The School of Mutants: All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other

The School of Mutants: All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other

Blenheim Walk Gallery at Leeds Arts University

February 9, 2024
The School of Mutants
All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other
February 1–March 28, 2024
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Poetry reading event: February 26, 5–6:30pm, crossovers between art, law and justice
Blenheim Walk Gallery at Leeds Arts University
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Film screening: February 28, 8pm, Abderrahmane Sissako’s Bamako introduced by Valerie Osouf
Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds
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Panel discussion on experimental art pedagogies: March 13, 5–6:30pm
Blenheim Walk Gallery at Leeds Arts University
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Blenheim Walk Gallery at Leeds Arts University
Blenheim Walk
Leeds LS2 9AQ
United Kingdom
Hours: Monday–Saturday 10am–4pm

T +44 113 202 8000
www.leeds-art.ac.uk
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Blenheim Walk Gallery is happy to present the exhibition All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other by The School of Mutants

All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other, 2022 
The installation All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other, 2022 is a replica of the main scene of the film Bamako by Abderrahmane Sissako (2006). Set in the courtyard of Sissako’s childhood home in Mali, the scene depicts a fictional trial in which the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are judged for their neocolonial economic policies on the continent, and the continued assault against the sovereignty of Africa’s peoples.

The recreation of the scene through sculptural language forms a critique of the Third World discourse, one invented by the West as epistemological category to reinforce forms of economic and cultural imperialism. As a response, the artists create a composition of wood sculptures, hand-painted colourful school chairs, textiles, books, ceramics, everyday objects, archival materials, video works and an atmospheric sound piece in which the narrator reflects on the topic of epistemic liberation. In this re-interpretation, the focus of the court shifts from the reclaiming of material sovereignty to the fundamental question of restitution of knowledge.

The installation performs an inquiry into the conditions under which such a trial of the globalised capital system can lead to processes of restitution. In that respect, the oversized, legal gowns act as symbols of justice but also power, posing the question of whether institutions can be judged and on what terms. Their formal typology is challenged and reappropriated with added sew-on patches of everyday fabrics, life vest remains as physical traces of suffering bodies, and digital prints of film stills from African liberation cinema in resonance with Sissako’s work.

All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other was created by The School of Mutants members Lou Mo, Boris Raux, Valérie Osouf, Hamedine Kane, Stéphane V. Bottéro, with the participation of Mansour Ciss. It was commissioned in 2022 by the 12th Berlin Biennale.

The School of Mutants is a nomadic collaborative platform for art and research, initiated in Dakar, Senegal, in 2018. It develops multidisciplinary inquiries on the role of universities and educational infrastructures in the process of forming collective national identities in post-independent Senegal and West Africa. Taking the form of installations, field work, films, archive research, publications, public assemblies and collaborative learning, the project aspires to mobilize spaces for the production, transmission and pluralization of knowledge in a non-hierarchical way. Engaging with sociocultural, ecological and aesthetic mutations of the real the artistic process reflects on African futurism, anti-imperialist ecologies, and the legacy of Afro-Asianism, non-alignment and Southern solidarities.

The project is inspired by the University of Mutants, an ephemeral learning space founded in Gorée, Senegal, in the late 1970s fostering non-hierarchical teaching and epistemic decolonization. The project hosted scholars from across Africa, Latin America and Asia, at a historical moment of increased Southern solidarity. Taking as a starting point the history of post-independence utopia in Senegal, The School of Mutants invites us to speculate on alternative futures through engaging with experimental pedagogical utopias.

Collective works by The School of Mutants have been presented internationally in biennales and institutions such as at 14th Dakar Biennale; 4th Autostrada Biennale; 12th Berlin Biennale; Centre Pompidou Metz; 35th Ljubjana Biennale; 14th Kaunas Biennale; Het Nieuwe Instituut; 12th Taipei Biennial; 7th Oslo Triennale; Fondation Luma; Le Lieu Unique; CIAP Vassivière; Sheffield DocFest.

The School of Mutants has had residencies at RAW Material Company, Kër Thiossane, Art Explora–Cité Internationale des Arts, Bamboo Curtain Studio. It has received fellowships and awards by Norval Sovereign African Art Prize, Het Nieuwe Instituut, MGLC/Ljubjana Biennale of Graphic Arts.

All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other is curated by Marianna Tsionki and is supported by Leeds Arts University. 

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Blenheim Walk Gallery at Leeds Arts University
February 9, 2024

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