In the overgrown castle grounds, sheds and barns at Wanås Konst sculpture park and art gallery, the setting for art is highly immersive and facilitates a variety of adventurous explorations. The permanent collection in the sculpture park is complemented with a program of temporary exhibitions and related events. With a mission to produce and communicate art that challenges and redefines the view of society, this summer’s international group exhibition did just that.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s well-known TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story was the starting point for the exhibition and the inspiration for the title, Not A Single Story II. “I’m a storyteller. And I would like to tell you a few personal stories about what I like to call “the danger of the single story.’”
Adichie argues: “Stories matter. How they are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.”
For many of the participating artists, history, identity and transformation form a recurring theme, and a political interest is inevitable. Confronting conflicts in everyday situations and interweaving them with poetic and emotional states are part of their artistic expression. Lubaina Himid, who received the prestigious Turner Prize in 2017, describes her work: “I need to do it because there are stories that need to be told, there are stories that aren’t being told, there are gaps in history that are not being filled and there are gaps in education that aren’t being served by the system we live in…”
The works engaged a wide variety of artistic practices—shadows and news footage became moving images, draped bottles and ropes of bed linens blocked one’s path, tarpaulin and fabric formed soft sculptures. In a new work, Latifa Echakhch used crushed bricks; the blocks shifted from being a building material to colouring the ground. Echakhch has commented on destruction in her works as representing opportunity: build up, rub out, begin again, leave and forget, leave and lift up, re-do – reflect. Like the other artists in Not A Single Story II, Echakhch complicates the narrative; they add invisible stories, take away and present choices before us.
Not A Single Story II was a further development of the large exhibition that Wanås Konst’s leadership duo co-curated at the Nirox Foundation sculpture park outside Johannesburg in 2018. With a concentrated selection of artists and some new names, the exhibition became transformed in a new place. Images are presented following.
In additional exhibition programming, during July, visitors could encounter the choreographic installation Fluid Grounds by Benoît Lachambre as part of Wanås Konst’s live art program.