Helen M. Hintjens
Project: Trouble in Paradise
Trouble in Paradise expresses pain amidst beauty. My final exhibition combines wall painting, projections, over-painting and film with sound. This produces what I call Collage+, a metaphor for how the colonial past shines through the present, also in the artworld. By giving form to the complex layerings of history, film, photos, paintings and installation are all integral to the final exhibition which brings my own history together with that of the independence movements in Africa. The past is like a ghostly absence and through presenting puzzlingly beautiful images I want to entice you to look closer, question what you see.
Thesis: Decolonising Contemporary Art? Four Global Artists and Collage+
The study centres on the concept of Collage+ through a study of the work of four contemporary global artists - Wangechi Mutu, Maurice Mbikayi, Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo and Steve Bandoma. I first situated these artists in the global art market. I tried to assess whether that market was 'decolonised' or not. Then I asked each artist some questions about their work. Their personal answers, websites, interviews and films, informed the core of the study. Researching these artists inspired me in my own work, and Collage+ was a term I invented to describe how mixed techniques centred on collage are also a metaphor for the hope that art can be decolonised. The fragmentation and corporatisation of the global art market are unavoidable, but through focusing on artists' own practices, we can see that decolonisation of contemporary global art may be becoming a reality.