In a very knowledgeable and interesting essay by Simon Delobel accompanying the present show with works by Jean Katambayi Mukendi (1974) at Stroom, the suggestion is made to call the artist’s work ‘outsider art.’
However, that would be the easiest way to marginalise it, in spite of the status outsider art has claimed since the invention of that label in 1972.
It should be recognised (and clearly Delobel and Stroom are doing so) that there are places in this world where daily life has to be lived, and sometimes even survived, in its extremes and where art has to be reinvented from scratch under these circumstances.
Such a process is more ‘inside’ than ‘outside’.
That opens possibilities to reconsider art and its functions and purposes.
Katambayi Mukendi, born, raised, living and working in Lubumbashi – second biggest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and capital of the copper mining province of Upper Katanga – , started out as an electrician and a mathematician.
His works as presented at Stroom (as part of his residency in The Hague), can be seen as thinking processes about society and the world of an artist-teacher-student.
He is the third artist in the series Attempts to Read the World (Differently). The others are Max de Waard (1992) and Monira Al Qadiri (1983) whose shows i missed unfortunately, but a work of each is still on show.
[Click on the pictures to enlarge]
© Villa Next Door 2017
Content of the pictures courtesy to the artists and Stroom Den Haag.