What do social media influencers have in common with miners in South Africa and the Ruhr region? Has man become a kind of mine in contemporary capitalism? With questions like these, the artists represented in the exhibition explore forms of extractivism in the 21st century.
From diamonds to black coal, from tungsten to uranium, from asbestos to rare earths: Without the extraction of raw materials from the earth, neither the colonization of the global South nor the rapid development of the coal and steel industry in the Ruhr region and other western metropolises would be conceivable. It is one of the colonial and environmentally destructive cornerstones of industrial capitalism. While the extraction of raw materials in the global South and their appropriation by multinational companies continues unabated today, expanded forms of extractivism can also be observed in recent decades, which continue into the human interior. In the spheres of work shaped by the digital economy, even the human mind and body become a kind of mine in which people are subject to a logic of economic conquest. Today, our inner resources, such as our dreams, emotions and desires, are shaped by consumption and work and appropriated by companies.
The exhibition Inner Mining / Outer Mining brings together positions from Southern Africa and Western Europe that relate to the phenomenon of extractivism in very different artistic forms. This North-South perspective and cross-continental discussion about old and new forms of appropriation of outer and inner nature, as well as their interconnections, is intended to make this connection conceivable and tangible. The discussion of these two levels also reveals interesting parallels between South Africa and the Ruhr region.


CUSS Group

Founded in 2011, the Johannesburg based CUSS Group was one of the first artists in South Africa to address the impact of digital technologies and internet economies in their art. The activities of the group have spanned the founding of a web television initiative, online publications, digital art, and curatorial projects in their HQ, Johannesburg. The collective responds to commercial, cultural and technological super-hybridity through the filter of urban trends, material artifacts, and youth culture in contemporary post-post-colonial South Africa. For a number of events, including their ongoing series of curated platforms Video Party (2013- 014), they have used non-traditional spaces like shops to insert art into the everyday and democratize its audiences. For CUSS GROUP, who are attuned to digital developments in a globalized contemporary, the exclusionary constructs that are the legacy of political and colonial histories in the post-geographical realm of bots and trolls – as well as in art-world formats and institutions.

The members of CUSS Group are Ravi Govender, Jamal Nxedlana, Lex Trickett, and Zamani Xolo.



Pia vom Ende

In her artistic practice, Pia vom Ende uses the media of painting, drawing, virtual reality and installation to examine social power structures. The focus is on the question of how power mechanisms are changing in the digital age and how they are being conveyed and reconfigured in completely new ways using new technological and media developments. It is therefore not surprising that she draws on narratives from the Internet, film and television in her works, using a variety of references to popular culture, but also from literature and art history. By allowing viewers to encounter elements from their own everyday digital world, vom Ende reveals how entangled we are in these mechanisms of power.

Pia vom Ende studied painting at the Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein (Halle an der Saale) and at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee (Berlin). In 2021 she completed her master class with Tilo Baumgärtel. The artist lives and works in Berlin.



Ângela Ferreira

Ângela Ferreira was born in Maputo, Mozambique at a time when the country was still under Portuguese colonial rule. She grew up in apartheid South Africa. Based on these experiences, her artistic work, which includes media such as drawing, video, installation and sculpture, deals with questions of the afterlife of colonialism and apartheid in post-colonial societies on the African continent. Her artistic practice, mostly based on extensive research, addresses furthermore themes such as anti-colonialism, international solidarity, decolonial media history and the transcultural entanglements of modernity.

Ferreira received her Master of Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town and a PhD from the University of Lisbon. The artist lives and works in Lisbon, where she also teaches Fine Arts at the University.



Katarina Jazbec

Katarina Jazbec is a visual artist working in film and photography. Challenging the storytelling capacity of lens-based media, she uses interdisciplinary and long-standing collaborative artistic approaches including movement scores, reading groups, writing, rituals etc. Her work revolves around research questions that explore the vulnerability and agency of human and nature in the current economic system, various potentialities to imagine, embody and reflect upon living together in the increasingly divided world, and finally the non-institutionalised ways of knowing, especially those that are silent, abandoned or suppressed. Introducing fictional frameworks in an everyday context, she aims to amplify the invisible layers of reality and provoke its structures.

Jazbec was born in Slovenia, and has been living in Rotterdam since 2015. She received her BA from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana and her MA in Photography from the AKV | St. Joost  art academy in Breda (NL). She is currently a resident at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.



Andy Kassier

The work of the conceptual artist and photographer Andy Kassier includes installations, performances, photography, videos, sculptures and painting. He became well-known through his long-term performance "Success is just a smile away" on instagram (2013 - 2023). For ten years, Kassier staged himself as a successful and good-looking business type jetting around the world. Whether standing knee-deep in the Caribbean Sea only with a laptop and tight speedos, lounging on a mountaintop dressed only in an expensive mink coat, or sitting on the hood of an 8-series BMW with Cape Town's Table Mountain in the background: Andy Kassier knows exactly how to showcase his sophisticated life and share his good mood with his followers. Nevertheless, these images were replaced in the course of the performance by the ones of a different Kassier: the one on a journey of self-discovery after a burnout. But pictures of meditation sessions and green smoothies also belong on instagram for a real influencer. In October 2023, Kassier announced that his performance was over, as role-playing with digital identities is now part of most people's everyday lives anyway.

Kassier graduated in 2018 with distinction from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, where he studied with Mischa Kuball and Johannes Wohnseifer. The artist lives and works in Berlin.



