Tuesday, 3 February 2009


529 West 20th Street,
New York, NY 10011
Tel: 212-352 8058

Untitled I, 2008, mixed media on wood panel, 32cmx78cm


Aimé Mpané Recent Work

February 12th – March 21st, 2009

Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Faces, an exhibition of recent mixed media work by the Congolese-born artist Aime Mpane. This will be his second solo show at the gallery. The reception is Thursday, February 12th, 6-8pm. Aime Mpane’s mixed media work consistently chronicle contemporary historical upheavals in post-colonial Africa, including the present turmoil in his homeland and forces us to confront its impact on the lives of children, the most vulnerable in society and re-imagine the innocence of youth as victim of war. Internal conflicts, ethnic strife and socioeconomic catastrophes have increased tremendously in recent years over control of the natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and consequently, children have become targets as their world is suddenly turned upside down due to invasion or forced internal displacement that often separate families, driving them onto the road as refugees or displaced person while putting their homes, schools, communities in the firing line. Also, internal conflicts are often linked to the disintegration of state structures which can create situations of such anarchy that almost all the mechanism to protect children’s rights no longer function. Harnessing a capacious imaginative energy and a ferocious will, Aime Mpane mines the themes of power and vulnerability in society and implicates our collective unconsciousness in a hidden scandal and secret shame. He creates a body of work of harrowing beauty and insightfulness that constitute a remarkable statement about children and war, simultaneously playing on the ambivalences that assert the strength and fragility of his subjects, revealing a deep tragic outcome in which trauma and the memory of trauma are central. He utilizes the extreme gesture and emotionality of his medium by slashing, chipping and chopping with the adze – a traditional wood carving tool - on wood panel, illuminating the various faces of war in their raw, awkward and blunt forms, evocative of the diverse states of the human condition from the political to the metaphysical - a fit metaphor for the violence and dire conditions that have befallen the country throughout most of its modern history. A fundamental tension is also at the heart of his work, a tension between form and meaning, figure and background as well as fragmentation and wholeness. However, despite the fact that Aime Mpane’s work never avoided the significance of content, they still manage to tell stories of love and courage, of compassion and resilience that speak to the triumph of the human spirit. He is truly a warrior-artist whose work embodies the pain and grace of human conflict. Aime Mpane was born 1968 into a family of artists in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and graduated in Sculpture from the Academie des Beaux-Arts, Kinshasa in 1990.and Ecole National Superieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre, Bruxelles, Belgium in 2000. He presently teaches Sculpture at the Academie International d'Ete de Wallonie, Libramont, Belgium and as a Visiting Professor at the Academie des Beaux-Art in Kinshasa. Exhibitions include L’homme est un Mystere3, Musee d’art et d’histoire, St. Brieuc, France 2008/2009, Le Congo en Marche, Le Botanique, Bruxelles, 2007; Three One-Man Exhibition, Station Museum, Houston (with James Little and George Smith) 2007; Havana Biennial 2003; Africa for Africa, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles 2003, Musee de Katanga, Lubumbashi, Congo 2002, Africa Sana, Quai Antoine Ier, Monaco and Centre Cultural Français, Kinshasa in 1991. Awards include Prix de la Fondation Jean-Paul Blachère Dak’Art Bienniale, Dakar, Senegal 2006. Related Exhibition: Artists in Dialogue: Antonio Ole (Angola) and Aimé Mpané (DR Congo)February 4th – August 2nd, 2009National Museum of African ArtSmithsonian Institution, Washington DC

No comments: