Exodus Stations #2

Research into Iwalewahaus' Visual Archive:
The Ulli Beier Estate Archive

May – November 2017 Iwalewahaus, University of Bayreuth

The Iwalewahaus Collection is constituted by works of modern and contemporary arts and crafts, collected firstly by Ulli Beier – the founder of the institution – and than  by its following directors. The collection and Iwalewahaus Institution were  from their founding in 1981 part of the University of Bayreuth and were connected to research and new production. The archive understands itself as a living organism, that is supposed to be progressively enriched with new material – new aquisitions and new commissions of artistic material.  The basis was set by the private collections of Ulli Beier, which have a focus point in Nigeria, but contain also material from other areas of interest of Ulli Beier:  Sudan, Mosambique, Tansania, DR Kongo, Haiti, India, Papua-Newguinea and Australia.

The collection contains contemporary art and graphics, but also music and video archives, an archive of posters and ethnographic collections (including textiles).

During the EXODUS STATIONS project we have regarded de collection not from the point of view of the objects included, but – as in the other EXODUS STATIONS projects – from the point of view oftheir representation in photography and video. Starting with images depicting Ulli Beier himself in Nigeria in the context of his promoted arts and crafts, we  have analysed also images shot by him and corroborated these with written sources about him or literature that he himself authored. At the same time, we have analysed  the way in which he has organised his archive,  uncovering issues of the mentality of his time, his own point of interest and institutional discourse.

The images below are extracted from the Ulli Beier personal collection:  Ulli Beier Estate, Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth and Center for Black Culture and Understanding (CBCIU). The Ulli Beier Estate is currently digitalized, progressively classified and researched upon. A big part of material included in this archive is still not identified  and researched upon and the information is scarce.
The two artists Tatiana Macedo and Raphael Denis were invited to work with this visual (rather than objectual) material: whereas  Raphael Denis concentrated on the  personal imagery of Beier as it is deducable from his own photographic collection, Tatiana Macedo was  rather interested in the music archive, its visuals aspects and the  general cultural context it evokes.

All images credit:

Ulli Beier Estate, Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth and Center for Black Culture and Understanding (CBCIU)

Ulli Beier Collections, University of IFE NIGERIA, around 1960