DAI is absolutely thrilled to share exciting news from Arnhem with you: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung appointed artistic director of ‘sonsbeek 2020’ ! After wonder years 2015 and 2016 with ruangrupa, the Jakarta based colllective in charge of the previous edition, we now look forward to deepen and strengthen our DAI / sonsbeek 2020 affiliations by means of energetic exchanges with Bonaventure and the meaningful movements he will stir, together with local and global art workers and audiences.
Arnhem, 1 February 2019
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (1977, Yaoundé, Cameroon) has been appointed artistic director of sonsbeek 2020. The 12th edition will take place in and around Arnhem from 5th June to 13th September 2020. Ndikung was appointed by unanimous recommendation of an international selection committee. He is a curator, art critic, author and biotechnologist, as well as founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin. He was also curator-at- large of documenta 14.
Charles Esche, member of the board and international selection committee: “The selection committee was very impressed with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung’s proposal for sonsbeek 2020. Ndikung is already known for his innovative, conceptually strong and convincing curatorial practice. He has a proven track record of exhibition making with SAVVY Contemporary, as well as his crucial contribution to the recent documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens. 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. Thus his interest in the sonic as memory, knowledge, a story – both about the past and the present. He wants to make the exhibition experience tangible through space, rhythm, movement and words: a visit as choreography. 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.”
The sonsbeek exhibition was initiated in an effort to help Arnhem recover from the heavy damages the city suffered during the Second World War (The Battle of Arnhem). In 1948 the Arnhem alderman H.M.A Klompé was inspired by the open-air exhibition in Battersea Park, London, which led to the founding of sonsbeek exhibition. Sonsbeek '49 combined art and the lush nature of Sonsbeek park, and by doing so served as a mental salve for the traumatised inhabitants. Sonsbeek '49 exceeded all expectations: 125,000 people visited the park and a triennale was started.
From this first edition in 1949, sonsbeek has contributed to and redefined international contemporary art. As one of the early international art projects after Venice Biennale (1895), Whitney Biennial (1932), and preceding documenta (1955), sonsbeek has always been a pathbreaking exhibition for arts in public spaces. sonsbeek 2020 follows the legacy of iconic editions between 1949 and 2016, curated by the likes of Wim Beeren (1971), Saskia Bos (1986), Valery Smith (1993), Jan Hoet (2001), Anna Tilroe (2008) and ruangrupa (2016). Since 2016, sonsbeek has become a quadrennial exhibition.