De grote rotonde van het Koninklijk Museum voor Midden-Afrika: Re/Store
Aimé Mpane, Jean Pierre Muller (Eds.)
Afrika Museum, 2022
The Royal Museum for Central Africa was founded in 1898, but the official opening of the current building did not take place until 1910 and was characterized by many symbols that reflect the colonial propaganda of the time. The large rotunda, designed as the entrance to the museum, houses a series of statues that are striking examples of the zeitgeist and stereotypes with a fundamentally racist slant.
Between 2013 and 2018, the RMCA underwent an extensive renovation during which the permanent exhibition was thoroughly redecorated, with the help of members of the African diaspora in Belgium. A major challenge in this renovation was the goal of decolonizing a building that is classified as a protected monument and therefore legally cannot be converted. Since the original images were not allowed to be removed, the museum was forced to do this in an original way. In particular, it proposed to contemporary African artists to create installations that engage in dialogue, contrast and discussion with the colonial symbols.
The Congolese artist Aimé Mpane was selected to realize such a work in the roundabout from 2018. He created Nieuwe Adem or Awakening Congo, but the AfricaMuseum quickly understood that it had to go a step further in order to meet its audience. Together with the Belgian artist Jean Pierre Müller, Aime Mpané then presented, in addition to the creation of a second sculpture, the RE/STORE project: the permanent installation of transparent meshes stretched in front of each niche of the rotunda, each with a contemporary message. The themes, strong and explicit, impress the visitors of the museum.
This richly illustrated book contains texts by renowned experts on the history of the roundabout and its images, and on the semantic and plastic analysis of RE/STORE. It contains the complete catalog of the installations, images and gauzes. IN DUTCH