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Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. Photo: Alexander Steffens.
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. Photo: Alexander Steffens.

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung to Curate 2020 Edition of Sonsbeek

Independent curator and biotechnologist Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, the founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, has been appointed artistic director of the twelfth edition of the Netherlands’ Sonsbeek, which will take place in and around Arnhem from June 5 to September 13, 2020.

Sonsbeek held its inaugural edition in 1949 as part of an effort to help Arnhem recover from the heavy damages the city sustained during World War II. It was modeled, in part, after the 1948 open-air exhibition in Battersea Park, London. The show showcased art throughout its namesake, Sonsbeek Park, and was a success; it drew 125,000 people.

After its first edition, Sonsbeek functioned as a triennial until 1958 and was then staged intermittently over the years. It was held in 1966, 1971, 1986, 1993, 2001, 2008, and 2016, when it became a quadrennial. Its previous editions have been curated by the likes of Wim Beeren, Saskia Bos, Valery Smith, Jan Hoet, Anna Tilroe, and ruangrupa.

Ndikung has served as curator-at-large of Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, and as guest curator of the 2018 Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal. Together with the Miracle Workers Collective, he will curate the Finland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019.

Ndikung’s recent curatorial projects include “Geographies of Imagination: Dis-Othering as A Method (2018) and “Whose Land have I Lit on Now? Contemplations on the Notions of Hostipitality” (2018) at SAVVY Contemporary, as well as “The Conundrum of Imagination” (2017) at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. Currently, Ndikung is a guest professor of curatorial studies and sound art at the Städelschule in Frankfurt.

Commenting on the appointment, Charles Esche, a member of the board and the international selection committee, said: “Ndikung often takes a surprising approach to curating, incorporating sound, performative and discursive frames into his projects. What makes his work special, is that he does not approach an exhibition scientifically, but much more as poetry and rhyme. He compares his working method as a curator to a musical jam session. . . . The board looks forward to what promises to be an exciting sonsbeek 2020 that does justice to the rich and significant history of the exhibition.”