Een bezoeker blogt: Sorana Munsya

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 2) (c) Kristien Daem
Young Congo est une exposition qui a eu lieu à Kinshasa en 2017 à l’initiative de Kin ArtStudio (KAS). Elle a rassemblé les œuvres produites par de jeunes artistes congolais avec le soutien du KAS. Le KAS se veut être un laboratoire indépendant de la création contemporaine de la jeunesse kinoise. Laboratoire parce que comme l’a dit Pr. Lye M. Yoka (directeur général de l’Institut National des Arts de Kinshasa) l’objectif est d’« expérimenter les nouveaux sentiers de la recherche-action en phase à la fois avec les traditions « performantes » endogènes et les tendances esthétiques contemporaines et universalisées. ». Kinshasa est une ville dépourvue aujourd’hui d’institutions muséales détentrices de collections d’œuvres susceptibles d’être montrées dans des expositions à travers le monde. Les œuvres sont bien là, elles existent, mais restent dans la plupart des cas la propriété de collectionneurs privés rattachés à aucune institution.

L’action de collectionner en tant qu’individu est sans doute une action similaire dans les différents coins du globe. Ce qui différentie cet acte du nord au sud - acte qui sera soumis aux interprétations, aux confrontations et autres dialogues - est l’implication d’institutions dans l’acquisition d’œuvres d’art ou même dans le prêt ou l’acquisition de collections d’œuvres initiées par des individus. Sans vouloir surestimer ou surinvestir la mission d’accumulation d’œuvres par les institutions muséales, il semble évident que la démarche d’acquisition est différente lorsqu’elle est initiée par un individu ou lorsqu’elle est le fait d’une structure ayant des objectifs inhérents à sa nature.

Comme dit plus haut, la ville de Kinshasa n’a pas de musée d’art moderne et/ou contemporain. Les deniers publics étant très peu consacrés à la culture, la création contemporaine naît et se développe via des initiatives privées telles que le KAS. Le KAS, né en 2011 et fondé par l’artiste Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo, se concentre sur la création de jeunes artistes congolais. Il encourage la création dans le domaine des arts visuels et autres formes d’expression contemporaine, et favorise en même temps des échanges entre artistes et initiatives artistiques à travers le monde.

Partant de ces constats, il serait intéressant de réfléchir à l’institution muséale, non seulement dans sa nature et ses missions, mais aussi en fonction du contexte sociétale et économique dans lequel elle évolue. Le Mu.ZEE, dans sa démarche de dialogue entre sa collection et celle d’un collectionneur privé ayant acquis des œuvres originaires de Kinshasa, se connecte avec l’histoire et l’environnement socio-économique de la ville de Kinshasa mais fait aussi le choix intéressant en tant qu’institution publique d’échanger avec le regard d’un seul homme. Pourquoi ne pas également envisager à l’avenir le regard entre institutions ? Institution muséale avec centre de création contemporaine comme le KAS. De telle manière que la confrontation entre les deux structures ferait naître une réflexion tant au niveau de l’histoire mais aussi des pratiques et processus d’aujourd’hui menant à la production artistique dans un contexte comme celui de Kinshasa. Ce genre de dialogue entrerait dans la ligne des réflexions que s’impose le Mu.ZEE, à savoir revoir l’hégémonie des institutions occidentales sur celles africaines mais aussi considérer le musée, plus qu’un lieu d’histoire et d’accumulation d’œuvres, comme un lieu d’expérimentation et d’échanges de pratiques.

Sorana Munsya

Interviews door Sinzo Aanza: #8 Bebson de la Rue

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 1): Bebson de la Rue (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 8: Bebson de la Rue

English:

