The nüüd.berlin gallery shows the exhibition Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1) with works by the Berlin-based artist Philip Crawford (*1988, USA). In this exhibition the artist studies the relation between kung-fu culture and practices of self-defensive care in black communities. He asks us to slow down, to relax and breathe deeply, to join his study of these images, and then to do it all again. The exhibition features a series of prints and a related video work.
Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1) explores black American martial arts instruction as a means of radical social, political, and epistemological liberation. Fusing the discipline of the body and education of the mind, various adaptations and appropriations of non-Western self-defense techniques have filtered through black communities in America for centuries. Often linked to religious and political movements, these kinesthetic systems continue to generate new ways of knowing the self. While Philip Crawford’s work draws most iconically from the popular sounds and images of 1980s kung fu culture, his research also considers the earlier roots of black American martial artistry and unarmed self-defense linked to slave uprisings, religious communities, military service, solidarity with global anti-imperialist movements, and the rise of Black Power.
Central to Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1) is an appropriated and reanimated sequence from a martial arts instructional video (“Self Defense Made Easy,” 1989, Century Film Studios, New York).
Philip Crawford: Self Defense Made Easy (No. 1)
28 April to 10 June 2023
Open: Thu–Sat, 13–19 h
nüüd.berlin gallery, Kronenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin
Artist Talk: 13 May 2023, 4 PM