It is rare to come across a reference to Sai Island in my everyday life in Bergen, unless this happens in the frame of my own research. Yesterday, however, one of these rare instances took place, where someone else brought something from Sai to Bergen! It was the well-known image of Jebel Abri from the island of Sai that has accompanied all the days of everybody’s visit to the island.
The image is in fact one of the video installations in the exhibition of “Sudan Photographs” by Claude Iverné, which opened at Bergen Kjøtt yesterday. With the curatorial help of Pia Viewing, Bergen Kjøtt in collaboration with BIT Teatergarasjen and contributions from the University of Bergen, became an excellent house for Claude’s descriptions of Sudan and Sudanese.
The exhibition is titled “About Description” and on the poster these two words are arranged above the name of “Claude Iverné”, giving the impression that what we will encounter is “About Claude” and “Description (by) Iverné”.
And indeed, it is rarely that what Claude’s eyes have seen and his cameras have captured transform from most personal in-sights into universalising (essentialising?) “descriptions about” the object(s) depicted. This is why it is a marvellous idea not to accompany the photos by legends – the five volumes produced until now of “Sudan Photographs” offer more than enough food for thought – and this is (one of the reasons) why “About Description” is such an inviting art event.
Claude promised to allow graffiti in Arabic to be written on the wall surfaces around his photos by those versed in the language – I promised him to write something in Nubian in the alphabetic script – and if these things happen indeed, I promise also to share my writing in writing here soon…
…but there will be more Sudan in Bergen before that, so stay tuned!