How To Sell Yourself to the West

In her humorous ongoing project, Ada Mukhína investigates the unique selling points, identity advantages, and strategies that help artists succeed at the Western art market. She reflects on her own experience, interviews with the curators of the art institutions, research in the art archives, and stories of artists from diverse countries who want to ‘make it’ in the West. 

In September – November 2020, the first publication of the essay “How to Sell Yourself to the West” and the following video performance of the same name were born in the frames of the residency in the Young Academy of the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts) in Berlin.

Film still and video by Julia Milz and Eli Börnicke

In October 2021, Ada Mukhína presented a new lecture-performance “How to Sell Yourself to the West” at the Deutsches Theater Berlin commissioned especially for the Radar Ost Festival by the curator Birgit Lengers.

Photos by Julia Braier

In March 2022 after the start of the full-scale invasion of Russia in Ukraine, Ada Mukhína made an installation in the empty rooms of the Academy of Arts with the statement “Why the performance How to Sell Yourself to the West is not taking place” that was signed together with her collaborators Anis Hamdoun (Syria / Germany) and Serge Fouha (Cameroon / Germany).

Photos by Peter Oliver Wolff and Mathias Drücker

In April 2023, Ada Mukhína released a fictional radio show How to Sell Yourself to the West at Deutschlandfunk (German radio) that talks about unique selling points and success strategies in the theatre world. Together with her guests Abhishek Thapar, Belendjwa Peter, and Peggy Mädler, she reflects with irony on the experiences of theatre-makers in (West) Germany. What is hidden behind the shining facade of the Westen art market? What advantages and disadvantages are lying in your origin, race, or gender? And what artists could do in order to “make” it at the Global West?

Author: Ada Mukhina

Direction: Ada Mukhina und Calum Perrin
With: Peggy Mädler, Belendjwa Peter, Abhishek Thapar, Murat Akin and Ada Mukhina
Composition: Calum Perrin
Sound and technic: Michael Kube und Christiane Neumann
Editor: Thilo Guschas
Production: Deutschlandfunk 2023