Exhibition 17 March 2017 - 05 June 2017

The Lightest Shade of Aflatoon

Opening night: March 16, 7:00 pm

With the exhibition The Lightest Shade of Aflatoon Schwules Museum* focusses on the perspective of queer refugees for the first time. The exhibition is part of the project “What's Your Story?” supported by Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung Berlin in cooperation with the Queere Unterkunft Treptow (Queer Shelter Treptow) and Jugend im Museum e. V. (Youth at the Museum). The project started in August 2016.

In the beginning there was the idea of a three-monthlong comic workshop with the residents of 'Queere Unterkunft Treptow' and using this workshop to show their stories of escape and the expectations for the future in an artistic way. Graphic skills were either taught or enlarged. In the second part the participants co-curated an exhibition with professional curators. Through the co-curating the participants could gain insights into the practice of a museum and embed their visions and expactations for the future into a more general queer narrative. The exhibition was to be put together by them and also being used as a social place to communicate their story and for mutual networking. During the duration of the project it turned out that the primarily idea of the projects was not completely realizable.

This idea of the project was severely undermined by the obligation of residency. This asylum legislation lead up to some residents of the LGBTI housing – a group that is affected by multiple discrimination – having to leave Berlin, its relatively big queer scene and the Queere Unterkunft. In a place where they were hoping for more safety, it was not possible because of the obligation of residency to choose where one can live and establish a new life. On the other hand we have to self-critically admit that we did not fully consider the specific needs of the participants during the early planning phases of the project. We should have included them more in all stages of the project as absolutely equal partners, planning the project with them and not for them.

The two curators, zoya. and Hasan Aksaygin, accompanied the participants from the comic workshop to the actual planning and realization of the exhibition. Both are professional curators, active in the queer migrant scene in Berlin. They were able to persuade other participants with a refugee background from outside the shelter in Treptow to participate in the project – artists from Syria, Uganda, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt and Sudan. All of them will be showing their works. Together with the original group of refugees, they have created the exhibition The Lightest Shade of Aflatoon and showing works of Murtaza (in collaboration with  Reza), Michael Daoud, Keith King (in collaboration with Austin Drake Bryan), Ahmed Isam Aldin, Hussam, Petra Gall and Raja Shamam.

 

Inspiration

A pure and sublime white meets a rich and vibrant purple to create this unique blend.

Aflatoon |ˈafˈlāˈto͞on | Plato, as spoken in languages across North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle-East. In some of those languages, also the name for purple—a tribute to the philosopher who referred to the hue as "the most beautiful colour." [1]  In the English language, the most everyday use of this philosopher is to evoke non-sexual intimacies—the platonic friendship.

The foundational figure of Western philosophy who gave us the world of Forms blossoms to provide etymological roots to everyday language in the East. At once the conventionalization and the poeticization of rigorous, systematic thought.

Colour Personality

See how the pure and unworldly Plato encounters the majestic and sensual Aflatoon.

The white cube: the quintessential space from which to study form and aesthetics. An entry point to Plato's world of Ideas—a transcendental or "ideal space, where the surrounding matrix of space-time is symbolically annulled." [2]  Painted by the cleanest of pigments to efface the pettiness of history and context—to help the gaze detach itself from the subject.

Purple: once upon a time, it was the most expensive and extravagant of colours, used primarily by Royalty. Emperor Otto II, for example, presented Empress Theophanu with a purple-dyed marriage certificate promising an extensive dowry[3].  Today, following the Women’s Suffrage and Political Union movements in England, purple has become the colour of feminism, symbolizing loyalty and hope. A lighter shade—lavender—has come to be associated with lesbianism.

Space Character

A loud and queering purple throws shade upon the gallery walls. A fathomless white responds by ingesting the purple, appropriating it into itself as the institution tends to. But where does one hue end and the other begin? The line separating the pigments becomes as obscured as the power relations within their encounter, as they blend to create a beautiful backdrop for a most delightful viewing experience.


[1] Plato, Der Staat, Übers. v. Otto Apelt (Reclam, Leipzig, 1978), 175.

[2] Brian O'Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of Gallery Space (The Lapis Press, San Francisco 1976), 8.

[3] Alpina, FarbFamilie Violett: No. 17 Farbe Der Könige.