Agassiz (All) Over by Sasha Huber
January 10, 2020 16:00
March 01, 2020 17:00
From 16-18 on 10 January 2020, Galleri Image hosted the opening of visual artist Sasha Huber’s first solo exhibition in Denmark. The artist was present and a representative from the Finnish Cultural Institute in Denmark opened the exhibition.
On 11 January at 14, Galleri Image hosted an artist talk with Sasha Huber.
AGASSIZ (ALL) OVER by Sasha Huber is an exhibition presenting a selection of her artistic contributions to the long-term project and activist campaign “Demounting Louis Agassiz” (which was founded by historian and activist Hans Fässler in 2007). The project’s goal has been to challenge the ongoing celebration of Swiss-born naturalist and glaciologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) – an influential racist and pioneering thinker of apartheid. The perception of him has since changed considerably due to the efforts of the campaign.
The focal point of AGASSIZ (ALL) OVER is the video piece KARAKIA - the resetting ceremony, in which Sasha Huber, accompanied by greenstone carver Mr. Jeff Mahuika (Kāti Māhaki, Poutini Kāi Tahu), unnames an Aotearoa New Zealand glacier, which had previously been named after Louis Agassiz. This “unnaming” is reminiscent of one of the first actions of protest in the campaign, which revolved around the renaming of Agassizhorn, a mountain top in the Swiss alps, to Rentyhorn. The name-change was in honour of Renty, an enslaved man from Congo, who Agassiz commissioned the photographer Joseph T. Zealy to photograph in 1850, and the new name was emblematic of the silent and anonymous victims of racism.
The exhibition also includes the fictional lecture My racism is a humanism written by Hans Barth, Agassiz scholar and "Demounting Louis Agassiz" committee member. The lecture is performed by the actor Thomas Götz as Agassiz, who attempts to vindicate himself and his theories.
Alongside the two videos, AGASSIZ (ALL) OVER features three series, each of which dismantle Agassiz and his legacy in their own way: The Mixed Traces, Evidence and Agassiz Down Under. These works bear witness to the historical base, and to its continuing resonance within the landscape and within visual practices that survey and violate the colonised body.
Sasha Huber has worked with the “Demounting Louis Agassiz” campaign since 2008 in several countries such as Switzerland, Brazil, Scotland, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and USA where she has used her voice and body to mediate the ways in which the historic narrative was lacking.
About the artist:
Sasha Huber (CH/FI) is a visual artist of Swiss-Haitian heritage, born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1975. She is currently based in Helsinki, Finland and holds an MA from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki (presently University of Arts). Huber's work is primarily concerned with the politics of memory and belonging, particularly in relation to colonial residue left in the environment. She is occupied with the underlying subtle threads that connect the past with the present and works with performance-based interventions, videos, photography, archival materials, collaborations and publications. Huber has had solo exhibitions at the Hasselblad Foundation Project Room in Gothenburg, and has participated in numerous international art festivals such as the 29th Biennial of São Paulo in 2010, the 19th Biennale of Sydney in 2014 and the 56th la Biennale di Venezia in 2015 (collateral exhibition: Frontier Reimagined). In 2018, Huber received the State Art Award in the category visual arts given by the Arts Promotion Centre, Finland. Presently, Huber is undertaking practice-based PhD studies at the Department of Art and Media at the Zurich University of the Arts.
The exhibition is supported by The Danish Arts Foundation, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and The Finnish Cultural Institute in Denmark.
Image: Sasha Huber, KARAKIA The Resetting Ceremony, video 4:30 min, Still photo by Tom Hoyle, 2015