Christ Mukenge and Lydia Schellhammer = Duo Mukenge/Schellhammer
Who are you? What do you do?
We are guinea pigs for post-postcolonial thought and practice, living and working between Europe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Where are you from?
Democratic Republic of Congo and Germany.
Your style in 3 words?
Challenge comfort zones.
Your weakness? Your strength?
Being from two very different cultural backgrounds; it’s a weakness and a strength in the same time.
What makes you different?
When did you decide to become an artist?
Christ Mukenge: During my studies of classic painting at the art academy in Kinshasa I discovered contemporary art. During a performance of Stephen Cohen, that’s when I decided that I wanted to become a professional artist.
Lydia Schellhammer: When I realised that being an artist is one of the rare situations where you can be influential and independent in the same time.
What do you find most fascinating about your work?
We’re fascinated a lot about the conceptual work that we do before the actual realization of the visual work. A work that challenges us every time on a personal level; when working in between different cultural, social, and economic spaces, predisposed personal perceptions and individual comfort zones are constantly questioned and regularly demolished.
A few words about your favourite creation?
Our exhibition “Komplexé” at the French institute in Kinshasa. “Komplexé“ is a local expression in Kinshasa, often used to describe an inferiority or a superiority complex, depending on one’s geographic origin. It was a very funny exhibition as we used a lot of slang and provoking stuff that is said by young people in Kinshasa.
Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…
The work of Mega Mingiedi inspires us because of his interaction with urban spaces, and also the expressive paintings of Jean Michel Basquiat on a technical level. We’re also learning a lot during our work with Gintersdorfer/Klaßen.
Who would you like to work with someday and why?
We’re currently working with Sinzo Aanza and the art critic Jean Kamba, which is a dream that is coming true.
A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?
Our upcoming project is “Laboratoire Kontempo”, an experimental format that wants to undermine postcolonial power structures in the international contemporary art scene. It’s a project that we started two years ago but the subject became even more important because of the black life matters movement and all the questions that came along with this movement.
Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“
…the alien department that is controlling our lives.
2020: Where are we going?
In post-pandemic psychosis.
When the going gets tough…
Your city’s favourite spots?
The bars of the “24 Novembre” street, close to the art academy in Kinshasa.
Put on your future vision glasses: What direction is our generation moving in, what will our world look like in 50 years?
The world is going to be hybrid: hybrid humans, hybrid animals, hybrid identities.
What would you do if you could change the World?
We would let the animals reign us.
If the universe is everything and it’s expanding, what is it expanding into?
In a giant painting of a pig with glasses.
Tell us about your future plans…
We’re supposed to start an artist residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, but we’re still struggling with the visa for Christ and don’t know yet if we can go there as planned…
Your city’s favourite spots?
The Malewa “chez Yamado”, a street restaurant with a lovely owner.
Last but not least: what is your favourite Song?
One last statement please: „Wood or stone, gold or art?“
All of it