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The critics company: One can only hope and wonder – ZOLLAMTMKK at the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main | 01.04.-30.07.2023

Editors’ Choice

ZOLLAMTMKK at the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt/May is currently showing the exhibition One Can Only Hope and Wonder with a cinematic work from 2023 by the Nigerian artist group The Critics Company. In February 1897, British colonial troops conquered, destroyed and plundered the kingdom of Benin, which had been defensible for almost 500 years until then. Between 3,500 and 4,000 works of art were looted, about 40 percent of which ended up in the British Museum in London. The rest were auctioned off, the majority of which went to German museums. At the beginning of the 20th century, the descendants of the Oba of Benin demanded works back.

Image oben: The Critics Company, One Can Only Hope and Wonder, 2023, Filmstill

Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, official demands for restitution have been made to the Federal Republic of Germany. Self-assurance through one’s own history and culture was considered essential in the re-foundation of an independent state, one’s own identity. But until 2022, German museums refused to return the more than 1,100 looted works. Only 125 years after the looting did Germany return some works of art.

The emptiness of a history without reference points – without the possibility to engage with available artworks – is immense. One can go mad at it or decide to move forward and create new works.

“But the wise have chosen the future. They will use their tears to paint. They will go mad and create something new.”

Emose in “One Can Only Hope and Wonder”, 2023

The Nigerian artist group The Critics Company, consisting of Godwin Gaza Josiah, Victor Josiah, Raymond Yusuff, Richard Joshua Yusuff and Ronald Yusuff, was founded in Kaduna in 2015. For their very first exhibition, they have created a new work especially for ZOLLAMTMMK.

DEEDS NEWS - The Critics Company - One Can Only Hope and Wonder, 2023 - film still 1
The Critics Company, One Can Only Hope and Wonder, 2023, film still


Since 2007, the former main customs office in Frankfurt has been a location of the MUSEUMMMK FÜR MODERNE KUNST. The building was constructed in 1927 by Werner Hebebrand and is located diagonally opposite the main building. Historically, it is a testimony to an extensive reform project, similar to the Bauhaus. The Neues Frankfurt project was one of the first holistic urban planning and social projects of its kind. Many buildings in Frankfurt as well as products and graphic design elements are closely associated with it. Among others, the main customs office was also redesigned as a public building. After the Second World War, various renovations and conversions were carried out.

Since 2007, the exhibition programme has been financed primarily by the Jürgen Ponto Foundation. The foundation awards up to two working scholarships annually to young artists. The scholarship holders have the opportunity to present their work to a wide audience at the ZOLLAMTMMK.


at the Museum of Modern Art
Domstraße 10
60311 Frankfurt am Main


Exhibition days:

Saturday, 1. April – Sunday, 30. July 2023

Tue – Sun 11am – 6pm, Wed until 7pm

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