A Flower Garden of All Kinds of Loveliness Without Sorrow is the artist Christian Nyampeta’s first solo exhibition in Germany.
The title is taken from Een bloemhof van allerley lieflijkheyd sonder verdriet (1668), a dictionary compiled by Adriaan Koerbagh, a Dutch philosopher of Germanic heritage and a companion of Spinoza and circles surrounding him. Due to this writing, which intervened against the cultural injustice arising from the abuse of religious and clerical knowledge, he lived in exile and died in prison in Amsterdam.
Drawing from Koerbagh’s practice of collective annotation, narration and publishing, Nyampeta’s A Flower Garden at the GfZK consists of three components: a working period in which a scriptorium supports the English and German translation of texts from visual cultures of Rwandan expression, an exhibition with murals, projections and sculpture that focus on the colonial legacy of Germany in Rwanda, and a public program.
The translation includes songs, philosophy and poems, presented within a growing dossier that consists of current and past translations from previous sessions hosted farther afield, and films informed by these translations. The murals are conceived as timelines, portraying the forcefully intertwined histories of Rwanda and Germany. They include archival documents, writings and photographs from the Archive for Geography at the Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, specially digitised for this occasion. Other documents are issued from the holdings of the Afrikamissionare Weisse Väter in Cologne and the” Special Collections Africa” (Specialsammlung Afrika) at the Goethe University Frankfurt.
The exhibition also contains sculptures described as “hosting structures”. These are furniture-like abstractions of the cultural artefacts depicted in the archival material, composed from assembling mechanisms in multicoloured composite sheets, using a material process that is a metaphor for collectivity. As 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, the artist has dedicated these sculptures to minor Rwandan and German figures who were unjustly persecuted for their beliefs, ideas or behavior.
Finally, the public program is conceived as an “evening school”, gathering thoughts, readings, poems, songs, and videos and featuring artists, theorists, musicians and filmmakers, and staff and students from the University of Leipzig. A Flower Garden at GfZK is part of an iterative program of exhibitions, screenings and performances of the same name, taking place in Amsterdam, Mechelen, Kigali, London and New York.
Christian Nyampeta works in art, design and theory, and his other current exhibitions include Contour Biennale 9 and IMA Brisbane. Recent exhibitions include Dakar Biennale (2018) and e-flux New York (2017). Nyampeta is completing his PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Sponsored by: Alpha 2000, Europas Zukunft gUG, Förderkreis der GfZK