THIS TOO SHALL PASS
July 9–October 3, 2021
An in situ installation in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Dreikönigskirche / Main / Fried-Lübbecke-Anlage.
What does singing together mean in our society, especially in a pandemic and crisis-ridden world where music and art per se have long been silenced? This summer Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh is transforming Frankfurt’s city centre into a soundscape on water and on land. At the centre of his three-part multichannel sound installation THIS TOO SHALL PASS, which stretches from a yard near the city hall Römer across a raft-like boat on the Main to the Dreikönigskirche, is a newly composed hymn of the same name. Dedicated to the city and the year 2020, sung by choirs in Lagos and Frankfurt and woven into fabrics based on a centuries-old Igbo craft. Fixed sacred and profane places and the river as a flowing, collective city memory thereby expand into an overarching cosmopolitan space. Now and then the sound sculpture sails from one waterlock on the Main to the other and gently proclaims the anthem and its message—“THIS TOO SHALL PASS”—as a beacon of hope to the audience on the riverbanks and on the bridges. The polyphonic choral singing resounds from the fabric-covered speakers on the raft. Emeka Ogboh confronts current thinking about the migration of people and their cultural assets, about equality, participation and identity with the principle of cultural appropriation as a way of overcoming borders. The artist plays with languages and codes, using different media and modes of expression. Through sensory experiences such as hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and feeling, Emeka Ogboh opens up cultural memory spaces. In his artworks, cooking and DJ performances, these memory spaces are sampled according to musical principles, their origins intertwined. At times, Emeka Ogboh draws on art-historical imagery, while ultimately creating his own unique concepts. The political and human question of how we want to live together in the future stands above it all.
Emeka Ogboh’s most extensive in situ work in Europe to date was commissioned by the EKHN Stiftung in cooperation with the Kulturfonds RheinMain and made possible with the help of other sponsors.