14.5 – 21.6.22 – ACUD Galerie – Exhibition
With: Sinzo Aanza, Jasmina Al-Qaisi & Ralf Wendt, Koko Kabamba, Jean Kamba, Billy Ngalamulume alias Kill Bill, Mukenge/Schellhammer, Rachel Nyangombe, Gabriella Torres-Ferrer, Raul Walch
The exhibition by Laboratoire Kontempo, developed in collaboration with Acud Macht Neu, shows collaborative artistic works from Kinshasa and Berlin. As a transdisciplinary experimental space, Laboratoire Kontempo explores power structures and dominant trends in contemporary international art scenes
“Kontempo” is a term that emerged as a neologism in Kinshasa’s independent art scene. As a counter-narrative to Western-influenced academic discourse, “Kontempo” has established itself as a new code and a reinterpretation of the term “contemporary” in Kinshasa.
In Kinshasa, artists who are considered “contemporary” often work within a system of codes shaped by Western artistic norms, while at the same time negotiating so-called “typically African” themes from a supposedly Western perspective. This trend dominates international contemporary art and is part of the neo-colonial power structures. Laboratoire Kontempo questions these structures and therefore aims to develop new strategies for artistic creation.
The Project is concieved as a laboratory for interactions, processes and conflicts in the historical, social and economic field of tension between Europe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hoping to open up a dialogue space where the idea of contemporary and its dominant codes can be redifined, allowing a multiplicity of perspectives, practices and concepts.
Laboratoire Kontempo Kinshasa/Berlin began in Kinshasa in October 2021: artists and researchers from Berlin took part in discussion rounds and presentations with the participating artists and researchers from Kinshasa and the exhibition at the National Museum of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the second phase of the project, the participants met in Berlin to continue the conversations and collaborative approaches.
Laboratoire Kontempo is a project founded in 2019 by the Congolese-German duo Mukenge/Schellhammer in Kinshasa.
Videos, multimedia installations and digital collages will be presented in the gallery.
Sinzo Aanza shows “A Sketch of the City for Manzambi I – IIII“; a series of 4 photomontages created during Laboratoire Kontempo 2020: Four major intersections in Kinshasa, urban utopias by Bodys Isek Kingelez and robots that facilitate the daily lives of the inhabitants:inside.
In the multimedia installation “The History of Memory“, Koko Kabamba explores various forms of memory culture in digital and analogue space and their changes over time.
With the fanzine “La voix du congolais“, Jean Kamba caricatures the eponymous newspaper of the Congolese elite from the colonial era, which was also called the class of the “évolués (the developed)”.
Billy Ngalamulume aka Kill Bill shows the video documentary of his performance “Bilobela TV Lokuta FM“, a critical examination of the often clichéd representation of his art in the international media.
The GIF “Fight the System” by Rachel Nyangombe questions power structures in the contemporary art system. By using the popular format GIF, the work becomes accessible, can be reproduced at will and distributed via smartphones.
The work “Untitled (What a Crypton)” by Gabriella Torres-Ferrer is a multimedia installation consisting of plantains and microcomputers that display real-time data on cryptocurrencies and decentralised technologies. The living sculpture is part of her ongoing series Mine Your Own Business, which explores the digital environment as part of a continuum of capitalist-colonial entanglements.
The video “The Sceptical Chemist (2018)” by Raul Walch was shot in Almeria, Spain. This area is known for its immense agricultural vegetable production for the European market and poor working conditions based on the exploitation of mostly migrant workers. Dressed in a white protective suit, common in the agricultural industry, the artist embodies the worker, the viewer and the chemist.
Outside the gallery you will find an installation Taxi Radio by Radio Kinzonzi: ‘I consider the taxi as a space of encounter.’ – Mega Mingiedi in Taxi Radio.