The Body and Us

Body Politics

Friday 21 October, starting at 11 a.m.
Kunsthafen im Rhenania
Bayenstraße 28, 50678 Köln

© Lebohang Kganye


Controversial debates on gender politics, discourses on the (post)colonial legacy in cultural institutions and society, artistic and scientific contributions on gender fluidity and queerness: what these highly complex and diverse topics have in common is that they place the body at the centre of their debates. Artistic photography takes up these themes and the body is questioned, constructed and postulated in its political, sexual or cultural identity. In doing so, the medium of photography benefits from the power of an instrument of emancipation, which in the past not only depicted people or bodies, but also discriminated and categorized them.


Moderated by:

Magnus Elias Rosengarten

Magnus Elias Rosengarten is primarily an author and curator. He has worked and written for C& Magazine, Artforum, the Berlin Biennale and the Gropius Bau in Berlin, among others. His content focuses on the often complex relationship between body and space in contemporary art. Central questions of his work are: What spaces define some bodies as a political issue and not others? Who has the power to define those bodies and what realities are produced as a result? Magnus Elias Rosengarten studied American Studies and Regional Studies Asia/Africa at the Humboldt University in Berlin and earned his Master's degree in Performance Studies at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Dialogue 1:

There will be questioning of narrative dynamics of colonial visibility politics, which understand and use the body as a venue, tool and vehicle of cultural, political, economic and sexual struggles. Contemporary image production will be confronted with the fragile states of personal and collective memory, society, and the photographic medium in order to discuss future-oriented body politics.

Lucia Halder

Lucia Halder

Lucia Halder has been head of the Photographic Collection of the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Cologne since 2015. After studying history and art history, she worked as a research assistant at the House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany and as a freelance exhibition organizer, among other positions. She is chair of the History and Archives Section of the German Photographic Society.

Sophie-Charlotte Opitz

Sophie-Charlotte Opitz

Sophie-Charlotte Opitz holds a PhD in art and media studies and is the artistic director of the Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden. During fellowships from the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, among others, and as collection manager of The Walther Collection, she has realized exhibitions internationally. Her research interests include global image hegemonies and visual cultures of memory.

Lebohang Kganye

Lebohang Kganye

Lebohang Kganye is a visual artist and photographer from Johannesburg. She received a Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg in 2014 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts at Witwatersrand University in South Africa. Kganye often combines the archival and the performative with a practice that focuses on storytelling and memory as it plays out in the familial experience. Even as her work reflects a particular South African experience, she critically engages with oral traditions as specific forms and memories as tangible source materials. In 2022, she is one of three contemporary artists to representing South Africa at the Venice Biennale. 

Dialogue 2:

In addition to the perpetuation of discriminatory attributions, cultural symbolism and visual stereotypes, bodies marked 'as different' and voids in the narratives are to be placed at the center of the dialogue. To what extent can practices such as collage and layering function as artistic strategies for dealing with identity and belonging?

Doris Gassert

Doris Gassert

Doris Gassert holds a PhD in media studies and works as a research curator at Fotomuseum Winterthur, where she helps shape the museum's post-photographic orientation, among other things. Her research interests include contemporary photographic discourses and practices, the networked image, politics of representation, and strategies of decolonization. She curated the exhibition on Frida Orupabo (2022), among others.

Donja Nasseri

The artist Donja Nasseri studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Gregor Schneider, the Kunstakademie Münster with Mariana Castillo Deball and the TU Dortmund. In her multidisciplinary way of working she deals with artistic strategies in dealing with cultural identities, gender diversity and body images, without making this (the body) explicitly the centre of the depicted.

Dialogue 3:

The encounter of gender and photography, in front or behind the camera lens, contributed to the establishment of power structures and emancipation movements. Invisibility and erasure were artistic strategies in this process. How, then, to write a feminist, queer and decolonial history of photography?

Delphine Bedel

Delphine Bedel (she/her) is a feminist curator, lecturer, artist, and director of Meta/books. The focus of her work is gender and photography, media and publishing. A longtime advocate of a more inclusive environment in the arts, she works with leading cultural institutions, museums, photography festivals, and art and design academies. She cofounded The Roadmap for Equality in the Arts and Engagement Arts NL. She writes for books and magazines.

Antonio Cataldo

Antonio Cataldo is a writer, curator, and the Artistic Director of Fotogalleriet, the Nordic countries’ oldest kunsthalle dedicated solely to photography as a critical artistic practice. His PhD dissertation, Curating Labour. Gender and Dispossession in the Exhibition Space will be published as a book by OnCurating, Zurich.

Miki Gebrelul

Miki Gebrelul is a producer, activist, and Head of Exhibitions at Fotogalleriet, an independent and publicly-funded institution and the oldest kunsthalle for photography in the Nordic region. Gebrelul is pursuing an MA in Gender Studies at UiO, University of Oslo.