In 2018, Polish artist Ludomir Franczak visited the Hrdlicka Museum of Man, which is run by the University of Prague, where he discovered an exhibit displaying human bones. According to the description of these objects, they were the mortal remains of "Dahomey Amazon Gutta", who was put on display as part of an “ethnographic show” in the Czech capital in September 1892, where she later died from pneumonia or typhoid fever. This discovery became the starting point for intensive research: backed by an interdisciplinary team of artists and scientists, Ludomir Franczak searched archives and museums throughout Europe to find mentions of Gutta’s biography. He asks how to come to terms with colonialism in Poland and the Czech Republic, how to responsibly handle human remains kept in European collections with responsibility, how racist practices of representation persist, and how he, as a white artist, can address these issues.
The performance of “Gutta” will be followed by a discussion, which will provide the opportunity to examine the topics and questions of the evening in greater depth. There will also be a chance to look at the collections of human remains housed in Berlin museums, aesthetic performance choices, and current discourses surrounding representation and memory.
Guests: Ludomir Franczak, Sára Märc, Isabelle Reimann
The performance and subsequent discussions will look at topics of human remains, the “Völkerschau”, colonialism and racism.
Coproduction with Cross Attic Prag, Studio ALTA Prag, Pracownia Kuratorska Krakau
Supported by: Visegrad Fund
November 2nd 2022 | 6 pm
TATWERK | Berlin
Tickets: €16,50 | concession €11,50
Zuzanna Berendt, Petr Dlouhý, Marcin Dymiter, Ludomir Franczak, Agáta Hrnčířová, Anna Majewska, Sára Märc, Ida Ślęzak
Collaboration : Johanna Berg, Dominika Czarnecka, Filip Herza, Clemens Radauer, Louise Steinman
Ludomir Franczak, born 1974 in Slupsk/Poland, is a multidisciplinary artist working with visual arts, performance, and theatre. His works were shown in galleries, public spaces, and festivals in Poland, and abroad. He cooperates with musicians (Emiter, Robert Curgenven, Patryk Zakrocki), visual artists (Magdalena Franczak, Sebastian Buczek), and theaters (Schaubude/Berlin, Cross Attic/Prague, Kana/Szczecin, Szwalnia/Lodz). His main interest is the issue of memory, identity, and environmental activism. By means of intermedia actions, he creates complex projects, using both visual arts and history, or literature. He is the author of several art publications and audio works. He is also active as a curator and cultural worker.
Isabelle Reimann ist Ethnologin an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Sie ist Autorin des »Wissenschaftlichen Gutachtens zum Bestand menschlicher Überreste/Human Remains aus kolonialen Kontexten in Berlin« im Auftrag von Decolonize Berlin.