between She BAM! and Sarie Nijboer
A dialogue that took place over the course of the exhibition, Permanence, at She BAM! in Leipzig – a gallery and studio that focuses on empowering women in the arts.

De : Sarie Nijboer
Envoyé : mardi 4 juin 2019 17:55
À : info@shebam.art
Cc : info@texturmag.com
Objet : conversation/dialogue

Dear She BAM!,

How did the opening of Permanence go? I saw great pictures of the live performance by Dorothée Louise Recker online. Are you building the exhibition from there? I am curious to hear more about why you chose her work as a starting point and how it was received by the visitors.

I had a chat with my colleague Juli about a possible conversation/dialogue with you about your work and the gallery you are building. Since I am based in Stuttgart now, it might be difficult for me to visit you in your gallery space. Therefore I wanted to ask if you are interested in creating an email dialogue/conversation/exchange for the duration of your exhibition? What was the name again you called it in French? It sounded much nicer.

In this way, we can reflect on your exhibition, which is constantly changing, but also on how you feel about the different ways of profiling the concept of a gallery owner and gallery that only works with female artists.

A personal visit is of course also possible, but I just wanted to ask how you feel about it and we will see from there.


Subject: RE: conversation/dialogue
From info@shebam.art
To Sarie Nijboer
Cc info@texturmag.com
Date Tue 11. June 2019 at 12:21

Dear Sarie and Juli,

Your proposal sounds perfect for me! Here we go!

The opening was great. It was like I imagined it. In the gallery space, Dorothée was working, performing for 6h45. She did the live painting that you saw in the pictures. She was exploiting the space, while people could come in, watch, sometimes ask questions. Outside, you could have a drink or eat ice cream. I asked some people to come and build a bar in order to create a kind of social space where people stayed, discussed, exchanged. I wanted to propose a nice atmosphere where people could enjoy, but also think about what is happening in the gallery space. There was no explanation and no A4 to read. I was the one who mediated for visitors, when possible.

I wanted it to be a free interpretation, escaping the codes of having to read a text in order to understand something. It was something you could live. I took that risk, also in order to analyze the effect on visitors. Some of them were irritated; others were fascinated. A lot of supporters came from the art world, but not only. A very eclectic public was also there, and that was maybe due to the ice cream shop… Finally, they could not escape performance. I also asked a photographer to cover the event. I knew that would become the official archive, with people hanging around and the artist performing in the space – both atmospheres mixed and matched. I did not know what to expect, so I myself was also concerned with what would happen and what space would look like during the whole exhibition.

And yes, Dorothée L. Recker’s performance was, so to say, an emphasis on the backstage aspect of an exhibition. What was normally staged during the installing days had been made public. I wanted to play with these notions of stage/backstage, public/private, ‘play the display’. This live work aims to show to the public what could happen when the gallery is closed – something in progress happening in the space. Maybe you know the genius work of Nedko Solakov, ‘A Life (Black and White)’, 1998–ongoing, where two workers are constantly repainting the gallery walls black and white for the entire duration of the exhibition. This performance is along the same line: what looks futile becomes vital as the spectator is waiting to ‘see something’. A lot of people asked me “where are the artworks”… I answered “this is the artwork!”… That was the starting point. Yes, it was important for me that Permanence starts with what is the beginning of an exhibition: working in the space, painting some walls, thinking of a display. Dorothée Louise Recker’s performance can be seen in 3 ways: first, the performance itself; then, the final result of it – a wall painting, an artwork in itself; and 3rd, as a starting point for the Permanence display concept. You enter in the space, the walls are painted from black to white, the works are hung in correspondence with the gradient.

The Monday after the performance, I started to install the other artworks. Starting by installing a shelf, a table, some chairs. I brought the artworks in the space and started to hang some paintings on the walls. At the moment I’m writing you, on the table there’s a ceramic work by Éléonore Joulin, an artist living in Brussels; there’s an artwork from Anais Goupy, on which is written Art, Sex, Weed, next to me on the table – it’s sculpture, text-based art, turning as a ventilator with green light-up letters. Behind me: two abstract and colorful paintings from Winnie Seifert, a painter from Dresden. This afternoon, I’m gonna change the hanging and tomorrow She BAM! will welcome a lecture by Clementine Butler-Gallie, curator and founder of the curatorial project Further East of Elsewhere. So yes, the installation of the wall was a starting point. Now people come – most of the visitors have heard about it.