00:00    We are Congolese, Zaireans, 00:02
00:03    born and raised in Zaire. 00:07
00:07    Then the country changed its name, 00:09
00:09     and became Congo. 00:10
00:11     Previously the country was called Congo, 00:13
00:13     and we are now continuing as ‘Congo’. 00:14/
00:15     I myself 00:16
00:16     am called ‘Personne de la rue’, 00:19
00:20     who loves women. 00:21
00:21    Very beautiful women, 00:22
00:22     who are clean, who are tidy, 00:23
00:23     who know how to cook, 00:25
00:25     sweet, friendly. 00:27
00:28     In short, the real Congolese girls. 00:29/
00:30     High priest, 00:31
00:31     real priest, 00:32
00:33     despite the worldly pleasures 00:34
00:34     of which I’m attached… 00:35
00:36     … to 30%. 00:37/
00:38     Here we are working 00:40
00:40     in a studio. 00:41
00:42     We make everything here. 00:44
00:45     But to belong, it’s essential that 00:46
00:46     everyone plays his role in this world. 00:48
00:49     The role of this place is 00:50
00:50     to be a musical workshop. 00:51
00:52     Here we make musical instruments 00:54
00:54     and sounds. 00:56
00:57     We shape children, 00:58
00:58     babies, adults. 00:59
01:00     Lullabies, but also violent sounds, 01:02
01:03     dreamy sounds, 01:05
01:05     and sad sounds. 01:06
01:06    We make sounds for films, 01:08
01:08     master tapes.  01:10
01:10     And many other things. 01:13
01:13     This is a musical workshop. 01:14
01:14     The material that you see here, 01:16
01:17     is not aimed at maternity clinics. 01:19
01:19     Hospitals have their own materials. 01:20
01:20     These are not for that purpose. 01:21
01:21     These are more aimed at carpenters , 01:23
01:21     bricklayers, electricians, 01:25
01:25     farmers, those sorts of people. 01:27/
01:28     Before, actually, we 01:29
01:29     sung songs about this. 01:30/
01:31     We sang: 01:32
01:32:   Where we had to sow, we sowed. 01:35
01:35     To survive. 01:37
01:37     Like the plants that you see here: 01:39
01:39     all these vegetables, these tomatoes and so on. 01:42
01:43     This flag for example is a leaf. 01:44
01:44     Like the plants. 01:46
01:46     The difference being that this is plastic. 01:47
01:47     It’s actually the same, 01:48
01:48     because plastic, clothes, 01:50
01:50     rubber and those sorts of things 01:51
01:51     come from plants. 01:52
01: 52    Like the plants that we’re growing here. 01:57
01:58     So we plant where we have to 02:00
02:00     to be able to survive. 02:01
02:01     And also, everywhere that it’s dirty, 02:02
02:03     we’re going to clean, 02:04
02:04     for our honour and our salvation. 02:07
02:09     That is what we advocate. 02:10
02:11     This country is Congo, 02:12
02:12     our native country, 02:14
02:14     where so many intelligent people live. 02:15
02:16     Our ancestors were intelligent 02:19
02:19     and achieved amazing things. 02:20
02:20     Now it’s our turn. 02:22
02:22     We continue what we have learned from them, 02:29
02:30     namely that everyone has a role to play. 02:31
02:33     Our role is to make music. 02:34
02:34     This is what we like doing. 02:35
02:35     Singing, dancing, 02:37
02:37     we do everything. 02:38
02:38     And we also make 02:40
02:40     musical instruments. 02:41
02:42     Because there have been occasions 02:45
02:45     when we needed instruments, 02:46
02:46     but we didn’t have any. 02:47
02:47     How can we play music then? 02:49
02:49     We had to make the instruments ourselves. 02:50/
02:50     The quality was the result of our artistic ingenuity, 02:54
02:54     our own assessments, 02:55
02:55     always in search of what is good for us. 02:58
02:58     Our conclusion was that 03:01
03:01     we had to make our instruments ourselves 03:03
03:03     before being able to play. 03:04/
03:05     This for example is a drum from an aquarium. 03:09
03:09    And it goes like this… 03:10
03:11     I can for example play something like this … 03:12
03:23    So that is the drum. 03:24
03:25     Then we also have guitars. 03:26
03:27     This here, for example, is a guitar, 03:29
03:29     with a hard sound. 03:31
03:33     I play it with my heart. 03:34
03:48     Here we have a freshly made tambour…. 03 :58
03 :58    We collect 03 :59
04 :00    planks, iron wire, 04 :01
04 :01    plastic objects. 04 :02
04 :03    We make sure that there is a musical scale in it, 04 :04
04 :05    by using the same kind of musical strings 04 :06
04 :06    that you would find 04 :07
04 :07    in modern, Western instruments: 04 :08
04 :08    guitars and synthesisers. 04 :09
04 :09    The same strings 04 :11
04 :11    to be able to play accurate music. 04 :13/
04 :15    We make all kinds of things 04 :16
04 :16    that, for example, we send to Lusanga 04 :17
04 :17    or elsewhere 04 :19
04 :20    where we have partners. 04 :23
04 :23    Because relationships with others are important. 04 :28
04 :28    The instruments that we make 04 :30
04 :30    are our contribution 04 :31
04 :31    to the development of the world. 04 :32
04 :32    For our own assurance in the world. 04 :33
04 :33    That our products help our brothers 04 :35
04 :35    but also other people … 04 :38
04 :38    who could need them. 04 :42
04 :42    This creates exchanges between us. 04 :45
04 :46    We ourselves draw upon the help of others. 04 :47
04 :47    A lot of materials that we use here, 04 :48
04 :48    come from elsewhere. 04 :49
04 :50    And our products also go to others. 04 :52
04 :52    It’s about exchanges. 04 :53
04 :53    That is it, exchanging with people 04 :54
04 :54    with whom we enter into relationships. 04 :55
04 :56    It has always been our wish 04 :57
04 :57    that our products help other people. 05 :00/
05 :00    But beyond them, first and foremost 05 :02
05 :02    for ourselves, to survive. 05 :05
05 :05    We do our work for … 05 :07
05 :07    Here I have 05 :08
05 :08    chickens, tortoises and so on. 05 :09
05 :09    I breed animals. 05 :10
05 :10    I live together with the animals  05 :11
05 :12    in their natural environment. 05 :13
05 :13    When I play music, 05 :14
05 :14    my tortoise comes closer. 05 :15
05 :15    That gives me pleasure. 05 :16
05 :16    It is as though it interests the tortoise. 05 :18
05 :18    But ultimately I work for people, 05 :23
05 :24    from wherever, who are interested in my work 05 :27
05 :27    and can get something from it.  05 :28
05 :29    If they would like to thank me 05 :31
05 :32    with a simple money transfer 05 :33
05 :33    via Western Union or another way, 05 :35
05 :35    or just by saying ‘thank you’, 05 :36
05 :36    or ‘may God help you’, 05 :37
05 :37  all that I would gratefully receive. 05 :39

