Sunday, May 15, 2011

Co-Lab Editions 2 at SAVVY Contemporary

Pants Konzepte
An event tailored by Ruth Feukoua and Serge Olivier Fokoua (Cameroon)
Curated by Marcio Carvalho
Wednesday, the 27th of April 2011

Have you ever been to an art performance and had your underwear tailored for you in the same time?
On Wednesday, the 27th of April 2011 the SAVVY Contemporary gallery in Berlin was pleased to offer its visitors this unique experience.
The performance conducted by the 2 Cameroonian artists was funny, playful and intimate: under the eyes of a simultaneously amused and shy public, they took their time and wrapped visitors' butts and waists in vividly coloured tape, thus tailoring individual pieces of underwear. Separated from their initial model, the emerging objects were placed in all their size and form on high pedestals and raised to the status of sculptures. Later that evening, driven by curiosity, some of us dared to touch the exhibited underwear. The electric colour of the tape added to their almost surreal appearance. Each pair of underwear, unique and lavishly resting on display, also brought a smile to the people passing by the gallery, who didn't witness the process of their creation and had no idea how the objects showed up there.

This performance has its roots in a long time collaboration between the curator and the 2 artists. At first there was an exchange of images and cityscapes from Berlin to Cameroon and the beginning of an inspired, creative process. Seeing people walk the streets of Berlin made the artists want to do the same... but in their own way. This is how they got the idea of walking through Berlin wearing an unusual outfit. Imagine two grown-ups wearing funny-looking, over-sized underwear walk through the city together with their daughter. The documentation of the whole process took the form of a video, which the visitors could watch at the gallery on the day of the performance.
Their daughter's presence brought a feeling of casualness to their strolling through Berlin. And it also fits the artistic credo of Ruth Feukoua and Serge Olivier Fokoua who like to work together as a family. This also goes back to another one of their performances, the one called Sharing love. This time the two partners washed each other's body and fed each other a special dish, as a sign of their mutual recognition and shared love in the creation of their daughter. During this performance Ruth Feukoua was actually pregnant, which brings real life and performance on the same level of experience. In an invisible manner, the child was also taking part in her parents' performance. And the viewer became a privileged witness of a very intimate moment that deals with creation, recognition and sharing.
This sense of intimacy, sometimes sensual, like in Sharing love, sometimes funny, like in Pants
Konzepte at SAVVY Contemporary is characteristic of their work. And also the idea of giving form to things that deeply inform our lives while remaining unseen.

The evening unfolded itself in 3 parts: the video-screening and the performance itself were complemented by a round discussion in the presence of the performers and the curator. The atmosphere was friendly and the topics ranged from performance art in Africa, its tradition and founding needs, the interference of the political regimes in the cultural life... The flow of the discussion originated in the fact that performance art is still new in Cameroon, with the invited artists being among the very few ones who choose it as a form of artistic expression. Their endeavour also materialized in a group of Cameroonian artists (Palettes of Kamer) who share the same interest in contemporary art and who value performance as one of its most powerful manifestations.

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