December 9, 2017 - Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) - Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology
December 9, 2017

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)

(1) Letícia Barreto, from the series “Entre torres de marfim e deuses de ébano” #03, (depois de Leonore Mau), 2017. Bleach on fabric. 1.35 x 2.40 m. (2) #Coletivo Bonobando, Prata Jardim - Omindarewa, 2017. Installation and performance, actress Lívia Laso with Mamulengo puppet of Hubert Fichte at Museum of Modern Art Salvador de Bahia, 2017.

Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology
November 25, 2017–January 13, 2018
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Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology
November 25, 2017–January 13, 2018
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology is a multi-year project staging new artistic encounters with one of the key figures of the German literary underground of the 1960s. In the 1970s and 80s, Fichte went on to create a pioneering style of queer and postcolonial literature and a unique form of ethnography when he and photographer Leonore Mau researched the culture and politics of the African diaspora in Brazil, Venezuela, Trinidad, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, and elsewhere in America, and in Senegal, Benin, Togo, among other places in Africa. The project translates several of the resulting novels into the local languages in order to engender a critical reception in the places Fichte wrote about. Running from 2017 to 2019, Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology is conceived by Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke for the Goethe-Institut and Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, and realized in collaboration with the S. Fischer Stiftung and S. Fischer Verlag and further curators and institutions in Lisbon, Salvador de Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, New York, Dakar, and Berlin. 

In September 2017, the exhibition Mistake! Mistake! said the rooster… and stepped down from the duck opened at Lumiar Cité in Lisbon. Proceeding from Fichte’s novel Eine Glückliche Liebe (1984/1988), translated by José Maria Vieira Mendes (publisher: Cotovía, title: Um amor feliz), The exhibition was curated by Jürgen Bock and featured the artists Gabriel Barbi, Ramiro Guerreiro, Ana Jotta, Euridice Kala, and Simon Thompson, together with Fichte and Mau’s work from their stay in Salazar’s Portugal in the 1960s. The exhibition adressed key themes from Fichte’s work, such as torture, human rights, and bisexuality, as well as exploring Fichte and Mau’s aesthetic interventions. 

Currently on view is the exhibition Implosão: Trans(relacion)ando Hubert Fichte, curated by Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz and Amilcar Packer at the MAM Museum of Modern Art in Salvador de Bahia and the Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica in Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition focuses on Fichte’s 900-page novel Explosion (1993). Beginning with Marcelo Backes’ translation of this crucial volume in Die Geschichte der Empfindlichkeit (publisher: Hedra, title: Explosão), a number of Brazilian and international artists have developed works that respond to Fichte and Mau’s research into the Afro-diasporic religions Candomblé and Tambor de Mina, as well as Fichte’s conflict with French photographer and ethnologist Pierre Verger. Whether by exploring religious cult sites or public toilets and other gay cruising sites of the cities Fichte visited, the exhibition critically explores the positions, prejudices, and viewpoints of the homosexual Jewish poet who was in search of new alliances with so-called minorities in Brazil. The artists who have produced work for the show are Ayrson Heráclito, Coletivo Bonobando, Letícia Barreto, Michelle Mattiuzzi, Negro Leo, Pan African Space Station, and Rodrigo Bueno, in addition to historical works from the archives of Hélio Oiticica, Leonore Mau, and Alair Gomes. 

The exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago de Chile, curated by Mario Navarro, opens in September 2018 and takes the sections on Chile in Fichte's novel Explosion, translated by Cecilia Pavón (publisher: Metales Pesados, title: Chile: Un experimento por el futuro) as its point of departure, together with the radio feature Chile: Experiment auf die Zukunft (Chile: An Experiment with the Future), first broadcast on Norddeutscher Rundfunk (Northern German Broadcasting) in 1972. Drawn to Allende’s political project, Fichte and Mau spent part of that year in the South American country. Fichte’s interviews with Allende and Carlos Jorquera, former press secretary for the Allende government, are testimonials to Fichte’s intense engagement with Latin American socialism, and are the central point of reference in this affiliated leg of the project in Santiago de Chile.

Adam Siegel’s English language translation of Die schwarze Stadt: Glossen (1990; Black City: Glosses, publisher: Sternberg Press) is the point of departure for exhibitions at Participant Inc. and e-flux, curated by Yesomi Umolu (Fall/Winter 2018). Between 1978 and 1980 Fichte spent a substantial amount of time in New York City. It was here that his engagement with Afro-diasporic cultures culminated, for it is in New York that they can all be found—appearing to Fichte in their entirety as a single counter-universality and coherent alternative to Western art for the first time. Fichte expands these insights at greater length in his interviews with artists, activists, and chance acquaintances.

On the Dakar leg of the project (2019), a collaboration with RAW Material Company and Magueye Kasse, among others, departs from the Fichte’s book Psyche, and extends to Fichte and Mau’s lengthy stays in countries such as Benin, Togo, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, and Tanzania, as well as Fichte’s  investigations into medical and psychiatric practices.

The final leg of the project will be at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, in 2019. Curated by Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke, the artistic directors of Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology, the show will take up the themes and artistic stances of the six preceding legs and critically engage with their broader historical and contemporary contexts. The planned exhibition and public conference will expand upon the questions that have arisen during the course of the project and open them up to the present moment.


The exhibition project is accompanied by a web journal offering insights into Fichte’s writing in German, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Wolof and English:

Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology is a cooperation between Goethe-Institut and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, supported by S. Fischer Stiftung and S. Fischer Verlag. Part of The New Alphabet, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.

Press contact:
Anne Maier, Haus der Kulturen der Welt
anne.maier [​at​] / T +49( 0)30 39787 153

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)
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