Table of Goods, 2017
Installation with soil, sugar, ground coffee, cocoa, dark chocolate and candles
Table of Goods, 2017
Speaking the Unspeakable was Grada Kilomba’s first solo exhibition on the African continent and at Goodman Gallery. As a woman artist from the African Diaspora who has had two solo museum shows and featured at the 1-54 art fair in Marrakech in the year 2018, this was a significant moment for South African audiences to experience her subversive and singular work on decoloniality.
With a poetic visual language, Kilomba interrupts the ‘white cube’ to create a space that announces the emergence of silenced voices and explores the relationship between speaking, silencing and listening.
Curated by Lara Koseff and with creative production by Moses Leo Speaking the Unspeakable features new work that combines myriad art forms and genres – storytelling, theatre, performance and choreography – to explore several means to speak the unspeakable. In this context, Kilomba uses the term unspeakable as a metaphor for trauma, and the colonial wound, explaining how, ‘colonialism is a wound that has never been properly treated, an infected wound that always hurts, and sometimes bleeds.’
Grada Kilomba (b. 1968, Lisbon, Portugal) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer born in Lisbon and living in Berlin. Kilomba’s work draws on the repressed history of colonialism and its legacy on memory, trauma, race, gender, and knowledge production: ‘who can speak?’ ‘what can we speak about?’ and ‘ What happens when we speak?’ are three constant questions in Kilomba ’s body of work.
Kilomba is best known for her subversive writing and her unconventional use of artistic practices, in which she gives body, voice and image to her own text, using a variety of formats such as Staged Reading, Performance, and Video Installation. In her work, Kilomba intentionally creates a hybrid space between the academic and the artistic languages, and uses storytelling as a central element for her decolonial practices.
Kilomba‘s work has been described to have the powerful beauty of touching ‘the colonial wound’ with a surgical precision, ’bringing a new, experimental and compelling voice to contemporary art and discourse’ (ARTE Brasileiros 2016). She decolonises by subverting content, undoing standard practices and inventing new methods and places of expression. Kilomba entered the contemporary art world, in 2016, when she was invited and commissioned to develop a artwork for the 32. Bienal de São Paulo. Kilomba’s work has been presented internationally, including: 10. Berlin Biennale; Documenta 14, Kassel; 32. Bienal de São Paulo; Rauma Biennale Balticum; The Power Plant, Toronto; MAAT Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; Galeria Avenida da Índia, Lisb...Read more
Goodman Gallery is an international contemporary art gallery with locations in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London. The gallery represents artists whose work confronts entrenched power structures and inspires social change.
Goodman Gallery has held the reputation as a pre-eminent art gallery on the African continent since 1966. It has been pivotal in shaping contemporary South African art, bringing Lisa Brice, David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa and Sue Williamson to the world’s attention for the first time during the apartheid era.
Since Liza Essers became owner and director in 2008, the gallery roster has grown by more than 30 international artists, with a focus on women from the African Diaspora and beyond.
Goodman Gallery has a global programme working prominent and emerging international artists whose work engages in a dialogue with African and post-colonial contexts.
Some of these artists include Ghada Amer, El Anatsui, Candice Breitz, Alfredo Jaar, Grada Kilomba, Kapwani Kiwanga, Shirin Neshat, Ernesto Neto, Tabita Rezaire, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Mikhael Subotzky and Hank Willis Thomas.
Critical to this programme has been the introduction of two ongoing curatorial initiatives: “In Context”, which explores tensions of place and belonging; and “South-South”, which considers connections between artists from the “global south”. Goodman Gallery’s expansion to London furthers this mission to confront dominant historical narratives and to contribute to contemporary art discourse and social repair.