Sumac Space launched in October 2020 as a non-profit platform presenting contemporary art from the Middle East* through hybrid programs, critical writing and research. Devoted to the Middle East and its thriving contemporary art scenes, we work with artists and curators, who address contemporary urgencies in the context of the challenging social and political circumstances of the region. Seeking new ways of experiencing art through digital modalities, Sumac Space experiments with rethinking the existing forms of art presentation and looks for meaningful uses of digital communication to meet, to relate, to be together.
Alongside exploring our programs, such as online and in-situ Exhibitions, Sumac Space invites viewers to explore its digitally-accessible Artists’ Rooms and Dialogues.
Artists’ Rooms are digital architectures curated entirely by artists themselves that enable audiences to delve into each creative’s thinking process and research, beyond actual artworks. We believe that art practice is so much more than final works and therefore our aim is to disclose what is formative and proliferates artists’ practice on different levels. If Artists’ Rooms is primarily a space for viewing and contemplating relations between different artifacts and subjects, Dialogues is a place for being vocal. Here, authors and artists get together in conversations, interviews, essays and experimental forms of writing. We aim to create a space of exchange, where the published results are often the most visible manifestations of relations, friendships and collaborations built around Sumac Space.
We believe in the irreplaceable role of artists in re-imagining and shaping our pasts, presents and futures and that they must have a public place for their research and diverse forms of expression. Therefore, gradually building a community of artists, curators, researchers and writers gravitating around the SWANA region, we invite diverse voices to actively participate in forming Sumac Space through curating exhibitions, writing texts, presenting work in progress and conveying conversations with each other.
Collaboration and collective study are qualities we are proposing, not as themes and theoretical concepts but as unconditional ways of working.
* The geographical term Middle East is not neutral; rather, it is a Eurocentric word with colonial origins.
Sumac Space e.V., represented by the executive board:
Katharina Ehrl (until Nov. 2022)
District Court Freiburg im Breisgau, VR 703339
Tax number 0670/08333
Davood Madadpoor, b. 1981, Tehran Iran.
Davood was born and raised in Tehran, where he worked at the War Library as co-researcher on methods of archiving. His interests in the arts led him to pursue degrees in photography at the Iranian Photographers’ House and the Tehran University of Applied Sciences and Technology.
He furthered his studies in Florence, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and a master’s degree in curatorial studies from the Accademia di Belle Arti. Here, he cultivated and explored his curatorial interests in the relationship between art practices and the material reality of day-to-day life, graduating with a thesis focused on local context as an impetus and inspiration for the art practices of artists-in-residence.
Until December 2022, he worked as a curatorial assistant at Villa Romana in Florence. In this capacity, he co-curated several projects, including Manifestiamo, a three-month conference proposing institutional work as a collaborative process; co-curated the exhibitions The Tellers and Seeds for Future Memories: Voicing the Two Ends of Migration in collaboration with ifa-Galerie, ACUD MACHT NEU, and FREIRAUM in the Box in Berlin; and served as a co-editor for the digital project titled The Broken Archive—Artistic Practices Bridging the Mediterranean, a collaboration between HKW in Berlin and Villa Romana.
In January 2023, he relocated to Berlin and co-curated projects titled Echoes, a nine-month educational program for young adults from Welcome Classes, and Generative Encounters—A Five-Day Creation and Reciprocity. He worked at the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) as a Cultural Outreach Project Manager.
The rest of his time is devoted to developing his research, aligned with Sumac Space, which revolves around interrogating and recasting everyday objects and events against the contemporaneous backdrop of a sociopolitical landscape in flux. As a curator, Davood seeks to explore this tension in his projects through narration, storytelling, and fiction that reconstruct the contemporary day-to-day as a mixture of origin, transition, and an unknowable future.