Opening, November 15, 2022, 7 pm
Exhibition, November 16 – December 23, 2022
What is the relationship today between the formerly colonized countries of Africa and the so-called Western World? How do economic, political, and last but not least cultural exchanges work, and how are these different levels entangled with one another? Which logics and mechanisms underlie such an interplay? The brand Dead White Men’s Clothes (DWMC) founded by Jojo Gronostay is both an art project and a fashion label, operating at the interface of fashion, fine art, museum, and second-hand clothing store. The sociopolitical questions that the artist poses—concerning neocolonialism, identity, and global economic frameworks—are addressed with a concise formal language that spans photography, sculptures, and performances.
The origin of the label’s name lies in the Ghanaian term “Obroni Wawu”, which can be translated as “Dead White Men’s Clothes”. When the first waves of second-hand clothes arrived from the Global North in Ghana in the 1970s as help aid, locals could not believe that such high-quality clothing could just be given away for free, so they assumed that the previous owner must have died. Since 2017 Jojo Gronostay has been buying used clothing from Kantamanto Market in Accra, the worldwide largest marketplace for second-hand textiles, only to re-introduce them in the Western fashion and art world—in their original context—with minor modifications. DWMC presents its work both at fashion events such as the Paris Fashion Week as well as in galleries and museums. With this cunning system of transfer, Gronostay not only explores the circulation of goods but also the creation of value.