Congo Stars

23.09.2018-27.01.2019


Opening: 22.09.2018, 11 am

In cooperation with the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, the Kunsthalle Tübingen and the Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth.

Curated by: Sammy Baloji, Bambi Ceuppens, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Günther Holler-Schuster and Barbara Steiner

About the exhibition

Congo Stars shows Congolese popular paintings from the 1960s to the present day as well as Congolese contemporary art, also from artists now living in Paris and Brussles, with loans from the MRCA in Tervuren, the Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth, private collectors and from Austrian collections such as the Sammlung Armin Prinz der Österreichischen Ethnomedizinischen Gesellschaft, Sammlung Horvath Politischer Kunst, Weltmuseum Wien, Sammlung Peter Weihs et al..

The inclusion of Austrian collections offers an unusual view on the "Peinture Populaire" as they present rarely or never shown works from this genre. The anthropologist and physician Armin Prinz, who has built up the collection for the Österreichische Ethnomedizinische Gesellschaft as well as essential parts of the Sammlung Horvath Politischer Kunst since the early 1970s, did not collect according to aesthetic criteria, but selected the artworks based on contentual considerations. Hereby, the medial or documentary aspect of this art becomes particularly clear. Peter Weihs, on the other hand, was professor for ceramics at the "Academy of Fine Arts" in Kinshasa in the 1970s and 80s and, as such, had contact with the popular painters very early. Some of them, like Chéri Chérin, were also his students.

The confrontation of the "Peinture Populaire" with positions of Congolese contemporary art, which is an important aspect of the exhibition Congo Stars, can certainly be described as a novelty. The artists who live and work partly in the Diaspora (e.g. Paris or Brussels) or in the Congo - mainly in the capital Kinshasa - often have the same themes in mind as the "Peinture Populaire", but at the same time they have made themselves stand out clearly or emancipated themselves. Analytically, detailed, reaching many meta-levels, they work in different media.

With the addition of documentary material (photos, films, posters, etc.), the exhibition becomes a conglomeration of different information and visual media. In doing so, it achieves a density, modeled on the structure of a city, that for the visitors is almost overwhelming visually and in terms of content. Urban juggernauts such as the capital of the Congo are the role models. The synchronicity of information or the chaotic accumulation of different visualities creates an explosive and electric climate of a big city. This reflects this exhibition on a symbolic level.

The Congolese writer resident in Graz, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, created an imaginary location in 2016 by the name of Tram 83. While this place proceeds from the reality of Congolese cities – e.g. Lubumbashi und Kinshasa, it could nonetheless be almost anywhere – including Graz. This book forms the starting point for the Congo Stars exhibition.

In addition, Congo Stars places a special emphasis on the historical and current relations between Styria, Austria and the Congo, starting with diplomatic relations and educational programs in the 1960s, the founding of the Afro-Asian Institute in 1964, to the Congolese writer in residence Fiston Mwanza Mujila in Graz and Austrian collections of Congolese art.



The exhibition will be structured along the following chapters:

  • EXPLOITATION (of resources, mining, poverty, "Article 15" , political and economic situation);
  • MYTHOLOGY/ SPIRITUALITY (invocation of higher powers - Mami Wata, churches etc.);
  • BAR (the bar as a place between reality and imagination, as a place for business, pleasure, sexuality etc.);
  • STARS/PUBLIC HEROES (in politics, music, paintings, fashion, "sapeurs", sports and "afronauts");
  • MARKET/STREETS (city/urban space/urban theatre - multiple perspectives on the city and market life, also nostalgic views of landscape, village life and nature) and
  • HOME (private space/living room - portraits, interior, representation).


Both the works of popular paintings and contemporary artists will be shown along this structure. The focus is also on transitions between private, semi-public and public spaces.

In addition to these chapters, a TIMELINE will describe important events in the genesis of the Congo. However, linearity will be avoided by allowing both horizontal and vertical readings. Complementary to the paintings, posters, videos, reproductions and objects will be integrated. This is conducive to the mediation and contextualization of the exhibited works.


The exhibition will be shown in Kunsthaus Graz and Kunsthalle Tübingen.

Programme

 09.11.-
11.11.2018

10:00-17:00

BIG WIRBEL 2018. Congo Stars

Event> Kunsthaus Graz

Event

> Kunsthaus Graz

Impressions

Kunsthaus Graz

Lendkai 1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9200
kunsthausgraz@museum-joanneum.at

 

Opening Hours
Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 5pm


Guided tours
Sun 2pm (EN), Sat 3:30pm (GER), Sun & public holidays 11am (GER), exceptions may apply. For specific dates, please visit our calendar. Guided tours also on advance notice.

Architecture Tour 
during exhibition free times only, Sun 2pm (EN), Tue-Sun & public holidays (GER) 11am, 2pm & 3:30pm or upon request

Kunsthauscafé
Mon-Thurs 9am-11pm
Fri-Sat 9am-1am
Sun 9am-8pm
T: +43-316/714 957

 

31st December

24th/25th December