Titled choreographies of the impossible and bringing together diverse artistic practices from different parts of the world, the 35th Bienal de São Paulo “wants to build spaces and times of perception that challenge the rigidity of western time linearity. What we see in this choreographic horizon are the strategies and policies of the movement that these practices have been creating in order to imagine worlds that confront the ideas of freedom, justice and equality as impossible achievements”, say Diane Lima, Grada Kilomba, Hélio Menezes and Manuel Borja-Villel, the curatorial collective of the exhibition.
For the curators, “the impossible refers to the political, legal, economic and social realities in which these artistic and social practices are set, but also to the way in which these practices find alternatives to circumvent the effects of these same contexts. The term choreography also helps us reflect on how the idea of moving freely remains at the core of a neoliberal conception of freedom. In line with the very paradox created by the title, we seek not to walk around a motif or to place thematic cores, but rather to make room for a continuous dance which we can choreograph together, even in difference.”
In his artistic work Sammy Baloji investigates the history of mining in his home city of Lubumbashi, located in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He contrasts the profound destruction of the environment and social structures to the memories and hopes of people in the Katanga region. Key elements of his artistic practice are to encourage collaboration between art producers, activists, and academics as well as bringing together many different kinds of knowledge and production. His invitation to 12 artists in both the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Europe with whom he regularly interacts is a continuation of this development of collective structures that he views as a strategy of resistance to extractivism, an economic model in which raw materials are “extracted” from nature.
Sammy Baloji and Younès Rahmoun are taking part in the collective exhibition “Our World is Burning“, cur. Abdellah Khartoum and Fabien Danesi
The exhibition Our World is Burning offers a fully political view of international contemporary creation seen from the Gulf, where wars and diplomatic tensions have constantly determined the history of the early 21st century. The title explicitly refers to the human disasters generated by the successive conflicts in this region, while bringing in as broadly as possible the ecological catastrophes…
Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
Younès Rahmoun, Nafas (Breath) and La-Nafas (Non-Breath), 2001. “Our World is Burning”, Palais de Tokyo, 2020. Photo: Aurélien Mole
Sammy Baloji is taking part in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, cur. Brook Andrew.
For his research project at NIRIN, he draws on these earlier works by confronting two operational cultural modes (the kasalaand lukasa) to critically approach the imposition of identity frontiers during the colonial period. Thus, his artistic research aims to capture these pre-colonial political and aesthetic codes and to create narrative devices, including the postcolonial socio-political framework.
Cockatoo Island, Sydney, Australia
Sammy Baloji, Kasala, The Slaughterhouse of Dreams or the First Human, Bende’s Error, 2019. 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Photo: Zan Wimberley.
Sammy Baloji is taking part in the collective exhibition “À toi appartient le regard entre et (…) la liaison infinie entre les choses” (“Who Is Gazing?”) at musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, cur. Christine Barthe.
Photography, video, installation: for the first time, the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is dedicating a major exhibition within its walls to contemporary images in all their forms. In the wake of its residency programme and surveys conducted over the last ten or so years, the exhibition presents twenty-six non-European artists from a variety of backgrounds, both young and emerging talents.
Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, France
Photo: Alessandra Bello
Sammy Baloji is taking part in the annual exhibition of the residents of l’Académie de France in Rome, cur. Lorenzo Romito
Image: Sammy Baloji, Mfuba’s extract, 2020, acrylic painting on paper. Installation view: French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici. Photo © Daniele Molajoli. Académie de France à Rome – Villa Médicis
Sammy Baloji, Mohssin Harraki and Younès Rahmoun are taking part in the exhibition Global(e) Resistance, pour une histoire engagée de la collection contemporaine, de Jonathas de Andrade à Billie Zangewa, cur. by Christine Macel, Alicia Knock and Yung Ma.
The exhibition Global(e) Resistance unveils for the first time the works of more than sixty artists gathered over the last decade, the majority of whom come from the Global South (Africa, Middle East, Asia, Latin America) and aims to examine contemporary strategies of resistance.
Global(e) Resistance also poses theoretical questions that range from the articulation of aesthetics and politics to the very relationship between the museum and politics within the art world.
Musée national d’art moderne/Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Exhibition view: Global(e) Résistance, Centre Pompidou, Galerie d’art graphique, Galerie du musée, Galerie 0 – Musée, niveau 4, Paris. 29 juillet 2020 – 4 janvier 2021. Crédit photo : Centre Pompidou/Audrey Laurans
The exhibition presents works from the MMK collection ranging in date from the early 1960s to the present, including some of the museum’s newest acquisitions.
TOWER MMK, TaunusTurm, Frankfurt am Main
Image: Sammy Baloji, Tales of the Copper Cross Garden: Episode I, 2017, MUSEUM MMK FÜR MODERNE KUNST, photo: Axel Schneider
Sammy Baloji and Sinzo Aanza are taking part in the collective exhibition Kinshasa, la ville vue par ses artistes contemporains, cur. : Dominique Malaquais, Sébastien Godret, Fiona Meadows, Claude Allemand, and Éric Androa Mindre Kolo.
Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine, Paris, France — co-produced with MIAM, Sète
Image: Sinzo Aanza, Épreuve d’allégorie, 2017. ph. Gaston Bergeret – Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Paris, 2020.
The Rmn – Grand Palais is taking part in the Africa 2020 Season by inviting the artist Sammy Baloji to create two exceptional sculptures for the pedestals of the facade of the Grand Palais, on the Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau side., cur. Chris Deacon.
Image: Sammy Baloji, Johari – Brass Band, 2020. © Collection Grand Palais, photo Didier Plowy
Villa Médicis — Villa Kujoyama — Casa de Velázquez
Image: Sammy Baloji, Tales of the Copper Cross Garden, Episode 1, Photo © Louise Quignon – Hans Lucas pour le festival ! Viva Villa!
Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Pera Museum in Istanbul bids farewell to 2020 with an exhibition highlighting the global crisis under the influence of the pandemic. “Crystal Clear”, curated by Elena Sorokina, brings together the works of twenty artists from different countries and generations who engage with the questions of transparency and opacity, earth and de-growth, and the extractive logic that we have to challenge.
Image: Sammy Baloji, Détail de site d’extraction artisanale #2, 2012, from the series Kolwezi
Born out of the collaboration between the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) in Marrakech and the National Museum of the History of Immigration in Paris, the exhibition What is forgotten and what remains explores the concept of transmission through the works of eighteen artists from the African continent and its diasporas. It brings together heritage and movement, addressing questions of frontiers and migration, of links between generations, of history and memory on both sides of the Mediterranean and within the African continent. Paintings, weavings, sculptures, videos, installations, performances, some commissioned from artists representative of the vitality of African art, focus equally on exchanges and ruptures, on that which is forgotten, omitted, rendered invisible.
Curated by Meriem Berrada & Isabelle Renard
Image: Sammy Baloji, Retour à l’authenticité, vue de la Pagode du Président Mobutu, N’sele, Kinshasa, 2013. Exhibition view © Palais de la Porte Dorée, Photo Anne Volery
Truth and fiction, and the dissonance between imagined futures and contemporary existence are powerfully interpreted through the photographs of Sammy Baloji and Ade Adekola. Through their work, the exhibition Reframing the Exotic examines the impacts of economic imperialism and globalisation, and the devastating and consequential effects on natural resources, the environment and black communities
Image: exhibition view, Cairns Art Gallery, 2021
THIS IS NOT AFRICA – UNLEARN WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED disrupts a conventional and stereotypical western narrative of Africanness. It includes works that in various ways parody, break through, deconstruct or establish new cognitive parameters and forms of expression. By way of exception, ARoS is going to create an art satellite in close collaboration with the ambitious and artistic powerhouse SCCA and Red Clay in Ghana.
Sammy Baloji, Kasala: The Slaughterhouse of Dreams or the First Human, Bende’s Error, Imane Farès, Paris, 2020. Photo © Tadzio
The installation, which incorporates an audio witness from the past: Albert Kudjabo, a Congolese soldier who volunteered to fight in 1914 in Belgium, crystallizes various (hi)stories: the continued impact of Belgian colonialism and extractives of natural ressources from the Congo, and the shadow histories of Congolese soldiers enrolled within the Belgian army during Wold War I.
In cooperation with In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres.
Sammy Baloji, … and to those North Sea waves whispering sunken stories, 2021.
Both the Middelheim Museum and the University of Antwerp are situated where the Colonial College was founded in 1920. More than one hundred years later, the Middelheim Museum confronts and examines the traces of the (post)colonial history of the site. It does so by bringing together new historical research with contemporary artistic views. Congoville invites artists to reimagine the Middelheim terrain as a renewed historical and public space.
“Today, as a free and an open air art museum, the Middelheim has the democratic potential to invite diverse visitors to look at colonial and postcolonial history through the eyes of black flâneurs of the world, and to transform Congoville from being a creation of colonial exploitation to a map for a future postcolonial utopia.” (Sandrine Colard)
Sammy Baloji, Untitled (2018) & The Other Memorial (2015). Exhibition view: Middelheim Museum, Antwerp. Photo: Léonard Pongo
Resident at the Villa Medici in Rome in 2019, he presents the results of his research on the political, religious and commercial exchanges that took place between the Kongo kingdom, Portugal and the Vatican as early as the 16th century. The exhibition brings together two groups of works: a set of drawings and objects made from motifs borrowed from Kongo fabrics, and a selection of tapestries that are part of famous Indian hangings.
Photo © Martin Argyroglo
This exhibition brings together two artists from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sammy Baloji and Bodys Isek Kingelez, whose work shares an exploration of warped colonial legacies alongside visions of future living. Whilst Kingelez makes precise, delicate and detailed models offering imagined propositions for a vibrant cityscape, Baloji draws our eye to people living in the city today and moments of utopia that exist in the day-to-day urban fabric.