When I opened the gallery, I really wanted to experiment as much as possible with the different possibilities of a gallery as an experimental format… How could I find my own and personal recipe with which I would feel compatible? How could I bring something else to what we already know about the gallery routine… How do I think about the format differently, but still be a commercial space, and how do I keep my curatorial practice and research within the gallery? That was my starting point, but it took some time. These are questions that I still feel very concerned with, and after about one year of experience, I’m still working on it, of course.



De : Sarie Nijboer
Objet: RE: conversation/dialogue
À : info@shebam.art
Cc : info@texturmag.com
Envoyé : jeudi 20 juin 2019 17:55

Dear L,

Thank you for your comprehensive answer and for sharing your thoughts. In the meantime, as you wrote, some changes have already taken place in your gallery space. The curatorial collective Clementine Butler-Gallie gave her lecture and recently the works King Cobra and Inscriptions by Tanja Koljonen have been added as I saw on facebook. I am very curious about the role that the individual works play in the exhibition and contribute to the concept of permanence. I remember from our previous conversations that you like to work closely with your artists and that you are always looking for a dialogue in which you do not select a work but develop a concept through conversations. How did the above works get into the exhibition space? Can you tell me more about your approach?

I’m also interested in your process of making public. As soon as the artworks in the gallery space are added, it becomes part of the whole and changes the perspectives of the space as well as the exhibition. By also showing the process of installation, with this beautiful reference to the great work of Nedko Solakov, space becomes both public and non-public, it is both the backstage and the stage. For me, this is about questioning the role the gallery space can play, in which it is not presented as a defined product but as a process of exhibition making. What role did the making public of the artworks play in this exhibition?

And since you wrote about documentation material, I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about the role that documentation, and therefore the archive can play in the branding process of your gallery. We both have experience with Harald Szeemann’s complex personal archive, which makes him an ‘institution’ in itself, and from which we can try to understand his way of working and thinking. Have you ever thought about the role that documentation can play in the institutionalization of your gallery or your work as a gallery owner? What do you collect and see as an important part to market your ‘institution’ as a ‘brand’?

So far my questions, I’m sure there will be many to come. I am already looking forward to continuing our conversation and as you might have noticed, yesterday we launched the first part of our conversation online. What do you think of the name ‘dialogue’? Should we keep it?

Wishing you good luck with the last weeks of the exhibition! Unfortunately I won’t be in Berlin and Leipzig until July, but I’m very glad I can ‘experience’ the exhibition in this way as well.



Subject : RE: conversation/dialogue
From : info@shebam.art
To : Sarie Nijboer
Cc : info@texturmag.com
Date : Wed 24. July 2019 at 12:51

Dear Sarie,

I hereby send you lots of pictures from different moments of Permanence, dont hesitate to ask me more info if you need captions etc…

Dorothée Louise Recker She BAM! Performance 2019
Dorothée Louise Recker
She BAM! Performance 2019 (33)
Opening ‘Permanence’
Eleonore Joulin, She BAM!
Eleonore Joulin
Marine Peixoto She BAM!
Marine Peixoto
Tanja Koljonen She BAM!
Tanja Koljonen
Dorothée Louise Recker She BAM! Performance 2019
Dorothée Louise Recker
Opening ‘Permanence’
Roundtable women artists Motherhood She BAM!
Roundtable women artists Motherhood
Talk Clementine Butler She BAM!
Talk Clementine Butler


From : She BAM!
Subject: RE: conversation/dialogue
To : Sarie Nijboer
Cc : Éléonore Gros
Date : Fri 26. July 2019 at 12:01

Dear Sarie,

Thank you for your email and questions! I invited personally the artists one by one with a precise idea of what I wanted to show. To some of them, I asked for a specific proposal that would fit to the theme of the exhibition. Permanence could be seen as a neutral space where I have a relationship to the artworks as a one-to-one situation, so to speak. Every work has to keep its own essence that’s why, in the process, I like to take pictures of each of them excluding the exhibition context. In Permanence, I wanted to avoid the dialogue phenomena of a group show, to escape the narrative through the concept of Permanence. The pictures are considered as archives. I send them to the artists as well as I put some of them online. During the time of the exhibition, I change the artworks hanging on the walls every day, a gesture that will actually give a different look and atmosphere of the exhibition. In doing so, I focus on the deep nature and discourse of each work of art.