Christian Kölbl

Christian Kölbl's artistic work includes installation, painting and sculpture, and he has also been responsible for a number of curatorial and artistic projects. Kölbl pursues a conceptual approach in his work, with which he examines the ideologies of digital late capitalism and the increasing fusion of consumption and art. In his more recent works, the artist primarily deals with questions of commodity aesthetics and the marketing of the self, as driven not least by social media. In doing so, Kölbl creates himself as a brand and charges consumer products with the promise of creativity of the artistic subject. Most recently, the artist created a perfume under his label that smells of unused paint and leather, like a brand-new car. Its wearers can thus be enveloped in the insignia of the rich owners of a new car.

Christian Kölbl studied painting and graphic art at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig with Michael Riedel and at the Städelschule in Frankfurt with Tobias Rehberger. In 2019 he founded the digital art space CK-Offspace. The artist lives and works in Berlin.



Johannes Leidenberger

Johannes Leidenberger's artistic practice is mainly located in the field of sculpture. He uses steel, aluminum, bronze or concrete for his sculptures. Based on the inherent logic of these materials, Leidenberger gives them an artistic form. His objects are transformed into systems that generate their spatial form in an interplay of protrusion and sequence. This constructive process creates dependencies and interactions between the form-giving elements Although the surfaces of the metals he uses are processed in form, for example by grinding, oiling, etching or galvanizing, he does not conceal their materiality. This method of revealing the traces of processing to the viewer lends his objects a certain roughness. The materiality and often technical appearance of the works thus aesthetically locates Leidenberger's art in the industrial age and extractivist modernism.

Johannes Leidenberger studied KulturGestaltung at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung in Schwäbisch Hall and then Fine Art at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Tony Cragg and Didier Vermeiren. In 2017, he completed his studies at the Düsseldorf Art Academy as a master student of Didier Vermeiren. The artist lives and works in Düsseldorf.



Tokolos Stencil Collective

The Tokolos Stencil Collective is an anonymous group of stencil and graffiti artists, activists from the Cape Town area. In their stencils and graffiti, they address current political issues and deal with topics such as anti-capitalism and anti-racism. After the massacre of miners in Marikana in 2012, they launched a large stencil campaign in public spaces. The name Tokolos is inspired by the Tokoloshe, a mythical creature from Zulu mythology that spreads fear. Their Motto is: "To terrorise the powers that be, the tokoloshe emerges from obscurity. It reminds South Africans, young and old, that freedom and justice remain elusive unless we are willing to fight for it."


Helena Uambembe

Helena Uambembe is an Angolan-South African artist who works with the media of textiles, printmaking, photography, performance and text. Her work interrogates the dyadic relationship between the political (world politics) and the domestic (personal politics). Drawing from personal and familial history, Uambembe maps the ideological and intimate space created by the historical and colonial links between Angolan, Southern African and global history.

Born in South Africa in 1994, her Angolan parents fled the Angolan civil war back in 1975 and settled in the embattled Pomfret with other families of the 32 Battalion. This complex family history (itself a disruption of current accepted narratives of post-colonial Africa), the 32 Battalion, Pomfret and her Angolan heritage are dominant themes in her multidisciplinary approach.


Salvatore Vitale

Salvatore Vitale is an artist, publicist and educator. In his multi-layered artistic practice and research, Vitale’s work focuses on the development and complexity of modern societies exploring power structures, visual politics and technology, whilst making use of expanded documentary analysis, including elements of fiction, speculative storytelling and the use of multiple visual forms. His works incorporate photography, video, sound, writing and oral discourse, communicated through books, talks, editorial contexts, teaching and exhibition design.

Vitale lives in Zurich and teaches at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, where he leads the transmedia storytelling programme. The artist is also co-founder and editor-in-chief of "YET", a magazine for contemporary photography, as well as artistic director of FUTURES Photography and the Turin International Photography Festival.



Inner Mining / Outer Mining:

A global constellation

3 February - 14 March 2024

Friday, 2 February, 7 pm

CUSS Group
Pia vom Ende
Ângela Ferreira
Katarina Jazbec
Andy Kassier
Christian Kölbl
Johannes Leidenberger
Tokolos Stencil Collectiv
Helena Uambembe
Salvatore Vitale

Curator's tours
Saturday, 3 February, 4 pm
Saturday, 24 February, 4 pm
Thursday, 14 March, 4 pm

Film screening
in cooperation with the Dortmunder U

Friday, 23 February, 8 pm
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection
Directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Kino im Dortmunder U
Leonie-Reygers-Terrasse, 44137 Dortmund

Finissage & curator's tour
Thursday, 14 March, 7 pm

Julian Volz

Exhibition concept:
Julian Volz in cooperation with Christian Kölbl

Images works: © the artists
Title graphic: © Viola Dessin

Images opening: © JS/Künstlerhaus Dortmund

Exhibition booklet (PDF)

Kindly supported by: Kulturbüro Dortmund

The exhibition is made possible through the Curate! curatorial grant which was awarded by the Künstlerhaus Dortmund to Julian Volz.

Inner Mining / Outer Mining is the first of three anniversary exhibitions to mark the 100th anniversary of the Künstlerhaus Dortmund. The building was constructed in 1924 as a washhouse ("Waschkaue") and operations building for the Westphalia mine and was last used by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts for Design. Students from this school occupied the building and fought for its current status, self-administration. In 1987, the Künstlerhaus was renovated and converted with funds from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the city of Dortmund and Sparkasse Dortmund. 

On June 14, at 6 pm, there will be an anniversary talk with Antje Hassinger (visual artist, founding member of the Künstlerhaus Dortmund), Dr. Ingo Wuttke (historian from the Ruhr Museum in Essen) and Norbert Grondorf (former miner). 
In cooperation with the Ruhr Museum.