Kunst Raum Niederösterreich

Ask Yo Mama 30 09 2011 - 10 12 2011

  © Eva Würdinger

Ihu Anyanwu aka G.RIZO, Anna Zwingl, Ina Wudtke, Sangam Sharma, Constanze Schweiger, Yvette Mattern, Sonia Boyce

The title of the exhibition Ask Yo Mama relates to the Afro-Atlantic tradition of signifying, rap and storytelling.

While classic jazz songs such as “Signifying Monkey” by Oscar Brown Junior, hip-hop tracks such as Utfo’s “Ask Yo Mama”, the American trash-talking game “dirty dozen” or the numerous Yo Mama jokes use the “mother” figure just as an instrument of an artistic verbal fight to insult and psychologically undermine the opponent, the exhibition project Ask Yo Mama turns the insolent pattern of rap and scat inside out: it takes the words literally and consciously focuses on female artists, who present their version of the story in the form of an artistic work that relates to “black sound”.

Ask Yo Mama is a “post black” exhibition and follows a series of exhibitions from the US (One Planet Under a Groove, Black Light White Noise, Freestyle etc). Above all Thelma Golden, the curator of the Harlem Studio Museum and former curator of the Whitney Museum, coined the term “post black”, which describes the shifting from body to an aesthetic sensibility. Thus the choice of artists for Ask Yo Mama makes it clear that it is about a language we speak, that has its beginnings in the tradition of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora. Since the 1990s at the latest (actually since as early as the 1920s, with Charleston, blues and swing) this language became the language of a whole generation who grew up with the Afro-Atlantic DJ culture such as hip hop, dubstep, techno, house, electro etc.

Curated by: Ina Wudtke