Geneva based artist and researcher Aurélien Gamboni will develop the project “Ex imis ad culmina | Conversations around a Table” for the 5th edition of the Lubumbashi Biennale, opening on the weekend of the 7th of October 2017. Gamboni’s artistic method involves the use of particular “objects” – images, texts, historical fragments – which become tools through which to speak about contemporary questions in a new way. For the Biennale, he brings the resonant painting The Conjurer by the Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch, an artwork with which he has been engaged for some time:
“Although dating back to the beginning of the 16th century, the painting surprisingly appears to evoke some of the most contemporary forms of attention management and manipulation. Somewhere between the “enchantment of technology and the technology of enchantment”, as anthropologist Alfred Gell puts it, The Conjurer allows us to question the ways in which our attention is being captured and translated into value, oriented towards or distracted from various political objects, and the necessity to regain a certain power over these processes,” he says.
Gamboni proposes to use the painting as a touchstone for exploring these questions and their historical resonances in the dense and indeed fraught context of contemporary Lubumbashi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In collaboration with the Lushois film-maker Douglas Masamuna, an initial presentation of the project concept in the context of the opening weekend of the Biennale will be followed by an extended engagement in the closing days of the Biennale in early November, involving meetings, discussions and interviews with a diverse group of people in Lubumbashi. The intention is also to explore the possibility that the moment of the Biennale, rather than being a point of conclusion for a finished work, can rather be a point of departure for future exchanges and collaborations with artists in the Katanga region.
For more about the work of Aurelien Gamboni visit his website.
About the Lubumbashi Biennale:
An important showcase of the art scene of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lubumbashi Biennale aims to explore the latest developments in contemporary creation, while shedding light on the reality of cultural interactions in Central Africa. It was created in 2008 by the artistic collective Picha, originally with a stronger focus on photography and the status of images in contemporary creation.
The 5th edition of the Biennial, entitled Eblouissements, borrows from the work of sociologist Joseph Tonda, in order to question the wonders, seductions, illusions and blindness of our present système-monde and its mutations, as well as the disruptive potential of artistic and social strategies.
The Biennial proposes a process of immersion for the invited artists, who are encouraged to travel to Lubumbashi before the venue, in order to produce a contextual work in collaboration with local artists and communities. The exhibition and public events programme will take place from October 7 to November 12 in several locations in Lubumbashi – such as the National Museum, the Fine Arts Institute, the French Institute and the Kalukuluku market.