Crumbling Through Powdery Air

Exhibition and publication – supported by the TURN Fund

Ausstellungsdesign, Crumbling Through Powdery Air (c) Portikus


In her exhibition “Crumbling Through Powdery Air”, Otobong Nkanga (*1974 in Kano, Nigeria) probed and reflected on the multifaceted historic and contemporary phenomena related to the extraction and production of sparkling substances, and thereby highlighted the ambivalent connotations of brilliance and radiance.

Nkanga’s works often focus on the value and consumption of natural resources. She allows cultural artefacts to tell their own stories – often tragic tales of exploitation and social injustice. For the exhibition at the Portikus in Frankfurt, she investigated the cultural history of the minerals mica (contained in practically every cosmetic product), azurite and malachite, all of which are mined in Namibia. In spring 2015, Nkanga travelled to the “Green Hill” site in Namibia to document the ruined landscapes left behind by the mining operations. Using video footage, drawings and photos of her trip, Nkanga developed videos, performances, sculptures and installations. The central question in all of these: Can a hole in the ground be a monument?

As a guest professor of the Städelschule, Otobong Nkanga allowed her art students to participate in developing the exhibition.

The Portikus has published a monograph on Nkanga in cooperation with the Cape Town-based magazine “Chimurenga”.

Artistic directors: Philippe Pirotte (BE), Fabian Schöneich (DE)
Participants: Otobong Nkanga (NG) and students of the Städelschule

Opening: 15.7.2015, 8 pm

TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund



Alte Brücke 2/Maininsel

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