16 Buiten Street
Cape Town 8001
Monday - Friday
9:00 - 17:00
9:00 - 13:00
Gallery MOMO is a contemporary art gallery with spaces in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.The Gallery represents a growing number of international and locally based contemporary artists with a focus on African art and art from the diaspora, in addition to the estates of notable 20th century South African masters such as Dumile Feni and Durant Sihlali.
Since opening its doors in 2003, Gallery MOMO has developed a strong creative and intellectual platform for showcasing a substantial portfolio of South African, continental and international contemporary art. The Johannesburg gallery is known for its lectures, panel discussions and seminars, and hosts a residency program, which provides opportunities to collaborate with artists from around the world. In the Cape Town space, Gallery MOMO has adopted a focus on emerging artists, as well as video artworks.
Gallery MOMO takes part in international art fairs such as The Armory Show, EXPO Chicago, and 1:54. The gallery’s artists are frequently included in exhibitions, biennales and established private and public collections across the globe. These include, among others, the Venice Biennale, Dak’Art, Lyon Biennale, and Havana Biennale.
Gallery MOMO Cape Town is pleased to present Coucou Crumble, our second solo exhibition with Maurice Mbikayi.
When we think apocalypse, we tend to think of the future. Superstates control world politics. Technology imperialises everyday life. Citizens become complicit in their own surveillance. Catastrophe becomes quotidian. For Maurice Mbikayi, the stuff of Western dystopian fiction is, in fact, an African reality. In Mbikayi’s DRC, colonialism and its afterlives have left the country largely in a state of crisis -- politically, economically, and socially. Corruption is set as policy. Resources continue to be appropriated for Western profit. At the same time the world obsesses over cryptocurrency mining, it becomes all the more dependent on African mining industries - such as gold and cobalt - to engineer and power computers and smartphones.
Maurice Mbikayi asks, what happens when everything falls apart? What happens if the Internet crashes, or mobile money flops? Mbikayi incorporates the rubble into his work, resulting in sculptures, photographs and performances that link the materials back to their political contexts.
Several sculptures seem to haunt the gallery space, memorials to ongoing histories of labour exploitation. Pregnant women, their baskets full of baby clothes, are surrounded by guns, an allegory for the many ways in which violence at the hands of the West has thwarted the continent’s attempts to birth its renaissance.
A business suit, made entirely out of discarded keyboard keys, ripples and floods out the wall, an allusion to Mobutu Sese Seko’s infamous prophecy, Après moi, le déluge. Busts of Mobutu and Patrice Lumumba stand contrary to one another, samples from their speeches overlapping, struggling between different strategies of Africanisation.
Hundreds of computer mice are suspended from the ceiling, referencing the Congolese ruling government’s history of shutting down the Internet and other communication networks during elections. Photographs show Mbikayi wearing a pig mask and posed in elite colonial garb, reminiscent of dictators like Henry Morton Stanley, Otto von Bismarck and King Leopold II.
A life-sized piggy bank, surrounded by fabricated gold bars, critiques international aid, which has left ‘developing’ African countries trapped in debts to the US, Europe, and China that are impossible to repay. Dozens of drawers - some locked, some flipped upside down - represent different African nationalities, whose economic growth remains in control of Western bureaucracy.
Coucou is a French slang greeting that derives from the noise a cuckoo clock makes. Coucou Crumble says ‘Time’s up.’ When things fall unmanageably apart, who will suffer? Who will be held accountable? Who will control our resources, material and electronic? Mbikayi is not afraid to call out the systemic powers that be and imagines a future in which African people can reinvent themselves out of the chaos.
Join for the opening reception on 2 May from 18:00.
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64A Wale Street
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160 Strand Street