Bergen Assembly 2019 core group member Hiwa K’s sculptures, videos and performances draw on personal memories to explore the tension between the individual and the collective and to tell stories of ongoing global crises: war, migration and the effects of neoliberalism and colonialism. His work often involves participatory dimensions and collaborations with a wide cast of players.
Recent solo exhibitions include S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent and Kunstverein Hannover (both 2018), KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017), De Appel, Amsterdam (2017), Konsthall C, Stockholm (2015) and Serpentine Gallery, London (2010). Hiwa K’s works have been included in major group exhibitions at documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel (2017), the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), New Museum, New York (2013) and Manifesta 7 in Bolzano (2008), among others. In 2016, he received the Schering Stiftung Art Award, as well as the city of Kassel’s Arnold-Bode-Preis.
Hiwa K lives and works in Berlin.
Introduction Days, 5.4.2019
Pre-Image, Porto, 2014 (video, 6:35’, on view within Introduction Days, 5.4.2019)
Pre-Image documents a performance in Porto, Gdansk and Vienna, among others, and between Greece and Rome along the way. On his nose, Hiwa K balances a bar on which motorbike mirrors are mounted. The DIY navigation instrument reflects the environment in which he is walking. The balancing act and the fragmented image in the mirrors compel the artist to err on the side of caution. The vertical gaze that he uses to move forward horizontally is fragmented, distorted, unreliable. This allows him to re-experience the lack of stability in the midst of his constant state of movement during his migration. The title Pre-Image refers to the difference between how we imagine the places we want to reach, their possibilities before they become images, and how they are in reality; the contrast between vertically imagined places and the horizontal reality in which we experience places on the ground. The performance shows Hiwa K’s first impressions of the cities he discovers on his escape route. Interpreted as a reconstruction of his migratory past, of which he has no photographs, the performance could also be called a ‘post-image’.
Moon Calendar, Iraq, 2007 (video, 12:16’, on view within Introduction Days, 5.4.2019)
The rehearsals for an unrealised dance performance took place during a visit to Amna Souraka, The Red Security Building, in northern Iraq. This building complex used to be one of the infamous jails where Saddam Hussein detained political prisoners and today it hosts the Iraqi National Museum of War Crimes. Hiwa K tap-dances in the premises of Amna Souraka to the rhythm of his own heartbeat, which he follows by listening through a stethoscope. As the intensity of the dance increases, the speed of the feet and the heart lose simultaneity and chase each other in a beat and counter-beat discordant pulsation. The rhythm of the heart isolates the artist from the surroundings thus creating a private and hidden space for his own thoughts. The ludic dimension of the dance allows for a state of denial that makes trauma absent while still being present in the place.