Exhibition, Performances, Lectures, Film Screenings

Benjamin Patterson Invocations

– On, Of, For, With Ben Patterson

Exhibition opening with performances, lectures and film screenings

On the occasion of the opening the Benjamin Patterson retrospective at SAVVY Contemporary, artists, curators and companions of Patterson’s respond to the artist’s work in the form of performances, concerts, lectures and film screenings.

Fluxus artist Benjamin Patterson cuts strips of paper with scissors.

Benjamin Patterson, Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden

© Christian Lauer

  • In English

Past Dates

The event took place first at SAVVY Contemporary and then at silent green.

Events online
Watch this event as a recording in the  Berliner Festspiele Media Library.

Amidst the uncertainties, clamancies and nebulosity of our times, we must still find space to intro- and retrospect. Or is it to intro-audite and retro-audite? Indeed, we must find space and time to listen in and listen back. This project is a deliberation on and celebration of the seminal work of African-American artist Benjamin Patterson (1934–2016). It is an attempt to unsilence, re-enact and re-interpret the extensive body of work of one of the founding members of the Fluxus movement. It is a possibility to listen at ear level.

Six years after he transitioned to the greater beyond, it is time to take stock and time to commemorate Benjamin Patterson with a first comprehensive solo exhibition in Berlin. This exhibition will bring together original scores, texts, artworks, objects, videos, compositions and other archival material by Benjamin Patterson.

For the public INVOCATIONS programme, SAVVY Contemporary together with the Patterson Estate and MaerzMusik invites artists, curators, scholars and co-travellers to reflect and revive Patterson’s work of five decades. While being based on a multi-disciplinary curatorial approach that stems from Patterson’s worlds, this project wants to move beyond Fluxus, historically and artistically – a play on and with time, an archive in action.

This is a long term research by SAVVY Contemporary, which brings together works from five decades by Benjamin Patterson, including “When Elephants Fight, It Is the Frogs That Suffer (2016–17)”, commissioned for documenta14 (Athens and Kassel, 2017).

In collaboration with Barbro Patterson (Estate of Benjamin Patterson) and Elke Gruhn (Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden). This project is the sixth collaboration between SAVVY Contemporary and MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues, with works commissioned by Deutschlandfunk Kultur.

With Benjamin Patterson, The String Archestra with Giuseppe Bottiglieri, Daniele G. Daude, Anthony R. Green and Jessie Montgomery; Maria Marta Colusi, Lucrecia Dalt, Maulwerker with Ariane Jeßulat, Christian Kesten, Tilmann Walzer and Steffi Weismann; George Lewis, Valerie Cassel Oliver, Tsitsi Ella Jaji, Linda-Philomène Tsoungui, Christopher Williams


Venue: SAVVY Contemporary

„I am glad you asked me this question” (introduction)
with Berno Odo Polzer and Kamila Metwaly

A Word (introduction)
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

Born in the State of FLUX/us lecture (lecture)
with Valerie Cassel Oliver

“enter open or closed space/…” (performance)
with Maulwerker

Callaloo - Ten Years Since (poetry interlude)
with Tsitsi Ella Jaji

Ben Patterson: An interplay (concert)
“Music for Violin and Cello” (Ben Patterson score, 1988)
with The String Archestra

16:20 - break -

Paper Pushing (poetry interlude)
with Tsitsi Ella Jaji

Variations for Double-Bass (performance)
with Christopher Williams

A Word (interlude)
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

Solo for Dancer (dance interlude)
Maria Colusi

A Very Lawful Dance (1962)
„enter open or closed space/ …“ (procession)
with Maulwerker

18:10 - break & shift to the Betonhalle -

Venue: Betonhalle at silent green

Variations over Paper Piece (concert)
with Linda-Philomène Tsoungui

Benjamin Patterson’s Spiritual Exercises (lecture)
with George Lewis

Ben Patterson: An interplay with the String Archestra (concert performances)
Music for Violin and Cello (Ben Patterson, score, 1988)
Bolero (Ben Patterson, score 1994)
with The String Archestra

Drip Music (dance interlude)
Maria Colusi

21:00 - break -

Performing works of Benjamin Patterson
Ants (1960)
A Letter To Margaret Leng Tan (2009)
Septet from Lemons (1961)
Die Cookie-Oper (2005)
Air Graffiti (2011)
with Maulwerker

Therapeutics (poetry interlude)
with Tsitsi Ella Jaji

22:15 - break -

A Word (interlude)
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

A Simple Opera (Ben Patterson, score 1996/99) (performance)
with Maulwerker and guests

Child´s Play (interlude)
Tsitsi Ella Jaji

Paper Piece (Ben Patterson, score 1961) (performance)
with Maulwerker and guests

Thank you note by curators and team

Lucrecia Dalt (music performance)


Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung artistic direction
Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Kamila Metwaly,
Berno Odo Polzer curation
Billy Fowo, Nancy Naser Al Deen curatorial & production team exhibition
Lili Somogyi, Manuela Garcia Aldana
and Sonia Lescène curatorial & production team Invocations
Lema Sikod general management
Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock project management
Anna Jäger communications
Boiling Head live streaming

The project is funded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur.