Kiluanji Kia Henda

The Sound Is the Monument

Østre Skostredet 2, 5017 Bergen Map


21 of May at 18:00 Sandra Poulson Lecture Performance

26th of May at 16:00 at Østre, Donna Kukama Performance

26 of May at 17:00 Exhibition opening Kiluanji Kia Henda

26 of May at 17:00–19:00 Join us for an opening drink and bar across the street at Østre

Open call: 30th and 31st of May from 10:00–12:00 and 17:00–20:00 Recording of people in Bergen singing the G-note

Opening hours of the exhibition in the studio:

Tuesday-Friday 13:00–17:00

Saturday-Sunday 12:00–18:00

Monday 6th of June 12:00–18:00

6th–12th of June:

Temporary outdoor monument nearby Festplassen and KODE 2, Rasmus Meyers alle. With the voices of the people in Bergen singing every day from 12:00–17:00

The Sound Is the Monument is a project that consists of an open studio, performances, presentations, exhibition and a sound piece and sculpture in public space. For the project Kiluanji Kia Henda has invited two artists, Donna Kukama and Sandra Poulson, who will both present new lecture performances.

Monuments are a recurring element in the work of Kiluanji Kia Henda, influenced by the many empty pedestals he encountered during Angola’s civil war period. Colonial statues had been removed, and for long periods the pedestals reflected a void regarding a public reckoning with the country’s history. In the past, the artist has invited and documented performers occupying empty pedestals, narrated the trajectory of one single pedestal in Luanda that hosted five different statues, and led a ceremony for a symbolic decapitation of a king in the city of Lisbon. According to Kia Henda, “every city should have empty pedestals that could be customized regarding our passions, instead of having representations in cold stone of dead people that no one really cares about today and most of them are connected with wars or political power.”

This time round, The Sound Is the Monument. The first iteration of a series where the pedestals and the sounds will undergo variations is developed in Bergen. Monument in G Major transforms a geometric plinth from a potential pedestal into an acoustic box, in tune with a scale usually perceived as lighthearted and brilliant. Dozens of people in Bergen, will be invited to sing the G note (sol) once, in the octave they feel most comfortable in, until they run out of breath. The recorded voices will then be mixed and the resulting sound installed inside the pedestal, creating an audible frequency that is in itself the invisible monument. In Portuguese, Spanish and Norwegian, “sol” means sun, the star that rises for everyone. Kia Henda´s temporary outdoor monument is as inclusive and democratic as possible, while generating a meditative space around it devoted to the contemplation of the ways in which hegemonic narratives are crystallized in public space.

Kia Henda’s temporary outdoor monument The Sound Is the Monument performs a simplicity that is in stark contrast with the complexities of historical legacies. His acoustic gesture is made of breaths as deep as the lungs could hold, each one unique, each one worthy of being listened to—an optimistic choir of common people.

Kiluanji Kia Henda, "Iconoclastic Sound System" (The Sound Is the Monument series), digital collage, inkjet print on matt paper, 2022 (detail). Courtesy of the artist

Kiluanji Kia Henda

Kiluanji Kia Henda lives and works between Luanda and Lisbon. Situated within an expanded, multidisciplinary field, his work is anchored in photography and video, while also including sculptural installations, performance, and sound. As a conceptual artist, he articulates the complex questions that need to be asked today, bringing the many unresolved issues from the past to our urgent attention in the present. Having grown up in a war-torn Angola, his work often addresses issues related to the aftermath of war, the globalized, imperialist world, and the processes of constructing political narratives. Kia Henda is interested in collective memory, shared spaces such as urban public space, and thinking about the ways in which different cultural backgrounds influence and integrate these various temporal, physical, and psychological gaps. He is co-founder of Fuckin’ Globo, a yearly event since 2015 in Luanda and its leading independent platform for artistic and intellectual discourse.

Recent solo exhibitions include among others A Healing Path for Phantom Pain, Goodman Gallery, London (2022); The Isle of Venus, Murate Art District, Florence (2021); Something Happened on the Way to Heaven, Museu de Arte de Nuoro (MAN), Sardinia, and Galeria Avenida da Índia, Galerias Municipais, Lisboa (2020); The Isle of Venus, MLeuven Museum, Leuven (2020); Resetting Birds Memories/Red Light Square, O Instituto, Oporto (2020) and Concreto Blues, Jahmek - Contemporary Art, Luanda (2019).

He has participated in numerous international group exhibitions among them Foto Museum, Antwerp (2021); Matadero, Madrid (2021); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2021); Centre George Pompidou, Paris (2020); Migros Museum, Zurich (2020); Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakesh (2020); STUK Art Center, Leuven (2019); Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco (2019); Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2019); Lubumbashi Biennale (2019); Busan Biennial (2018); 12th Gwangju Biennial (2018); Seattle Art Museum (2018); Te Tuhi Art Center, Auckland (2018); 2nd Yinchuan Biennial – Museum of Contemporary Art (2018); Studio Museum of Harlem, New York (2018); MAXXI, Rome (2018); Tate Liverpool, permanent exhibition (2017); Prospect 4 – New Orleans Triennial (2017); National Museum of Nairobi (2017) and SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin (2016).

He is the winner of the 2nd 1:54 Sculpture commission at Sommerset House, supported by Kame Lazaar Foundation, Tunis and London (2019); winner of the Frieze Artist Award 2017, London; selected for 100 Leading Global Thinkers, Foreign Politics (2014); winner of the National Prize of Art and Culture 2012, awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Luanda; nominated for the Paul Huff Award 2011 and 2013 awarded by the Photography Museum of Amsterdam (FOAM); nominated for the BES Photo Prize 2011, Lisbon.

He has lectured worldwide, amongst others at On Focus: Comunal Knowledge at Large (in conversation with Elvira Dyangani Ose), 1:54 Forum, Marrakesh; Museum of Leuven; Culturgest, Lisboa; Serralves Museum, Porto; Columbia University, New York; New York University Villa la Pietra's campus, Florence; Art Center, Nottingham; University of Warwick Wolfson, Coventry; Museum Quai Branly; Tate Modern, London; Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia.

The text on the project is written by Ana Sophie Salazar

Poster, flyer: NODE Berlin Oslo

Prints: OK Kontor

Sound design: Emilie Wright

Carpenter: Odin Austefjord

The project is commissioned by Volt and has received funding by The Fritt Ord Foundation and Bergen City Council. Volt’s programme for 2022 is supported by Bergen City Council, Arts Council Norway and Vestland County Council.

Poster design: NODE Berlin Oslo

All projects →