OF MIMICRY (An Assimilation Effort)

2 Fotos 205 cm x 110 cm (lebensgroß)

aktion: faux lion,  Dakar, 2008

An attempt to confront two stereotypes.

(...) by picking up and overdoing mainly racist clichés of heterogeneity and strangeness and by focusing on himself as being different, Philip Metz confronts his audience with their own automated prejudice.

“Of mimicry: An Assimilation Effort“ confronts the stereotype of the European conception of the African, with the average appearance of the locals of Dakar. The two large-scale photographs are the results of a multi-day performance in the capital of Senegal where the artist was subject to a metamorphosis. He was advised of the local attire by the local textiles sellers. The universal image of a violent and racist foreigner – emblematized by a costume bought in Germany – slowly turned into a character close to the self-perception of the people of Dakar. A comparison of those two collective principles implies a significant challenge of the assumed general applicability of dominant stereotypes. (...)

The confrontation with his personal situation as an African German in Africa and his Diaspora, which characterizes many of Philip Metz' works allows a complex view on the cultural details and the associations they evoke in their various contexts. For instance, “Ektoplasma tropical”, a work also created in Dakar, questions the Western idea of spirituality in Africa using the interaction of printed fabric, texture, and partially blurred painted faces to rouse imaginations of magic, trance, and dangerousness. The consructedness of the attributes picked by the artist becomes exposed when it turns out that they lose their meaning in exactly those contexts they are attributed to.

Philip Metz’ works are not educational memorials or cenotaphs but an appraisal of his own perception and of his environment.

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Installation view: Capetown City Hall,



Photos: Mamadou Gomis