The first thing that is most important to me in ‘making public’, even before I play with the space, is to enter into a real dialogue with the artists about what they want to do. I have to understand and be able to project myself into the project. These thoughts developed out of the MA program Cultures of the Curatorial, this is my curatorial participation so to say. Secondly, the gallery should be seen as a flexible space in which everything can be possible. Where one is located is already a political statement that might be interesting to take into consideration. Unfortunately, this is most of the time restrained by budget or time issues, but I always try to push the borders and find solutions. Basically, having a space is at the end a pretext to develop a program and play with the inflexibility and the non-nomadic status of the space. Here, the white walls become the witnesses of the artworks. This way of understanding and thinking space become definitely part of the exhibition making.

I decided to make Permanence public in different ways: live in the space and online throughout the social networks. That was part of the concept since the beginning. On one side, through the physical space, on the other side, through the virtual ways. In Leipzig, the idea is that the gallery space is open to the public as much as possible, meaning from 9 am to 8 pm, Monday to Saturday, which is quite uncommon for She BAM! and more generally for an art space. During that time frame, I constantly share and spread some information via social media. However, what I decided to put online was always a bit different from what actually happened in reality. Indeed, making public an event through a picture is very subjective, no one knows what is really happening beyond the frame.

Permanence is a French name which means stability, durability, permanence, fixity, immutability, endurance, constancy, continuity, immortality, indestructibility. The choice of this title is also linked to an idea of ‘hotline’ and ‘assistance’, a constant link between the things and the people.

As for the role that documentation can play, I would say that working on the communication part would be perhaps the biggest work to define She BAM!’s image. When I built She BAM!, I absolutely wanted to escape the classical way of running a gallery. I wanted to make a brand, here called She BAM!, a name in which creative women could find themselves, a name against the patriarchal system and against the actual art market focused on masculinity. Working on communication is to make public our actions with a certain identity and a certain style. When I thought about She BAM! as a brand, I was able to think about by-products that could make our major engagements public such as equality in arts, multi-layered creation, eco-responsibility etc. She BAM! should be more than exhibitions and space proposals, it is more something like a think tank or a hub where ideas circulate through different forms, like a label for instance.

I am constantly working on the archives and archiving. For each exhibition I ask a photographer to do the documentation immediately after the opening. I also take a lot of photos by my side. We write a text before and after the opening once we got the final set and once we feel the first reaction from the public. I keep all single documentation coming out of She BAM! from emails to every physical artefact. As a gallery owner, it’s a responsibility to keep safe all information. I also think that the gallery should be able to work without me and that’s why good archives material would definitely help. The archives witness She BAM!’ story and moments of life but without developing a fetish relation to them. Good documentation is also a quality value, especially when you want to be part of a specific network and also when you send some pieces of information to the people. It’s definitely worth it to use good visual material to support your ideas even if I think that it actually depends on your statement. Of course, you can use really different kind of archive material to define your identity. Regarding Harald Szeemann’s archives, they evolved around his own person, collecting single things from train tickets to his personal belongings but that is not the case for She BAM! at the moment…

Yes regarding the name ‘dialogue’! You’re bringing such interesting questions. I like how you see things, very delicate and precise. It is a real pleasure having a dialogue with you!



01.06 – 27.06.2019 > WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF


Talk with Clementine Butler-Gallier & round table with the kind participation of Lavinia Diniz Freitas & Flora Kampmann

She BAM!
Spinnereistraße 7, Halle 3.c
04179 Leipzig, Germany

More info