Interviews door Sinzo Aanza #7: Francis Mampuya

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 2): Sven Augustijnen & Francis Mampuya (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 7: Francis Mampuya

English:

0:00-0:03        I’m Francis Mampuya.
0:09-0:10        My second name is Nkita
0:10-0:12        But my professional name is Francis Mampuya.
0:17-0:21        I primarily want to talk about art,
0:22-0:25        but more specifically here in Kinshasa, in Congo.
0:26-0:29        Art is a difficult profession.
0:30-0:35        Life, and the situation in the country,
0:36-0:38        don’t make it easy
0:38-0:40        to keep making art
0:40-0:43        in this land.
0:45-0:49        It requires a great deal of sacrifice.
0:50-0:52        Because, even here,
0:54-0:56        for the work we deliver,
0:56-0:59        it’s difficult to find buyers
1:00-1:03        and there are no art galleries.
1:05-1:09        Often, the only people who can help us
1:09-1:11        are foreign partners.
1:13-1:14        It’s as if this profession
1:14-1:16        is only of interest to foreigners.
1:18-1:20        Here, the knowledge of art is
1:20-1:21        very limited.
1:23-1:30        Very few people are looking for artworks
1:30-1:31        to hang in their homes.
1:31-1:34        Art is not a preoccupation here
1:34-1:36        amongst the Congolese.
1:37-1:39        This is why
1:40-1:42        I sometimes call what we do
1:42-1:45        a suicidal profession.
1:46-1:52        We’re devoted to art
1:52-1:55        otherwise it would be impossible to continue in Congo.
1:56-1:59        This life and this situation are difficult.
1:59-2:01        On the material and economic front,
2:02-2:04        there are many problems.
2:04-2:07        If we, as artists, are devoted to art
2:08-2:10        then it’s because we were born into it.
2:10-2:14        So it’s in our blood.
2:15-2:16        Something in our blood.
2:17-2:20        I come from a family of artists.
2:21-2:36        By this I mean
2:37-2:40        that some of my ancestors
2:41-2:42        were sculptors
2:42-2:46        or architects.
2:48-2:49        Like my grandfather, for example.
2:50-2:52        He was a member of the Executive Board
2:52-2:55        of the superintendents of Notre-Dame de Kinshasa
2:56-3:02        and Saint-Paul in the municipality of Kinshasa.
3:04-3:08        I inherited these traits from my uncles.
3:09-3:10        They were all artists.
3:11-3:15        My entire family was predestined for art.
3:19-3:21        As far as the work is concerned, what we mainly lack
3:21-3:24        are galleries.
3:24-3:27        And people who can buy art.
3:29-3:32        These days you might make art
3:32-3:34        but you can’t find anyone who can buy it.
3:35-3:37        Finding a buyer is a matter of luck.
3:38-3:41        Those who have an eye for it
3:41-3:42        come from abroad.
3:43-3:45        Friends who have the opportunity to come here,
3:45-3:48        or diplomats, or someone on a mission.
3:48-3:51        They have the means to help us.
3:52-3:58        The works we offer for sale
3:58-4:04        raise just enough money to survive.
4:05-4:09        It’s not like artists from elsewhere
4:10-4:17        who are given grants.
4:18-4:19        It’s a bit different.
4:22-4:24        That’s why you see that for art
4:25-4:27        there are limits here today.
4:28-4:33        But we try to
4:34-4:35        make progress on many fronts.
4:36-4:37        That’s why there are still creations.
4:37-4:38        We’re not giving up.
4:38-4:40        Sometimes we also create things
4:40-4:44        that allow the whole world to
4:44-4:46        see that Congolese artists are also
4:47-4:49        creating valuable works.
4:50-4:52        Anywhere in the world you can
4:52-4:53        see popular artists.
4:53-4:56        Or colleagues who
4:56-4:57        realise something.
5:00-5:02        It’s therefore a great honour.
5:03-5:05        But the artists themselves,
5:05-5:07        they cannot make a living.
5:07-5:10        There’s nothing in it for them.
5:10-5:13        As far as the galleries are concerned, it’s often the case
5:14-5:24        that the gallery owner is more important.
5:23-5:28        You see that everywhere.
5:29-5:30        We find that if you
5:30-5:33        sell a work of art,
5:33-5:36        you might receive 200 or 100 dollars.
5:36-5:37        But once the piece ends up in Europe,
5:37-5:40        then the gallery owners can
5:40-5:47        set their own price.
5:48-5:52        As a result, we earn almost nothing ourselves.
5:55-5:59        I could say that you can’t put a price on art.
6:00-6:04        But the artist must also benefit
6:04-6:06        from his work, from his rights.
6:07-6:10        Copyright, publication rights and so on.
6:11-6:16        We do not have any real sources of income.
6:17-6:20        We have no one who takes care of copyright,
6:22-6:30        nor a place where the artist’s fees
6:30-6:31        from his rights and works
6:31-6:33        can be collected.
6:34-6:37        This is down to our own lack of organisation.
6:38-6:39        It’s a bit of that.
6:41-6:43        When I see art
6:43-6:46        in books
6:46-6:47        it gives me pleasure.
6:47-6:50        When I see art in catalogues
6:50-6:53        then it’s encouraging.
6:55-6:57        In the sense that the European galleries
6:57-6:58        exhibit your works.
6:58-6:59        That’s very good.
7:02-7:04        There’s always a complementarity
7:05-7:07        for us, for African artists.
7:11-7:13        We’re not opposed to the
7:13-7:15        complementarity with gallery owners.
7:16-7:18        But we must also benefit
7:18-7:20        from our own creations.
7:22-7:23        That’s pretty much the problem.