Skoto Gallery presents ‘Erased’ by Aimé Mpané
529 West 20th Street, 5FL. New York, NY 10011 212-352 8058
March 10th – April 9th, 2011
Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Erased, an exhibition of recent sculpture and painting by the Congolese-born artist Aime Mpane who divides his time between Kinshasa and Brussels. This is his third solo exhibition at the gallery. The reception is on Thursday, March 10th, 6-8pm, and the artist will be present.
Aimé Mpane’s work embodies the pain and grace of human conflict drawn from an informed political consciousness and awareness of Africa’s colonial history. His work indicts the social and political reality around him, a reality shaped by a perspective wrought out of his ability to express universal human emotions, deep understanding of the aesthetic and cultural character of the African continent and an abiding interest in redefining the relationship between reality and art. The history of his homeland – Democratic Republic of Congo – with memory of the brutalities instigated during the 19th century by King Leopold II of Belgium, continuing through the legacy of colonialism and the ensuing ravages of war and economic missteps in the post-colonial period is emblematic in this sense, revealing deep tragic outcome on the Congolese people in which trauma and the memory of trauma are central.
Aime Mpane mines the theme of power and vulnerability in society as he engages with the past and present. His emotionally charged sculptural installation is imbued with enigmatic beauty inscribed with individual and collective identity. His work reflects subtle understanding of context, respect for tradition and awareness of the crucial links between function and experimentation. Despite the fact that he does not avoid the significance of content in his work, they still manage to tell stories of hope and courage, of compassion and resilience that speak to the triumph of the human spirit.
Included in this show is “Ici on crève”, 2006-2008, a series of fifty portraits in rough-cut wood panels that was recently included in The Human Stain at Touched: 2010 Liverpool Biennial in Great Britain, and the 2009 exhibition Artists in Dialogue: António Ole and Aimé Mpane at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. The series began as portraits of people – mostly women and children – around him during frequent visits to Kinshasa, deftly using the adze to play with the tactility of wood, following its nature and highlighting its expressive potential. The resulting portraits are gritty, seductive and blunt in their varied forms. In group they make poignant statement about our common humanity, and as Lorenzo Fusi, curator of Touched: 2010 Liverpool Biennial has observed “The exploration of the material, an investigation carried out beyond the surface of the painting, allows Aime Mpane to enter the psyche and emotional locus of the people and, more broadly, it enables the artist to narrate the history of an entire place”.
Aime Mpane was born 1968 into a family of master artists in Kinshasa, DR Congo. He graduated in Sculpture from the Academie des Beaux-Arts, Kinshasa in 1990 and obtained advance degree at the Ecole National Superieure des Art Visuels de La Cambre, Brussels, Belgium in 2000. Exhibitions include “Perceptions”, GlazenhuIs Amstelpark, Amsterdam, 2010; “Ntonga Sa”, Am Ostwall Museum of Contemporary Art, Dortmund, Germany in 2009, “Three One-Person Exhibitions” (with James Little and George Smith), Station Museum, Houston, 2007; and Musee de Katanga, Lubumbashi, DR Congo, 2002 and “Africa Sana”, Quai Antoine 1er, Monaco in 2001. He is in several public and private collections in Africa, Europe and the US. Awards include 2006 Prix de la Fondation Jean-Paul Blachère, Dak’Art Bienniale, Dakar, Senegal.