• Wed 25 05 2016 / 7 pm •
Who Determines What Is Art? Renzo Martens and the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantations Congolaises


European artists who turn to the crisis-ridden and impoverished regions outside Europe cannot escape the role of colonial agents. To subvert this role means entering a field of controversy and paradox, as did Dutch artist Renzo Martens when he founded the so-called Institute for Human Activities (IHA). Since 2012, the IHA has been carrying out a “gentrification program” on a former Unilever plantation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by bringing sophisticated contemporary art debates there. With Renzo Martens’s encouragement, local artists eventually formed the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantations Congolaises (CATPC) and began to make sculptures, whose chocolate casts are now shown and sold in European galleries. In this project, Western structures of production and distribution are confronted with traditional art, and an economic alternative to NGO-like, often neocolonial help is proposed. In their talks, Renzo Martens, Eva Barois de Caevel and Françoise Vergès offer insights into the history behind the emergence of the CATPC and discuss its broader meaning in a still-Eurocentric art world. The discussion is moderated by EKATERINA DEGOT and Belgian writer and editor ELS ROELANDT at KASK&Conservatorium/School of Arts Ghent.

Venue: ACADEMYSPACE, Herwarthstraße 3, 50672 Cologne
Free admission
In English

This event is part of the campaign week “Kultur öffnet Welten”—a joint initiative of federal, state and local authorities, artistic confederations and actors from civil society,