Ferenc Gróf, detail from „Code Sucre / Sugar Code”, 2020 (Photo: Thomas Raggam)





Artist talk
with Ferenc Gróf and
Fokus Grupa
Special guest: Dale W. Tomich
Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 7 pm

The artist talk will take place in English and online.

The entry is possible with this link:

You can join the video meeting 10 minutes before the start, from then on it is possible to drop in at any time.
It is not necessary to install an additional programme, the link will open the Zoom meeting on your browser. This process may take a few seconds.

In the frame of the exhibition SUGAR. Industrial Heritage and Colonialism.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
On this evening, the exhibition contributions by Ferenc Gróf, based
in Paris, as well as the works from the artists collective Fokus Grupa,
based in Ljubljana, will be presented and discussed.

Ferenc Gróf's works highlight the intertwining of the history of sugar
with the colonial past. One of his two works is based on reproduced
pages from the so-called Code Noir [Black Code], a decree issued by
France’s King Louis XIV in 1685, which regulated the treatment of
black slaves. It remained in force until the abolition of slavery in the
French colonies in 1848. Work on the sugar plantations was the most
important area of work for the slaves.

Ferenc Gróf superimposes three sheets by Honoré Daumier, who
became famous for his caricatures, on the Code Noir. They deal
with the struggle between sugar cane and sugar beet and were
published in 1839 in the satirical magazine Le Charivari.

The works of Fokus Grupa also have a historical reference point.
The starting point of the two contributions to the exhibition is
the oldest sugar refinery on the territory of the Austro-Hungarian
Monarchy, founded in Fiume, today’s Rijeka, in 1750.

Fokus Grupa processes, among other things, the so-called
Vedute ideate, which contain a rare depiction of racialized slave
labor in Austria-Hungary. They refer to the invisible labor which
enabled the industrial production of sugar and made visible the
relation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, together with the
peripheral port town of Rijeka, to the global flow of capital and
the history of colonialism.

Special guest Dale W. Tomich joins the conversation.
He is the author and editor of several books that link of slavery
and sugar production, such as: "Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar,"
or, most recently: "Reconstructing the Landscapes of Slavery."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fokus Grupa, installation view from < rotor >´s entrance room, 2021 (Photo: Thomas Raggam)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
a project co-funded by the programme Creative Europe of the European Union and implemented by the Slovak National Gallery in cooperation with partners:
< rotor > centre for contemporary art (AT),
Centre for Contemporary Art FUTURA (CZ),
Schafhof – European Center for Art Upper Bavaria (DE),
La Box gallery of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art (FR),
T-TUDOK Inc., Centre for Knowledge Management and
Educational Research (HU),
and associated partners – Kunsthalle Bratislava (SK),
Muzeum Sztuki Lódž (PL).

Co-funded by:

Project funding for Ilona Németh's contribution to the exhibition:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
< rotor > is supported by:
Members of the < rotor > association
City of Graz - Cultural Department
State of Styria - Department for Culture, Europe, Sport
Federal Ministery for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport
Mit Loidl oder Co. Graz
European Solidarity Corps