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Bode Gallery presents 'Syncopated Tales', a group exhibition on African Musical Traditions

Nov 23, 2023–Jan 21, 2024 | Bode Gallery

Bode presents Syncopated Tales, a group exhibition of Darin Cooper, Ryan Cosbert, and Emmanuel Massillon, exploring diverse musical traditions of the African Diaspora through various forms of artistic expression, including painting, sculpture, and new media.


Emmanuel Massillon Dog food (Bill Taylor Sample), 2023 | Dog food, acrylic paint resin, photo collage on canvas | 180 x 150 cm
Emmanuel Massillon Dog food (Bill Taylor Sample), 2023 | Dog food, acrylic paint resin, photo collage on canvas | 180 x 150 cm

The focus of the show lies on the power of Black music and its tremendous influence on contemporary art. Part of the presented works have been created at Bode's residency program in Berlin. The exhibition is therefore aimed at reflecting on the intertwined history and future of music, culture, and identity across the African diaspora and beyond.

Darin Cooper provides a unique perspective on the Black culture of the 2000s. His work is imbued with Southern culture's profound contradictions, wrestling with themes of erasure, memory, religion, spirituality and the transformative cultural shifts. Cooper aims to use various materials to create artistic 'portals', connecting viewers to worlds they may not be aware of. Being in Berlin, the artist has been inspired by representatives of the local art scene who work with digital art and printmaking, and immediately transferred his impressions into his own screen prints. Experiencing the city's music scene and club culture, Cooper has come in touch with the familiar hip-hop beats, placed in a different context. That resulted in a series of works reflecting a new reading of African-American music moving across continents, through space and time.


Joining him, Ryan Cosbert delves into a profound musical heritage of the African Diaspora. Cosbert's work operates on multiple levels, representing self-expression, political discourse, and historical narratives. Through bright and seductive abstract paintings the artist outlines the story of the Black music’s evolution. The sound waves and musical vibes which she depicts on the canvas, add the third dimension to the paintings. Furthermore, Cosbert enhances the three-dimensionality effect and creates textured compositions, as her pieces in a grid-like format filled with geometric 'tiles', are layered with physical objects, like sand, seashells, and even microphones.


Emmanuel Massillon integrates painting, photo collage and sculpture to investigate race, identity, and complex history. Massillon's body of work is also inspired by African-American music genres. His Dog Food series represents the civil rights movement during which dogs were unleashed onto Black protestors fighting for their freedom. The main protagonist of the series – the German Shepherd – is not only a powerful symbol of the oppression towards Black people fighting for their rights in the USA, but also used to play a significant role during the criminal past of the Nazi regime. Massillon’s bright neon color palette is, on the one side, a reflection on dark and gloomy appearance of the German capital, but on the other side symbolizes all this chaos, flaming, rebellion and fear, that this dog is subconsciously associated with, connecting US and Europe’s pasts. The artist’s materials range from dog food to found objects, all integrated to create a tactile and vibrant experience for the viewer.


The exhibition presents a convergence of the unique perspectives of three artists, exploring the evolution of the music across the African Diaspora and its interaction with painting, sculpture, and visual arts. Genres from Jazz,Rock, Country, Negro Spirituals, Drill, Hip Hop, Rap, R&B, to Reggae, presented at the show, offer visitors an immersive experience that delves into the rich tapestry of African musical history and its far-reaching influence.


Emmanuel Massillon: Diptych: Dog food (Schreiende Hunde) / Sculpture: Negro Music
Installation Image of Syncopated Tales

The exhibition presents a convergence of the unique perspectives of three artists, exploring the evolution of the music across the African Diaspora and its interaction with painting, sculpture, and visual arts. Genres from Jazz,Rock, Country, Negro Spirituals, Drill, Hip Hop, Rap, R&B, to Reggae, presented at the show, offer visitors an immersive experience that delves into the rich tapestry of African musical history and its far-reaching influence.

 

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Bode Gallery presents 'Syncopated Tales', a group exhibition on African Musical Traditions

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