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To remember, sometimes you need different archeological tools - Hiwa K

Museums/Institutes De Appel

Schipluidenlaan 12D4
1062 HE Amsterdam
+31 (0) 206255651

Open Wed – Sat 14-18 hrs 

Exhibition 7 Oct — 16 Dec

Opening 7 Oct, 16-19 hrs


Hiwa K, Diagonal, 2009

“After they stabbed me under the bridge, they ran away. I slowly lay down on my back. My breath was very cold because I was surrounded by snow. It was after midnight, December in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. I was looking at the underside of the bridge. My lungs were cold; blood was dripping down into my lungs. Each drop would warm them. It was pleasant.”

The above account is by the Berlin-based artist Hiwa K (Kurdistan-Iraq, 1975) and concerns a certain K, a fictive persona the artist regularly quotes. K, at the time a recent immigrant to the Netherlands, was violently attacked by four anonymous people on a cold, snowy winter night. They perforated his lungs with a knife and abandoned him, leaving him for dead in the freezing street. K, according to the artist, had never felt welcome in the Netherlands and eventually decided to leave the country.

Join De Appel on Saturday 7 October at 16 hrs for the opening of Hiwa K: ‘To remember, sometimes you need different archeological tools’ in the new exhibition space of De Appel in Amsterdam Nieuw-West.

De Appel invites Hiwa K to collaboratively produce two new works and an exhibition in which the artist will come to terms with severe acts of violence and conflict. The two new productions consist of a philosophical wrestling session (‘Pin-down’) and a search for K’s perpetrators (‘Misunderstanding’). Both projects negotiate different ways in which memory intermingles with narration, and how it determinedly informs everyday migrant experiences.

'To remember, sometimes you need different archeological tools' presents videos and relics from the above-described Hiwa K projects. Additionally, a concise selection of artworks expands the exhibition. These evolve around similar make-shift solutions and sensible approaches to staging complex mnemonic situations that involve acts of violence and experiences of displacement. It hints at a multifaceted pragmatic world of amateur immigrant tools that bypass official archeological methodologies. The exhibition idiosyncratically connects Hiwa K’s unfixed understanding of the world and his open-ended artistic approach to an unsettled exhibition format in which nothing is certain until it opens to the public…

Through his work, Hiwa K rejects normative aesthetic definitions by exploring alternative artistic possibilities that engage oral histories, social confrontations and politically charged situations. His projects are shown at documenta 14, the 56th Venice Biennale and Manifesta 7, and at renowned art institutions such as the New Museum, New York; Serpentine Gallery, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin and M HKA, Antwerp.


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