Exhibition of the artist couple Mukenge/Schellhammer with Lichtenhagen in April 2023

Exhibition of the artist couple Mukenge/Schellhammer with Lichtenhagen in April 2023

The Congolese-German duo Mukenge/Schellhammer are pioneers of postcolonial thought and action in contemporary Kinshasa. The duo finds themselves in contradictory situations in the changing social systems and situations between Europe and the Democratic Republic of Congo, recording their experiences and research in an ongoing artistic process that includes analog and digital paintings and drawings, experimental videos, urban interventions, and performances. Their particular collaboration makes it difficult to categorize them by cultural context, artistic tradition, and geographic origin. The two have been living and working between Europe and Kinshasa since 2016.
Working through different cultural, social and economic spaces, prejudices, personal perceptions and individual comfort zones are constantly challenged and regularly violated. An everyday experience that leads to a fragmented, multi-layered perspective in which fragments of cultural and personal conflicts are constantly reflected upon and questioned – allowing Mukenge/Schellhammer to develop contradiction into a conceptual approach that treats contradictions as contradictions rather than destroying them. By interpreting everyday traumas and culture shocks, the duo created a highly subjective approach to current issues such as globalization, postcolonialism, and interculturality. Their approach can be described as a microanalysis of individual and social reality that emphasizes shared beliefs, ideas, patterns, influences, and daily activities that embody the global conflicts, epistemologies, and ontologies of today’s colonial, neocolonial, and postcolonial world.
Mukenge/Schellhammer reflects, analyzes, demolishes and reconstructs stereotypes, simplifications, misunderstandings and subjective interpretations between different social, economic and cultural systems in Europe and Africa, with a special focus on contemporary pop culture and other popular cultural phenomena. The works not only refer to daily life in Kinshasa, but are also inspired by Congolese painting traditions such as “Peintre Populaire”. The visual result is a combination of expressive techniques, academic painting and popular mainstream, which aims to combine the “elite” techniques of “high art” with the aesthetics of popular mass culture – addressing issues of globalization, (post-) colonialism, appropriation and reappropriation in the extension of his artistic training and critical practice.
Due to their intellectual aptitude and artistic talent, the two received a commission from the city of Rostock to deal with the topic “Lichtenhagen 1992”. In their research, the artists made contact with the local population in Lichtenhagen and made friends with some of them in the Schaschlik Haus Rostock, communicating openly about the historical problems, but also about the current situation. The Schaschlik Haus Rostock is an Armenian restaurant, where there is also a German/Armenian connection that has similar cultural experiences as the German-Congolese artist duo.
Therefore, right from the beginning there was the same wavelength in the open communication on site, the result of the hard and diligent research of the artist duo will be exhibited in April 2023 in Rostock, you can be curious. The contact with the artist duo for me as a reporter with similar experience has already been for me an intellectual and cultural enrichment to a special extent. The meticulous diligence of the artists is also reflected in your works. As you can admire it on your homepage. You are very pleasant and extremely reliable and down to earth, which are the basic pillars, of your success and in my opinion the decisive difference to other artists.

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