Roland Gunst | Nkisi N'Kondi
Roland Gunst is well known for his work and research in areas of correlation between Africa and Europe. His own identity and heritage led him to this. His father is Belgian and his mother Congolese. He was raised in the Congo until the age of twelve where his father was a specialist in the production of natural rubber since 1953 (during the period of colonization) Find rubber amongst various other materials used in his work, especially the work on show, as signifiers of power and appetite, rubber, once a symbol of colonial exploitation of Congo by Belgium, is now brought to symbolize decolonization, from an Afropean perspective. What would Afropeanism look like? What would its symbols, craft, embellishment, present as? Mostly, not exclusively, he works in video and performance. This exhibition marks a new interest in the physical object endowed with meaning and energy that goes further than the object itself. Nkisi N’Kondi literally translates to Power figure. It draws on both Congolese tradition and European colonial habits of appropriation, exoticism. It speaks to what the artist refers to as TRANSCANIBAL, which can be understood as a kind of hypothesis. It supposes the next step toward African and European hybridization. These are well crafted, delicate objects that could easily slip into one of the displays in the traditional African Art, Craft and Collectables shops surrounding the gallery. It could also look like an ethnographic museum exhibit. These are all factored into this show, they are not coincidences. As such this exhibition speaks of a new hybrid but also the colonial practices of collecting, categorizing, display and ultimately consumption of foreign culture. The ethnographic is one key language which the artist disrupts and recodes. Nkisi N’Kondi is a new addition to an ongoing investigation into TRANSCANIBAL, crossing and breaking barriers of gender, social and cultural hierarchies and leading ways to a future not prescribed by the monoliths of capitalism and patriarchy.