Whatever you think you know about the Democratic Republic of Congo’s past, the Fondation Cartier politely invites you to leave it at the threshold of Jean Nouvel’s gleaming glass box.
Once inside, you’ll encounter an entirely different (and ultimately refreshing) interpretation, as seen through the eyes of some of the Central African country’s leading artists in Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko.
The celebrated exhibition comprises 350 works by 41 talents across a number of mediums, including painting, photography, music, sculpture and comic art. Curated by contemporary African art connoisseur André Magnin, it charts the progression of almost a century of creativity in the region, from the naissance of modern painting in the 1920s to the present day.
The starting point was selected because of its importance in history; it was then, when the land was still a Belgian colony, that Congolese artists first put paint to paper. Works from early pioneers of the medium, including Albert and Antoinette Lubaki show geometric representations of the natural world and village life, juxtaposed with dreamlike abstractions.
The expo goes on to observe the development of style and subject through the decades. From the new wave of ‘popular painters’ in 1970s, such as Chéri Samba and Moke – who began to introduce urban elements into their art – to extant talents JP Mika and Monsengo Shula, who have taken it one step further to confront current events and challenges in their works. Beautiful, indeed.
Until 15 Nov, 2015.
Fondation Cartier / 261 blvd Raspail, 14th / +33 1 42 18 56 50 / 11am-10pm Tue, 11am-8pm Wed-Sun / fondation.cartier.com