Living With Ghosts

8 Jul-5 Aug 2022
PV 7 Jul 2022, 6-8pm


Pace Gallery is delighted to announce Living With Ghosts, a group exhibition guest curated by writer, critic, and curator, Kojo Abudu. Abudu brings together nine pioneering artists whose work explores the ways the unresolved traumas of Africa’s colonial past, and its unfulfilled project of decolonisation, continue to haunt the present global order.

Living With Ghosts is an expanded iteration of Abudu’s ongoing exhibition project, first staged at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University in New York. Each of the artists included in the exhibition are united by their formal, historiographic, and poetic interrogations of the enduring power structures birthed by the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, and imperialism, and equally consider the myriad resistances and refusals formed in response to these very structures. Living With Ghosts at once evokes the structural continuities of these African colonial histories into the present day, while also offering a transformative space for envisioning alternative and more just decolonial futures.

Spanning a diverse array of media, from video and installation to works on paper and sculpture, Living With Ghosts features work by Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Torkwase Dyson, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Bouchra Khalili, Abraham Oghobase, Cameron Rowland, and Tako Taal. Taking inspiration from Achille Mbembe’s theorising on the African “postcolony,” Jacques Derrida’s notion of “hauntology,” and Sylvia Wynter’s work on the “coloniality of being,” Living with Ghosts critically attends to the ghosts, spirits, and phantoms that abound in the modern calamities of Africa’s historical becoming, from the fifteenth century to the present day.

These “ghosts” are the unseen but deeply felt forces – at once dead and alive, visible and invisible, past and present, future and past – that continually disturb individual and collective relations within the African postcolony and throughout the world, leaving behind melancholic traces in archival materials, architecture, landscapes, and subjectivities. Heeding Derrida’s provocation in Specters of Marx (1994), as well as insights from various African indigenous thought systems, this exhibition foregrounds the ethical and political urgency of feeding, communing, and living with these ghosts rather than disavowing, burying, or exorcising them.

By centring contemporary art practice in spectral considerations of violent pasts that continue to linger and of liberatory futures that continue to haunt, Abudu frames the exhibition’s concepts along several axes, from the spatial and the temporal, to the psychological and the spiritual.

Living With Ghosts also includes a lecture series and a reader publication, both of which provide complementary critical perspectives on the exhibition’s overarching concerns with coloniality, decoloniality, and hauntology. For more information, please visit the Pace website here.

Kojo Abudu is a critic and curator based between London, Lagos, and New York. Informed by decolonial theory, queer theory, African philosophy and Black radical thought, his writings and exhibitions focus on critical art and aesthetic practices from the Global South (particularly Africa and its diasporas) that respond to the world- historical conditions produced by colonial modernity. Kojo holds an MA in Modern & Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies from Columbia University, and a BA from Duke University where he studied philosophy and political science. The first iteration of his ongoing curatorial project, Living With Ghosts, recently opened at the Wallach Art Gallery, New York, in March, 2022. Kojo is a 2022-23 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program and will be curating a pavilion-bound exhibition, Traces of Ecstasy, for the fourth edition of the Lagos Biennial in 2023.


Living With Ghosts | Press Release

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