Monsengo Shula, Roi satellite, 2012, Farida and Henri Seydoux Collection ©

Congo Stars

09-03-2019 - 30-06-2019

The exhibition CONGO STARS will show popular painting dating from the 1960s to today, side by side with contemporary art using other artistic means. In cooperation with the Kunsthaus Graz, the Royal Museum of Central Africa Tervuren, the Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth and PICHA in Lubumbashi, about 150 works will be presented by about 70 Congolese artists who live in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Brussels or Paris.

The conceptual departure point for the exhibition is Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s novel Tram 83, in which the author describes an imaginary place which may refer to the social reality of Congolese metropolises but cannot be associated with any concrete city. The exhibition also builds an imaginary place that draws on different realities and in doing so interweaves politics, exploitation, corruption, violence, religion, mythology, spirituality, star cult and everyday life, as well as pleasure, passion and sensual desire.

The tour of the exhibition unfolds along six chapters – Street, Bar, At home, Mythology, Stars, Exploitation. The real and imaginary places and spaces which are dovetailed have community- and identity-building functions and condense aspects of the fictional. A timeline with a great diversity of music stations, texts and originals provides information on the history of the events and on the context of Congolese art.

The exhibition title addresses popular culture, stars and heroes of Congolese society. It also refers to the stars on the national flag, the changing political systems and regimes, for not only the name of today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo was altered according to the state doctrine, but also the appearance of the national flags. CONGO STARS even points to an actual ‘reaching for the stars’, that is, Zaire’s short-lived but ambitious space programme under President Mobuto in the 1970s, which the latter attempted to implement with the support of the German company OTRAG – Orbital Transport Raketen Aktion Gesellschaft.

CONGO STARS however is anything but a “national” show of achievements of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Instead, it mixes the real experiences, projections, dreams and longings of artists who live in the Congo and in Europe. What is also tangible for the visitor is not least the longing for a positively-connoted social space located territorially and temporally ‘outside’ – a perspective for the future.



Sammy Baloji, Bambi Ceuppens, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Günther Holler-Schuster and Barbara Steiner.


gefördert im Fonds TURN der