Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Literature, 2020

*1990 in Dakar, lives in Paris

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in Senegal and went to college and high school at a military institute. He studied studied literature and philosophy in Paris and focused on postcolonial and de-colonial works and thoughts. He has published three novels so far; all of them question the complexity of some contemporary situations, in various places (terrorism in West Africa; hospitality (or not) towards immigrants in Sicily; homosexuality in Senegal). One could say that those novels focused on a political and social approach. Is current obsession is more with literature: its power, possibilities, failures, secrets. What do (my) people expect from a writer and what do I expect from literature?

Berlin Fellowship

What Matters

Work Presentation 2022

“What Matters” was the question andtatement of 2022 presentation of works by the JUNGE AKADEMIE, the interdisciplinary and international artist-in-residence programme of the Akademie der Künste. In an exhibition and a multifaceted programme including screenings, concerts and readings, 29 fellows from all of the Akademie’s art sections presented sound and video installations, photographs, sculptures, paintings and performances they developed during their studio residencies in the Hansaviertel in Berlin and at Villa Serpentara in Olevano, Italy.

“What Matters” is not to be understood as the title of a thematic exhibition but rather indicates the diversity of questions, perspectives and realities that are interlaced in an artist residency, while emphasising their urgency. The exhibition focused on the artists’ individual approaches that encompass a broad spectrum of themes: from questions about the transformation of societies and their expression in relation to the urban space and landscape, to interrelations between the individual and social systems such as state, religion and the economy, to reflections on body images and conceptions of history, personal archives and the intertwining of nature, technology and culture.

What matters is artistic testimony, poetic resistance and the imagining of sustainable futures in the face of global tipping points – whether climatic or political in nature. Two years into the pandemic and the associated restrictions, “What Matters” was the most comprehensive presentation of works to date by the JUNGE AKADEMIE.

To quote one of the fellows: “What matters? Make them see…”

The Invention of Prophecy


Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts, in einem Serer Dorf im Senegal, erzählte man sich, dass ein Mann einmal eine Prophezeiung über einen seiner Enkel verkündete. Fünfundsiebzig Jahre später versuchte einer dieser Enkel, ein Schriftsteller, die wahre Bedeutung der Geschichte zu ergründen. Vielleicht ist die Prophezeiung wahr, vielleicht wurde sie einfach nie ausgesprochen, oder vielleicht veränderte sie sich im Laufe der Zeit. Doch das ist nicht das Wichtigste. Das Wesentliche daran ist, dass die Vision der Ursprung einer zeitgenössischen poetischen Schöpfung wurde, die Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft, Literatur und Musik, Wahrheit und Mythos in sich vereint. Möglicherweise sind die wahren Prophezeiungen durchweg frei erfunden, was nicht bedeutet, dass sie unwahr sind. Aber um ihre tiefere Botschaft begreifen zu können, müssen wir sie vielleicht (neu) erfinden.

Text: Mohamed Mbougar Sarr

Music: Francisco Alvarado