Sophie Douala - Follow the Black Rabbit
Exhibition — June 2022 - January 2023
In this third edition of the graphic design series Post/No/Bills, we have invited Berlin-based, France-raised, and Cameroon-born designer Sophie Douala to fill the space surrounding the historical staircase with her recent works.
As with many young creatives, these past years have affected Sophie and her practice greatly. She is going through a self-proclaimed transition, evolution, a break in time, a pause. She is in-between.
This tendency can be signaled among many of her peers. There is a whole generation that is lost and searching. Social media has recently been full of themes such as rest, pause, healing, care, looking for inspiration, self-rediscovery, and questions of origins. It’s often not about dualities such as positive or negative, rather an introspection on the precarity and instability itself.
“2020 was certainly a special year in my journey. The murder of George Floyd following the lockdown lead me to introspection, to disbelief, to realization. It was tough, and also eye-opening. Bringing to the surface shut down memories and feelings. I had to learn to use my sadness and anger to reconstruct myself and grow stronger.”
The visual and textual experiments in Sophie’s work represent many of these reflections. In ‘Follow The Black Rabbit’ Sophie is inviting us to enter a dream world. Triggered by social shakedowns of the past two years — the struggle for civil rights and racial equity, financial and social insecurities, a health pandemic and the resulting debilitating lockdowns — Sophie inverts the Alice in Wonderland myth giving it a political twist to reflect the real world. It is celebratory and melancholy at the same time.
The presentation comprises immersive wall prints of her work, filling the arches of the corridor in the heart of the museum — the patterns finding a place literally in between the structures of the museum. Sophie also showcases videos containing words evoking the mindfulness slogans currently popular on social media. A meditative mantra for our current reality.
Thomas Castro, curator of graphic design: “The Stedelijk has a long tradition of graphic design, with an important international collection in the discipline. The graphic design series POST/NO/BILLS takes a central position in the museum, around the historic staircase. There I aim to show the most recent graphic design projects that respond to what is currently happening in the field and in society."