Margit Lukács & Persijn Broersen
Miguel Angel Rios
AKINCI is proud to present works by Stephan Balkenhol, Lungiswa Gqunta, Margit Lukács & Persijn Broersen, Sarah Naqvi and Miguel Angel Rios in the group exhibition Terra Incognita.
Appearing for the first time in Ptolemy’s Geografia, the term Terra incognita was used from the rediscovery of the book in the 15th century onwards to describe unknown territories in European maps. In the attempt to understand nature, humankind tries to signify its surroundings and its role within it through the arts, scholarship and sciences. Longing for knowledge, nature is categorised and classified by man, imposing a lens through which it can be understood, however from the viewpoint of the categoriser. Throughout history, this tendency has imposed a hierarchy on nature, land and its inhabitants. How does the way we classify nature influence the way we treat it? Climate and migration crises form a confrontation with a system of manmade borders and a relationship with nature that seems to be shaking to its foundations. Challenged with an ever changing world, old terrains become once again Terra incognita. Can a place we once knew be re-known?
The artists in this exhibition each focus on different aspects of these issues. In his sculptures, carved out of blocks of wood, Stephan Balkenhol was one of the first artists of his generation to reintroduce the human figure into contemporary sculpture. Often depicting archetypes, his work transcends temporality and evokes the question what it means to be human, now, then, and in the future.
Lungiswa Gqunta grapples with the complexities of the South African post-colonial cultural and political landscape through her work. Focusing on creating multi – sensory experiences that attempt to articulate the social imbalances that persist as a legacy of both patriarchal dominance and colonialism, Gqunta exposes different forms of violence and the systemic inequality in South Africa. According to Gqunta, the installation Building Mountains - shown at AKINCI - is celebrating the quiet moments of Black revolt nestled in homes and in the many places our eyes can’t reach. Within her oeuvre, Building Mountains makes part of an ‘ongoing site of excavating different methods of collective healing and resistance’.
The perception of nature and the construction and manipulation of landscape play a prominent role in the work of Margit Lukács and Persijn Broersen. The work 'Fix the Variable, Exclude the Accidental, Eliminate the Impure, Unravel the Tangled, Discover the Unknown' (2021), initially created for the Annex in Centraal Museum Utrecht and now on display at AKINCI, is based on Carolus Linnaeus’ botanical work “Hortus Cliffortianus”(1737), in which he classified the exotic plants imported by Amsterdam based director of the Dutch East India Company George Clifford III (1685-1760). Carolus Linnaeus classified these plants according to his own system. However, he did not necessarily base his classifications on an objective observation of the plants, but on an idealised version. In the video by Broersen & Lukács shown at AKINCI plants come to life as a fierce crowd and threaten to break free from the straitjacket imposed on them.
Sarah Naqvi is an Indian contemporary artist working in Amsterdam. Naqvi’s works which received international recognition, have been described as subversive, and are noted to cover topics such as gender, sexuality, race and religion, while advocating for various social and feminist causes.