Work from the Collection

Sans titre (des corps entassés)

Date: 2012
Medium: Molten metal
Materials: Five copper bars made by melting down ten Katanga crosses dating from the early 20th century.
Dimensions: Variable dimensions
Collection: Lafayette anticipations - Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin

Five metal bars 180 centimetres long are placed against a white wall. The minimalist and pure aspect of this work contrasts with its title. The “piled bodies” here evoke the massacres perpetrated by Belgian colonists in the nineteenth century to take control of the copper mines in Katanga (Democratic Republic of Congo). These same mines were at the heart of the 1960 civil war in the same region. The metal bars were obtained by transforming small copper crosses that were once used as currency in Katanga. The melting of these crosses, a gesture imbued with a strong symbolic power, echoes the violence of European colonization. Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc aims to “unshackle the gaze” of the audience and to bring them to consider the full measure of the reality of colonization and above all of its consequences. The artist reminds us here that copper, as a material, cannot be perceived in a neutral way as its history is marked by a violence still contained in the exposed metal rods.

Text written by Audrey Pellerin as part of the partnership between the École du Louvre and Lafayette Anticipations – Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin.


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