Past Events

Sunday, January 29, 2017, 2-5:30pm

SC Conversations: Matter of Critique Part IV

SC Conversations: Matter of Critique Part IV
Sunday, January 29, 2017
2pm to 5:30pm
SculptureCenter

This foundational conversation on the Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) will provide an overview of CATPC activities and collaborators in Congo and within the international contemporary art world. Looking closely at the works of individual artists of the group, panelists will address the stakes of self-representation in artwork made by CATPC members and their economic implications, notably with respect to the methods of production, circulation and publicity that are integral to the meaning and reception of the works.

The final part of the discussion includes responses by a select group of scholars whose work addresses the issues and questions engaged by CATPC -- as a lived reality, as well as a discursive proposal. Topics will include the history of plantation economies and their role today, the potential of art for social and economic change, institution building and collectivity, and the politics of representation.

Conference participants include Ariella Azoulay, Brown University; Simon Gikandi, Princeton University; Eléonore Hellio, CATPC; David Joselit, The Graduate Center, City University of New York; Matthieu Kilapi Kasiama, CATPC; Ruba Katrib, SculptureCenter; Renzo Martens, Institute for Human Activities; Els Roelandt, KASK/School of Arts, Ghent; and Michael Taussig, Columbia University.




Conference Participants

Ariella Azoulay is a professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, independent curator and filmmaker. Her recent books include The Resolution of The Suspect - Photographer Miki Kratsman (Radius Books/Peabody Museum Press); Aïm Deüelle Lüski and Horizontal Photography (Leuven University Press and Cornell University Press, 2013), The One State Condition: Occupation and Democracy between the Sea and the River (Stanford University Press, 2012), From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950 (Pluto Press, 2011), Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, August 2012), The Civil Contract of Photography (co-authored with Adi Ophir; Zone Books, 2008), and Death's Showcase: The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy, MIT Press, 2001. In 2016, Azoulay curated Enough! The Natural Violence of New World Order, at F/Stop photography festival, Leipzig; Act of State Archive, Centre Pompidou, Paris; and The Natural History of Rape, Pembroke Hall, Brown University. Azoulay is director of a number of documentary films, including Civil Alliances, Palestine, 47-48 (2012), I Also Dwell Among Your Own People: Conversations with Azmi Bishara (2004), and The Food Chain (2004).

Simon Gikandi is Robert Schirmer Professor of English at Princeton University, where he received The President's Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2014. His 2011 book Slavery and the Culture of Taste (Princeton University Press) was winner the Susanne M. Glassock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship and co-winner of the James Russell Lowell Award given to the best book by a member of the Modern Languages Association and of the Melville J. Herskovits Award for the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English and a Choice Outstanding Academic title. Earlier books include Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism (Columbia University Press, 1996) and Reading the African Novel (Heinemann, 1987). He is the co-editor of The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature, editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of African Literature, and, most recently, he is the editor of the eleventh volume of The Oxford History of the Novel in English: The Novel in Africa and the Caribbean Since the 1950s (Oxford University Press, 2016). Gikandi holds a Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University.

Eléonore Hellio is coordinator and artistic director of the Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise. Hellio is a teaching artist and the former administrator of a cultural exchange between the Strasbourg School of Visual Arts (Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin) and the Académie des Beaux-Arts (ABA) de Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. As an artist, her practice is grounded in the electronic arts and utilizes film, performance, artistic intervention, text, and photography. Since July 2013, she has worked with the afro-futurist collective Kongo ASTRONAUTS in Kinshasa to address identity within gendered, virtual and postcolonial spheres. After environmentalist Rene Ngongo founded the CATPC in 2014, Eleonore started working with a number of plantation workers and artists.

David Joselit is Distinguished Professor of Art History at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is author of Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910-1941 (MIT Press, 1998), American Art Since 1945 (Thames and Hudson, World of Art Series, 2003), Feedback: Television Against Democracy (MIT Press, 2007), and, most recently, After Art (Princeton University Press, 2012), and he is a contributing author to the second edition of Art Since 1900 (Thames and Hudson, 2011). He is an editor of the journal OCTOBER and a frequent contributor to Artforum. As a curator at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston from 1983-89, Joselit co-organized several exhibitions that helped to define the art of that decade, including Endgame: Reference and Simulation in Recent Painting and Sculpture (1986). He taught in the Department of Art History and Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies at University of California-Irvine from 1995 to 2003, and at Yale University from 2003 to 2013, where he served as Department Chair from 2006 to 2009. He holds a PhD from Harvard University.

Matthieu Kilapi Kasiama is a palm oil cutter and artist of the Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise. With CATPC, his work has appeared internationally in the exhibitions A Lucky Day, KOW Galerie, Berlin (2015) and A New Settlement, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2015). His sculptures and works on paper are included in Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise at SculptureCenter.

Ruba Katrib is SculptureCenter's Curator. At SculptureCenter she has produced the group shows The Eccentrics (2015), Puddle, Pothole, Portal (2014) (co-curated with artist Camille Henrot), Better Homes (2013), and A Disagreeable Object (2012). Recent solo shows include exhibitions with Rochelle Goldberg (2016), and Anthea Hamilton, Gabriel Sierra, Magali Reus, Michael E. Smith, and Erika Verzutti (all 2015). In her previous post as the Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami, she organized several solo and group exhibition including The Reach of Realism (2009), which explored the traditions of realism within the digital age, as well as the first museum retrospectives of Cory Arcangel and Claire Fontaine (both 2010). Katrib has contributed texts for a number of publications and periodicals including Art in America, Parkett, and cura. magazine. She has also co-curated with Tom Eccles, Visitors, a group exhibition of public art on Governors Island, New York (2015).

Renzo Martens (born 1973 in The Netherlands; lives and works between Amsterdam, Brussels, and Kinsahsa, Democratic Republic of the Congo) is a filmmaker, and artist. He is the founder and director of the Institute for Human Activities (IHA). With the IHA and CATPC, he has organized exhibitions such as A Lucky Day, KOW Galerie, Berlin (2015); The Matter of Critique, KunstWerke Berlin (2015); A New Settlement, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2015); and A Capital Accumulation Program, The BOX Gallery, Los Angeles (2014). Martens and the IHA have also been featured in Artes Mundi 6, National Museum Cardiff, Wales (2014); 9 Artists, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2014); and Forget Fear, 7th Berlin Biennial, Berlin (2012). Episode III, a.k.a Enjoy Poverty, his critically acclaimed documentary filmed in the Congo, was first shown at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam in 2008. This and other films have been shown at the 6th Berlin Biennial, Tate Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, Kunsthaus Graz, as well as at numerous film festivals and on public broadcast channels. Martens was named a Yale World Fellow in 2013.

Els Roelandt is an art historian. Before working as an editor at KASK/School of Arts, Ghent, she was co-founder and chief editor of the internationally renowned A Prior Magazine (1999-2012). She has been working with Renzo Martens for over six years.

Michael Taussig is a professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Taussig has written extensively on commodity fetishism, particularly in relation to Karl Marx and Walter Benjamin. Selected books and ethnographic texts include The Corn Wolf (University of Chicago Press, 2015), What Color is the Sacred? (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Walter Benjamin's Grave (University of Chicago Press, 2006), My Cocaine Museum (University of Chicago Press, 2004), Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing (University of Chicago Press, 1987), and The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America Shamanism (University of North Carolina Press, 1980). He holds an MD from the University of Sydney and a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics. He has conducted extensive fieldwork on sugar and palm oil plantations in Colombia.