This exhibition is part of the Director’s Programme for Glasgow International, Scotland’s largest festival for contemporary art.
Installation view Glasgow International 2021, photo: Matthew Arthur Williams
The installation at In Flanders Fields Museum consists of image, sculpture and sound, and juxtaposes divergent visions – aerial and horizontal, Western and indigenous – in an attempt to explore what connects them. While images reveal man’s impact on nature, from trenches over shell and mine craters to wounded trees, the artist invites his audience to reflect on the current era with its roots in imperialism and colonialism.
Photo © Birger Stichelbaut
Presented to commemorate the centenary of the death of Louis Ducos du Hauron (1837-1920), who invented color photography, the exhibition brings together more than one hundred works by nineteen photographers, authors and artists, around the pioneers William Eggleston, Ernst Haas, Saul Leiter, who, by bringing color photography into the museum in the 1960s and 1970s, allowed it to attain the status of work of art reserved until then for black and white photography.
Dir. by. : Sammy Baloji and David N. Bernatchez
Rumba Rules dives into the chaotic life of Kinshasa, filming the Brigade Sarbati orchestra, which whips up Congolese rumba to create mutant music, between tradition and modernity. An energizing flash, filled with life(s) and stories.
“EUROPA, Oxalá” revolves around memorial and postcolonial studies, two interdisciplinary fields in themselves, and offers the opportunity to discover a set of European artists and intellectuals, whose parents are mainly from the ancient colonies of empires overseas.
Curators: António Pinto Ribeiro, Katia Kameli and Aimé Mpane Enkobo.
The exhibition will travel to Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisboa) from April to July 2022 and to the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale/AfricaMuseum (Tervuren), from Sept. to December 2022.
Image: Untitled, Sammy Baloji, 2018, 41 mortal shells, interior plants; exhibition view: Our World Is Burning, Palais de Tokyo, 2020. Photo © Aurélien Mole
Exhibition and seven acts inspired by the work of American anarchist artist Christopher D’Arcangelo interpreted by personalities of the contemporary international art scene.
Curated by Pierre Bal-Blanc
Exhibition view: ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, 2021
Sammy Baloji’s first solo exhibition in Italy, conceived specifically for the Andito degli Angiolini of Palazzo Pitti, is a new and extended chapter of his ongoing reflection on and dialogue with a series of artefacts and archives dating back to the Kingdom of Kongo.
Photo © Uffizi, Florence
The Antwerp public art collection (Kunst in de Stad) proudly presents a new permanent commission by artist Sammy Baloji. Invited to create a work for Antwerp’s public space, the artist was immediately drawn to the river Scheldt, acknowledging it as the gateway between ‘here’ and ‘there’, the city and the world, but also, more poignantly, between Belgium and Baloji’s native Congo.
Grandhomme & Bennani, SB – Lukasa, 2021
The ambition of the Geneva Biennale–Sculpture Garden is to establish itself as a major summer artistic event for the region, offering Geneva, its inhabitants and its many national and international visitors an outdoor exhibition of high-caliber during the whole summer period. Initiated and organized by artgenève in collaboration with the MAMCO (Geneva’s contemporary art museum) and the City of Geneva, the Biennale’s third edition is curated by Devrim Baya
© Studio Alice Franchetti
Conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor and curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (SB15) reflects on Enwezor’s visionary work, which transformed contemporary art and established an ambitious intellectual project that has influenced the evolution of institutions and biennials around the world.
Hoor Al Qasimi interprets and re-envisions the titular proposal by the late thinker to critically center the past within the contemporary moment. Al Qasimi develops the concept of ‘thinking historically in the present’ by adopting a working methodology that privileges the role of intuition and incidence. Acknowledging the effect Enwezor’s documenta 11 had in transforming her curatorial consciousness, she also builds upon her own long-term relationship with the Biennial, as visitor, artist, curator, and eventually, as director of the Foundation, an institution that came into being as a result of the Biennial, a fact Enwezor appreciably recognized.
“What does it mean to be ‘an agent of change’? (…) Over the past nine months, in hundreds of conversations, text messages, Zoom calls and meetings – stated Lesley Lokko – the question of whether exhibitions of this scale — both in terms of carbon and cost — are justified, has surfaced time and again. In May last year, I referred to the exhibition several times as ‘a story’, a narrative unfolding in space. Today, my understanding has changed. An architecture exhibition is both a moment and a process. It borrows its structure and format from art exhibitions, but it differs from art in critical ways which often go unnoticed. Aside from the desire to tell a story, questions of production, resources and representation are central to the way an architecture exhibition comes into the world, yet are rarely acknowledged or discussed. From the outset, it was clear that the essential gesture of The Laboratory of the Future would be ‘change’.”