press release

"Alabama" is the inaugural exhibition at Office Baroque Gallery in Antwerp. It is based on a John Coltrane composition from 1963. The exhibition is intimate and personal with works of some 11 artists, yet it conjures a collective environment that is able to belong to a broader cultural imaginary. Coltrane's "Alabama" is inspired by dramatic events. It refers to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. Coltrane patterned his saxophone play on the intonation and rhythm of Martin Luther King's funeral speech honoring the victims, four African-American girls aged between 11 and 14.

"Alabama" as an exhibition is articulated inductively and intuitively. The exhibition offers an approximation of how art responds to traumatic cultural events. It takes the conceptual simplicity of Coltrane's Alabama as an example for the construction of a mental space where mimesis and representation make their appearance in new and unexpected ways. "Alabama" sets out to engage in a critical analysis of new cultural imaginations that de- and reconstruct our fetishist approach to disaster, memory and the self. The original version of "Alabama" is included in the soundtrack of the Malcolm X motion picture. A video of Coltrane performing Alabama can be found here.

only in german


mit Gerard Byrne, Jamal Cyrus, Jeremiah Day, Ivan Grubanov, Leslie Hewitt / Matt Keegan, Christopher Knowles, Rosalind Nashashibi, Rob Pruitt, Michael Queenland, Lucy Skaer / Rosalind Nashashibi