“The Rot Remains with Us, the Men Are Gone”

Thomas Eller - 49 Portraits

Exhibition: 15th - 28th of September 2014

Opening Hours: Thurs – Sun, 4-8pm (and on appointment)

The men who were at the forefront of the German colonial and imperial endeavour are long gone, and the memory of German colonial rule, too, seems to have been obliterated from discourses in the public sphere and buried six feet under. Derek Walcott suggests that while the men are gone, the rot still remains with us. Once the culprits and their faces no longer exist, where do we look for the rot that the imperial formations have produced? How can we render the aftermath visible? And where do we turn to look for the rot?

The exhibition “The Rot Remains with Us, the Men Are Gone” rests on the premise that German imperialism is not only tremendously neglected and denied in public and mainstream historical discourse, but also continues to produce and is reproduced in social and cultural contexts. While shedding light on the toxic but subtle corrosions and violent accruals of colonial aftermaths it aims to investigate the rot, the remnants and remains of German imperial rule in order to trace and question the way colonial formations continue to penetrate our lives today.

The central piece of this exhibition, “49 portraits” (2013), consists of a selection of highly pixelated portraits of men who played an active or indirect role in the course of German colonial rule, which reveal their content only at a certain distance, compelling the viewer to question his/her position towards them. Through critically addressing the “48 portraits” presented by Gerhard Richter in the German pavilion of the 1972 Venice Biennale, the piece engages with the history of the portrayal of the “good” white male and ties it into a longer history of imperial rule and notions of cultural supremacy. The work will be shown alongside his pieces Die Mauer grau streichen (1986), THE Selbst – Greetings in Riga (1991) and THE White Male Complex #5 (lost).

The exhibition forms part of Thomas Eller's long durée commitment to deconstructing the cultural, political, societal and artistic positions of male Western legacy.



Saturday, 11th October 2014, 7pm

Live Performances and Artist Talk

Artist: Omar Ghayatt

Curator: Chiara Cartuccia

Art directors: Dr. Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung, Dr. Elena Agudio

SAVVY Contemporary | Richardstr. 20 | 12043 Berlin-Neukölln

© Mariusz Marchewa Marchlewicz

On Saturday, 11th October 2014, within the framework of Present Tense Series, Egyptian performance artist, scenographer and theatre director Omar Ghayatt will present his internationally renowned interaction performance piece The Casting, a real casting arranged among the spectators and the artist to fulfil several roles, in order to stage a short theatrical representation of a love quadrangle. In this scenario Ghayatt covers the double-role of director and actor.
The performance aims at testing the viewers and their inclinations towards aggressive behaviours under the influence of emotions associated with the acted scene. The Casting is a more subtle investigation of the theme human violence, a topic widely inspected by Ghayatt in his latest works. The spectators/actors are pushed to their limits, forced to experiment whit their own social attitude, to deal with their most hidden mental barriers and prejudices. Covered by the role of the actor the spectator is free to unveil his/her secret nature, to be “more real than reality”, as the artist states.

Together with The Casting an additional, original performative intervention, exclusively conceived for SAVVY Contemporary, will be presented.
During the same evening the audience will have the chance to attend an artist talk, in the context of which Omar Ghayatt will speak about his work in the field of performance art, and will discuss his artistic experimentations with post-dramatic theatre.

Omar Ghayatt was born in Cairo in 1976; in 1998 he received his B.A. in Arts and Education. An early interest in drama, combined with a strong sense for the visual, led him to develop his own characteristic blend of performance art, visual theatre, and scenography. In 2003 he received the first state prize ever awarded in Egypt for performance art. The following years, he performed in various countries such as France, Bosnia, Turkey, Korea and Poland. Alongside his travels, he organized a long-term project in Egypt, Sabeel Cairo, with the aim to promote performance art in the area. Ghayatt travelled to theatre Schlachthaus Bern as an artist in residence of “Pro Helvetia” in 2007. In March 2008, he initiated the project “Made in Paradise”, in collaboration with the Swiss artists Yan Duyvendak and Nicole Borgeat. Ghayatt obtained his Master of Scenography from the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste Zhdk in 2009, and in 2010 received a studio in the “PROGR” centre for culture production as a grant from the city of Bern. In 2011 the artist ideated “If I Weren’t Egyptian”, a visual theatre project based on a text by Alaa Al Aswani. Ghayatt latest project is “Violence Lointaine”, a dance/performance piece, developed in collaboration with the Congolese choreographer DeLaVallet Bidiefono, and the French sound artist Maxime Denuc.

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