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Aykan Safoğlu and Georges Senga are part of the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sec_Videobrasil
Georges Senga Assani, »Cette maison n’est pas à vendre et à vendre«
04. October 2019

We are happy for Aykan Safoğlu and Georges Senga who have been selected together with 53 other artists as participants of the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, titled »Imagined Communities«. Altogether, 2280 artists from 105 countries submitted their applications. From October 9, 2019 to February 2, 2020, the artistic works of our two former fellows at Solitude and of the other participants are on view in Sesc 24 de Maio in Sao Paulo/Brazil.

On October 12, 2019, seven awards will be granted to participating artists and groups chosen by an international jury, consisting of Alexia Tala, Gabi Ngcobo, Marta Mestre, Reem Fada, and Rosângela Rennó. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!

The 21st Biennial borrows its title »Imagined Communities« from Benedict Anderson’s classic study of the rise of nationalism to reflect on forms of social and community organization existing beyond, on the fringes or in the breaches of nation states. The 21st Biennial wants to establish a common ground for all kinds of community imaginations, especially with regard to nationalism as a critical theme nowadays. 

Aykan Safoğlu presents his video work Off-White Tulips 

In his art practice, Aykan Safoğlu forges relationships – friendships, even – across cultural, geographic, linguistic, as well as temporal boundaries. Working across film, photography and performance, he makes open-ended enquiries into cultural belonging, creativity and kinship. Aykan holds a master’s degree in photography from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hundson, NY/USA, and a master’s degree from the Art in Context program at Universität der Künste Berlin/Germany. He has presented his work in countries including Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Lebanon and the USA. In 2018, he was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude. Aykan lives and works in Berlin.

At the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, he presents his video work Off-White Tulips of 2013. Off-White Tulips is entirely composed of archive images and records of objects that are written, one by one, by the camera, creating an imaginary conversation between the artist and the American writer James Baldwin, who lived in Istanbul in the 1960s and 1970s. Aykan relates his personal journey to Baldwin’s, whose identity as a gay black man enables the filmmaker to investigate the political dimensions of racism and tolerance, while bringing the popular Turkish and American icons of the time into the conversation, in an unlikely autobiography narrated in third person. Off-White Tulips has been presented at Akademie Schloss Solitude in September 2018. 

Georges Senga Assani presents his photography series Cette maison n’est pas à vendre et à vendre

Georges Senga Assani works as a photographer in Lubumbashi. He first was discovered at the Rencontres Picha Biennale de Lubumbashi by Marie-Françoise Plissart and Sammy Baloji. He joined the class master degree organized by the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg/South Africa, Lubumbashi (2012), and Lagos/Nigeria (2013). The third and fourth series of photographs titled a life after death and Kadogos were presented in 2014 at the Kampala Art Biennale and in 2013 at Rencontres Picha Biennale de Lubumbashi. Earlier, in 2009, his project impressed was presented at the second Lubumbashi Biennale with Simon Njami. He received a research grant by PRO HELVELTIA in 2014 for his photo project TRANSIT. In 2015, he was a fellow at WIELS Contemporary art centre, Forest/Belgium, as well as part of the project African Odyssey at the arts center BRASS.

At the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, he presents his photographic work Cette maison n’est pas à vendre et à vendre of 2016. Two situations of conflict over urban territory compose the series. In Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Georges Senga came across several houses with the sentence »Cette maison n’est pas à vendre« [This house is not for sale], haphazardly painted on the front. Objects of family inheritance disputes, these houses were photographed inside and outside, documenting the memories and attachment of residents to their homes. In the city of Praia Grande (on the coast of the state of São Paulo/Brazil), in turn, amidst a context of rapid urban change, Georges Senga documented the fronts and surroundings of houses that are indeed for sale. In this case, the potential memories and fondness evoked by the buildings, and also their walls, will soon disappear. Cette maison n’est pas à vendre et à vendre has been exhibited at Akademie Schloss Solitude in January 2017.