Enter the dreamlike world of Kiripi Katembo at Galerie MAGNIN-A in Paris until July 29, 2023. This extraordinary exhibition showcases the work of the Congolese photographer and filmmaker, who left a powerful legacy before his untimely death at the age of 36. Kiripi Katembo’s unique photographic aesthetic and sublimated vision of Kinshasa come to life through a selection of carefully chosen prints and a captivating video from his iconic “Un regard” series, shot between 2008 and 2013. The exhibition also features “Voiture en carton“, a short film unveiled at the Centre Pompidou in 2008 during the 4th edition of the Pocket Films Festival, which takes visitors on a journey through a working-class district of Kinshasa.
Born in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kiripi Katembo has devoted his artistic efforts to documenting and interpreting the complex reality of the capital. His deep connection with the social fabric of Kinshasa is revealed in his work, which highlights the challenges faced by its inhabitants. Through his art, Kiripi Katembo has sought to raise awareness and mobilize, drawing attention to the inactivity of political leaders in the face of the problems of insalubrity and pollution.
A student at the Beaux-Arts in Kinshasa, Kiripi Katembo initially explored painting and videography as a means of reflecting his urban environment. But it was following an unexpected encounter that his first photographic series, “Un regard“, was born. Confronted with the discomfort of city dwellers in front of the camera lens, he was inspired by reflections in puddles. According to him, “the inhabitants are not at ease when they have a camera in front of them. (…) As I fled their gaze, I came across the reflections in the water, which opened up a somewhat surreal window with many details that correspond very well to the reality of my city”.
Through the lens of these stagnant puddles, Kiripi Katembo sought to depict a different reality – beyond the ubiquitous documentation of disorganization and chaos. His photographs reveal landscapes populated by shadows and objects, inviting viewers to imagine stories about this sublimated everyday life. The titles of his works, such as “Errer”, “Subir” and “Tenir“, sound like poignant appeals to the people of Kinshasa, a raw poetry that captures the concerns, violence and harsh reality of their lives. Kiripi Katembo saw photography as a means of introspection, often wondering whether each photograph could be considered a painting in itself.
In addition to his achievements as a photographer, Kiripi Katembo was also a filmmaker. His documentary films bear powerful witness to the social and political conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through captivating narratives, he gave a voice to the population, sparking reflection and discussion on the environmental challenges they faced.
Kiripi Katembo’s untimely death in 2015 from malaria was a profound loss to the art world. He was widely recognized as one of the most influential Congolese artists of his generation. Throughout his career, he has been a unifying force and fervent advocate of the Congolese art scene. In 2014, he founded the Yango Biennale, a major cultural initiative aimed at giving visibility to Congolese artists. The biennale has become a platform for exchange and dialogue between local and international creators, playing a central role in promoting contemporary art and recognizing emerging talent from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the captivating world of Kiripi Katembo at Galerie MAGNIN-A. Discover spellbinding imagery that captures the essence of Kinshasa, and experience the profound impact of an artist who has dedicated his youth and ideals to promoting his country’s culture. Kiripi Katembo’s work continues to inspire, ensuring that his legacy as a visionary artist lives on.