Exhibition | Live events
No you won’t be naming no buildings after me
To go down dilapidated
No you won’t be naming no buildings after me
My name will be misstated, surely
– Erykah Badu
The artists in this exhibition explore embodied legacies and modes of commemoration. Monuments, street names and national holidays are official forms that keep people and events in the public memory, turning public space into a physical archive. But memory and commemoration can be expressed in other forms, especially when it concerns people or events that are not necessarily represented in the public realm. No You Won’t Be Naming No Buildings After Me interrogates our physical modes of commemoration, while addressing different ways to pass on memories or reclaim historical events from denial or oblivion. Throughout, the human body is an essential medium for memory and a beacon of legacies lived.
The exhibition features a series of live events, with performances by Alexis Blake, Quinsy Gario & Glenda Martinus, and Bert Scholten; artist talks with Uriel Orlow and Pieter Paul Pothoven.
In conjunction with the exhibition, online magazine Vers Beton will publish a series of interviews. Different voices from Rotterdam take us to city places entwined both with personal memories and the events they would like remembered.
Artists in the exhibition
Especially for this exhibition, Alexis Blake resumes her 2007 graduation project at TENT, a piece which started her career at the intersection of visual art and choreography. She again works with breakdance to respond to histories of empowerment associated with hip hop culture and to test ‘breaking’ as a freedom-claiming gesture. She designed a dance floor with glass wall elements and invited percussionists, a singer, and a group of B-girls for two performances on vulnerability and strength.
In a new sound artwork, contemporary troubadour Bert Scholten sings to forgotten Dutch traditions. Therein, the consumption of a body made of bread turns out to play a pivotal, ever-changing role.
Kader Attia’s work is about repairing history: making visible and caring for wounds that have failed to reveal practices and patterns of violence. His film ‘Reflecting Memory’ looks at the connection between phantom pain and social trauma.
Aimée Zito Lema works with archival images and the body as a bearer of memories. Together with the Theater of the Oppressed Group (PT), she uses theatre techniques to investigate how memories are transferred from generation to generation and how we can become the bearer of other people’s memories. Her theatrical installation takes the viewer on this exploration.
Kristina Benjocki observes how multiple, sometimes contradictory memories and views arise as the distance of history grows. In a new textile work, she continues the actions of three generations of her family’s women, each of whom managed to survive radical histories.
A malleable perception of history is also the subject of Yoeri Guépin‘s film. The ruins of the last imperial palace in China are retroactively subject to official and unofficial interpretations and appropriation by various ideological groups.
Gert Jan Kocken conducts meticulous research into the visual origins of laden histories. Especially for this exhibition, he has reworked his map of Rotterdam in which he combined maps made by survivors of the Second World War into a complex matrix of the city during wartime.
Aslan Gaisumov traces the turbulent and complex history of Chechnya, often letting found objects speak for themselves. Soviet-era street nameplates testify to various episodes in an ongoing battle.
Names also inform Uriel Orlow‘s ‘What Plants Were Called Before They Were Given a Name’. This sound installation, from a series of works reflecting on the impact of European scientific and colonial expeditions, presents plants as witnesses to history.
Powerful language plays a prominent role in Marcel van den Berg‘s paintings. He takes inspiration from hip-hop, funk, techno, jazz, and reggae, music genres where the voice discloses inequality, injustice and racism, as well as pride and protest.
Pieter Paul Pothoven shows part of his long-term research into the motivations behind RARA’s (Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action) activism of the 1980s and 90s. In his sculptural installation, a historical façade is the key to an alternative perspective, and he examines RARA’s attack on the Van Heutsz monument.
Photographer Dana Lixenberg presents a selection from her celebrated ‘Imperial Courts’ project. For twenty years, she has created portraits of and with residents of Watts, Los Angeles, to document how they shape their lives in the face of a stigmatising media focus, the politics of segregation, and a lack of everything.
Taus Makhacheva‘s performance video stems from conversations with Caspian Sea fishermen about surviving its waters and their fear of disappearing at sea. Her work also reflects on the art world’s fascination with marginal stories, which are often reduced to simple anecdotes.
For more info about the works in the exhibition, download the exhibition booklet here .
In addition to performances as part of the installations by Alexis Blake and Bert Scholten, Quinsy Gario & Glenda Martinus present work in performance form. 30 May, 1969, entered the books as a drunken revolt against the Dutch colonial regime in Curaçao. In a new performance, Quinsy Gario, together with his mother Glenda Martinus, explains what they think were the real motives behind the collective protest against the Netherlands and Shell. They show Trinta di Mei’s resistance certainly wasn’t an isolated event.
Interview series in Vers Beton
Online magazine, Vers Beton publishes interviews in which Rotterdammers take us to city places entwined with histories and memories of people.
Curator Vincent van Velsen
Guest curator Vincent van Velsen is a writer and curator. He is a contributing editor at Metropolis M (2018–), was a resident at the Van Eyck (2015–16) and recently concluded his guest residency at the Rijksakademie (2018–2019). His exhibitions include ‘Even if it’s Jazz or the Quiet Storm’ (2018–2019) in collaboration with Dan Walwin at Nest, The Hague; ‘Sammy Baloji: A Blueprint for Toads and Snakes’ (2018) at Framer Framed; and ‘exclude/include. Alternate Histories’ (2016) at Castrum Peregrini, both Amsterdam. Together with Alix de Massiac, he won the second curatorial prize of the VBCN (Association of Dutch Corporate Collections, 2015). Vincent van Velsen is currently part of Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung’s curatorial team for sonsbeek2020 and the Stadscuratorium van Amsterdam, he is also presiding member of the Mondriaan Fund and a board member of De Appel.