Congo as Fiction: Art Worlds between Past and Present (catalog Museum Rietberg)
Nanina Guyer, Michaela Oberhofer (Eds.)
Museum Rietberg Zürich & Scheidegger & Spiess, 2019
There is no single voice of the Democratic Republic of Congo but a multitude of diverse cultures and voices, contributing to a vibrant art scene that attracts interest from around the world. Nowhere in Africa is there an art scene more varied in form, media, and material.
Published to accompany an exhibition at Museum Rietberg in Zurich, Congo as Fiction: Art Worlds between Past and Present juxtaposes objects collected and photographs by the German anthropologist Hans Himmelheber during his journey to the Congo from 1938 to 1939 with works by contemporary Congolese artists and essays that investigate the fictions of Congo in both African and Western imaginations. The colorful masks and richly decorated everyday objects collected by Himmelheber reflect the extraordinary creativity and innovativeness of Congolese artists of the period but also the collector’s own idea of Congo. The book links the past with contemporary artistic production, showing how for many years Congolese artists like Sammy Baloji and Sinzo Aanza have been exploring in their work the effects of colonialism and globalized trade.