by musical interventions by Ahmet Ögüt / Ali Demirel, Ange Da Costa, VSS Trio (Eric Vaughn, Charles Sammons, Kelvin Sholar), and an afterparty with DJ Judex.

South as a State of Mind is a magazine that was founded by Marina Fokidis in Athens in 2012. Beginning in 2015, the magazine temporarily becomes the documenta 14 journal, publishing four special issues biannually until the opening of the exhibition in Athens and Kassel in 2017. These special issues are edited by Quinn Latimer, documenta 14’s editor-in-chief of publications, and documenta 14 artistic director Adam Szymczyk. The documenta 14 South is conceived as a place of research, critique, art, and literature that parallels the years of work on the d14 exhibition overall, one that helps define and frame its concerns and aims. As such, the journal is a manifestation of documenta 14 rather than a discursive lens through which to merely presage the topics to be addressed in the eventual exhibition. Writing and publishing, in all their forms, are an integral part of documenta 14, and the journal heralds that process.

In this collaboration with documenta 14, SAVVY Contemporary intensifies its efforts to explore critical discourses at the conceptual threshold between the West and the non-West, and spotlight theories from the Global South. The Berlin launch of the documenta 14 publication South as a State of Mind #6 [documenta 14 #1] also marks a new chapter in SAVVY Contemporary's history, as it moves into its new space, Silent Green in Berlin-Wedding.


Akinbode Akinbiyi was born in Oxford, England, in 1946. Based in Berlin, he has been the recipient of a 1987 STERN Reportage Stipend and is the founder of the UMZANSI Cultural Center in Durban, South Africa. In 2003, he curated the German contribution to the Bamako Rencontres de la Photographie, in Mali, and was on the panel of judges of the World Press Photo Award.

Marina Fokidis is the founding and artistic director of Kunsthalle Athena, and the founding director of South as a State of Mind. She was a curator of the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale for Contemporary Art (2011) and the curator of the Greek Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2003). She is head of the Artistic Office, Athens, for documenta 14.

Peter Friedl is an artist. Since the 1980s he has published numerous essays and books projects such as Four of Five Roses (2004), Working at Copan/Trabalhando no Copan (2007), Playgrounds (2008), and Secret Modernity: Selected Writings and Interviews 1981–2009 (2009). He participated in documenta X (1997) and documenta 12 (2007), and in 2006 the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) organized a comprehensive retrospective of his work.

Bouchra Khalili Bouchra Khalili was born in Casablanca and lives and works in Berlin. Her work in video, installation, and prints explores transience, language, and transnationality. Among her recent shows are "Foreign Office" solo show at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); the 8th Göteborg Biennale(2015); "Here and Elsewhere”, New Museum, New York (2014); "Living Labour", solo show at PAMM, Miami; "The Encyclopedic Palace", 55th Venice Biennale(2013); La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); among others.

Quinn Latimer was born in California and lives in Basel and Athens. A poet and critic, she is the author of Rumored Animals (Dream Horse Press, 2012), which won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize, and Sarah Lucas: Describe This Distance (Mousse Publishing, 2013), and Film as a Form of Writing: Quinn Latimer Talks to Akram Zaatari (Weils, 2014). She is editor-in-chief of publications for documenta 14.

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD, was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and lives and works in Berlin. He is a biotechnologist, curator, and founder of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, as well as editor-in-chief of the journal SAVVY | art. contemporary.african. He is curator at large of documenta 14.

Adam Szymczyk is the artistic director of documenta 14. He was the director and chief curator of Kunsthalle Basel from 2003 to 2014, and cocurator of the 5th Berlin Biennale in 2008. He was a founder of Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, and in 2011 he was the recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement from the Menil Foundation, Houston.

Françoise Vergès was born in Paris and grew up in Reunion and Algeria. She is the Chair of Global South(s) at the College d’Etudes Mondiales, Paris. She received a PhD in political theory at University of California, Berkeley, and was president of the French Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery from 2009 to 2012. For the 2013 Paris Triennial, she curated the program “The Slave in Le Louvre.”


documenta 14


Team documenta 14, 2015, Photo: Gina Folly

Founder and director of SAVVY Contemporary, Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, will join the curatorial team of documenta 14 as Curator at Large. "Learning from Athens", the 14th edition of one of the world's most significant exhibitions of contemporary art directed by Adam Szymczyk, will be held from April 8 - July 16 2017 in Athens and in Kassel from June 10 - September 17 2017.

Excerpt from Adam Szymczyks's concept for documenta 14:

The city of Kassel has been the host of documenta since its inception in 1955. Likewise, over the past thirteen editions, documenta has served as host to many artists and cultural practitioners from around the globe. But, ultimately, this position of host—with all the privileges involved—appears to be no longer tenable and begs to be questioned, if only temporarily.

To this end, Szymczyk introduced documenta 14’s planned twofold structure: In 2017, documenta 14 will establish a second site—Athens —bringing Kassel and the Greek capital onto equal footing as the two locations of the exhibition. Thus documenta’s undisputed position as host will be abandoned for another role, that of guest, in Athens.

Szymczyk noted that the main lines of thinking behind this move are manifold. They have to do with the current social and political situation both in Europe and globally, which motivates artistic action. Further, they indicate the need to embody in documenta 14 the palpable tension between the North and the South as it is reflected, articulated, and interpreted in contemporary cultural production.

The challenge involves avoiding the traps of binary logic, while resonating with changing realities. To that end, instead of the singular spectacle, with its clearly designated location and temporal order, typical for great international exhibitions, documenta 14 will comprise two iterations set in dynamic balance in space and time.


Greece in 2014 is not an isolated case; it is emblematic of the fast-changing global situation, and it embodies the economic, political, social, and cultural dilemmas that Europe must face today—much as Kassel in 1955 embodied the need to deal with the trauma of destruction brought about by the Nazi regime and simultaneously served as a strategic location at the onset of the Cold War. If Athens exemplifies the current issues that extend beyond the proverbial notion of the “Greek Crisis,” these problems—which are as much European and global as they are Greek—remain unresolved. Yet they present us with an opportunity to open up a space of imagination, thinking, and action, instead of following the disempowering neoliberal setup that offers itself as (non)action implied in the (non)choice of austerity. While the specific timing and choice of locale of Kassel in 1955 were precisely the factors that allowed documenta to develop into a now half-century-old venture, those socio-political parameters that made documenta urgent are no longer in play. This sense of urgency, then, must be found elsewhere.

Szymczyk and his team concluded by noting that documenta 14—in its temporary displacement and doubling of perspectives—would enable those artistic strategies that reach toward the reality of a contemporary world, one understood as a place for a multitude made up of individuals, and not as a territory defined by hegemonic relationships that make it a place of suffering and misery for many.

It is this world that will be addressed in the exhibition, the world larger than Germany or Greece.


Ahmet Ögüt: One Ordinary Happening


is curated and organized by the Nationalgalerie as part of the collaborative project STADT/BILD

Ahmet Ögüt’s conceptual artistic practice often refers to Allan Kaprow’s work. In his projects, he collaborates with people and groups both within and outside of the art world, creating situations in which audiences must participate in order to experience them fully. An example of this is his The Silent University initiative, which was launched in 2012. This autonomous, nomadic “community of teachers and students” is organized for and run by refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.

In his approach to Kaprow’s Fluids, Ahmet Ögüt chose the theme of ice, the material used in the happening. He explores its transformation process – its physical and economic cycle. In this age of climate change, the image of melting ice has taken on a radical new meaning. With this in mind, Ögüt addresses how the basic material used in Kaprow’s happening continues to circulate after the happening is over.

The ice blocks used to create Fluids melted into 12,420 liters (roughly 3,281 gallons) of water. For his project, Ögüt is distributing the same amount of water in bottles with a label designed by himself. The bottles will be given away at different locations during the Berlin Art Week, among them SAVVY Contemporary, and are not only free artist editions, but also a call for us to enact our own version of One Ordinary Happening.

Allan Kaprow’s work Six Ordinary Happenings from 1969 consisted of brief instructions for small interventions that played with existing social structures and processes. In one of these Six Ordinary Happenings titled Charity, participants were instructed to buy used clothing in a thrift store, wash them at a laundromat, and then return them to the shop. Ahmet Ögüt’s One Ordinary Happening lets people create their own interventions in the life cycle of the material that was used in Fluids through their use of the water. Some of the artist’s suggestions are “Make bubbles, Cool yourself, Leave it on a street corner.“

AHMET ÖGÜT (born 1981 in Diyarbakir, lives and works in Amsterdam, Berlin and Istanbul)

Further information under:


Giving Contours to Shadows

Edited by Marius Babias, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Elena Agudio, Storm Janse van Rensburg

"Giving Contours to Shadows" is a research and exhibition project which takes its cue from the Glissantian concept that history, a "functional fantasy of the West", cannot be left in the hands of historians only. In that sense, the project looks at ways, by which artists, curators and thinkers relate to their own epoch, to times past and to the drawing of prospective trajectories, thus weaving alternatives to established narratives. The exhibitions, performances and discussions took place in 2014 at n.b.k, SAVVY Contemporary, Gorki Theater and Gemäldegalerie. The project and publication will uncover, discover and recover narratives, memories, knowledge and other histories in the form of a thematic reader comprising a collection of essays and critical texts, as well as image and text material about the participating artists, and will essentially cover the sections Performing and Embodying History, Wandering through History, Sequestrating History, Pre-Writing History.

With texts by Elena Agudio, Storm Janse van Rensburg, Premesh Lalu, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Simon Njami, Tavia Nyong'o, Sarah Rifky, and Greg Tate

166 pages, with color illustrations, soft cover, German/English, 19.80 Euro / 15.00 Euro (members), Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne 2015, ISBN 978-3-86335-591-3

Read more about the project here: