Video still from Rentyhorn - The Intervention, 2008, 4 minutes, 30 seconds
© 2008 Sasha Huber
With thanks to Frame Visual Art Finland.
Sasha Huber employs a variety of media, including painting, installation, video, photography and performance. Huber’s early training was as a designer, but her focus shifted to fine art as she began to examine the relationship between her aesthetic practice and her cultural identity.
Early on, the focus of Huber’s work was the exploration of her Haitian heritage viewed through the lens of colonial history, but over time her practice has grown to include a broader range of post-colonial realities—although Haiti is still a reoccurring theme in her work.
Huber has critiqued imperialism with portraits of Christopher Columbus and various Haitian dictators made from staples shot into pieces of driftwood. She has drawn attention to the effects of institutionalized racism by spearheading a project with historian and political activist Hans Fässler, in which they advocated by means of protest and petition, renaming a Swiss mountain Rentyhorn.
Her Rentyhorn intervention is part of a series of works based on an ongoing campaign to “demount” the celebrated Swiss naturalist and glaciologist Louis Agassiz (1807–1873) from his commemoration by place-names around the world. Clad in nineteenth-century style (though the fur is artificial), Huber flies to the top of Agassizhorn (3,946 meters), on the border between the Swiss cantons of Berne and Valais, to rename it after the enslaved Congolese man Renty whom Agassiz ordered to be photographed on a South Carolina plantation to demonstrate his supposed racial inferiority. Later, Agassiz proposed to compare other people of African and mixed descents photographed on expeditions to Brazil to the classical sculpture of the Apollo Belvedere, which he held to represent the European type.
Sasha Huber has exhibited extensively around the world, including at the 19th Biennale of Sydney, 2014; in Haiti: Two centuries of artistic creation at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 2014/15; El Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City; New Shelter Plan, Copenhagen; the Center of Contemporary Art, Tbilisi, Georgia; the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg and the Botkyrka Konsthall, Tumba, Sweden; Retretti Art Centre, Punkaharju, Kunsthalle Helsinki and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; and Riga Art Space, Latvia.
Born in Zurich, 1975 | Lives and works in Helsinki