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Contemporary African Art Collection by Jean Pigozzi

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Chéri Chérin

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Joseph Kinkonda called, Chéri Chérin

Born 1955, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Lives and works in Kinshasa.

In the heart of Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), five times larger than France, possesses incomparable natural human and cultural riches. More than 400 ethnic groups speaking as many languages have flooded into Kinshasa in one exodus after another. A megalopolis with more than 10 million inhabitants, Kinshasa exemplifies the famous article 15 of the Constitution which encourages people to take themselves in hand. Often this is done with talent, or even with genius. And this popular genius is what makes “Kin-the Beautiful” a stunning city, by day and by night.

Since the early 1970s, the city has witnessed a creative explosion in every artistic realm.

The group “Viva la Musica”, led by the superstar Papa Wemba, has enjoyed a huge popular success. It was a member of this group, Kester Emeneya, who invented the concept of the SAPE, the “Society of Atmosphere-Creators and Elegant Personalities”. In this Kinshasa institution, Chéri Chérin is one of the most prestigious figures.

Within this effervescent context, the 1978 exhibition Art Everywhere, brought attention to a whole group of young “people’s” artists, co-called because their representational, narrative painting is rooted in an addressed to the people at large. Samba, Moké, Bodo, and Chéri Chérin, the chief innovators of the group, have achieved success and have been embraced by all Kinshasa.

The artists in the “gang” – it is neither a school nor a movement – work in their separate studios on subjects inspired by social and political developments. They are differentiated as much by choice of subjects by style by the way they treat pictorial space, and by their use of colour. Chéri Chérin whose name is an acronym for “Créateur Hors (série) Expressionniste Remarquable INéganable unique en son genre” (« unclassifiable remarkable Expressionist creator unequalled and unique in this field »), gives equal prominence to subject, form, representation, intelligibility, and decorative qualities. In this way he draws the spectator into his own interrogations, imprecisions, uncertainties, and unfinished works. He denounces a world in which opportunism and comedy threaten to win out over the true values for which Chéri Chérin means to fight.

“And if you, in the West, say that painting is finished, I will not give in to the facility of video as it is seen everywhere today, even in the Dakar biennale. I will keep on painting and you will see what you will see.”

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2004
Mémoires de Lubumbashi, Lubumbashi National Museum
Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo

2004
Gallery Art Körner
The Hague - Netherlands

2003
Dommenhoff
Neerpelt - Belgium

2003
Kin Moto Na Bruxelles, Hotel de Ville
Brussel - Belgium

2002
Marc Dengis Gallery
Brussel - Belgium

1993
Wallonie Bruxelles Center of Kinshasa
Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo

1991
French Cultural Center of Kinshasa
Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2015
Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko, Fondation Cartier, Paris, France

2014
Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy: From the Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection, Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

2013
Peintres reporters de l’urbanité, à Kinshasa, Latitude 21, Dijon, France

2011
JAPANCONGO, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia

2011
JapanCongo, Magasin Grenoble, France

2011
Riad Al Maaden, Magnin-A, Marrakech, Morocco

2010
African Stories
Marrakech Art Fair, Marrakech

2009/2010
Africa? Una nuova storia
Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy


2007/2008
Popular Painting from Kinshasa
Tate Modern, London

Why Africa?
Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
Turin - Italy

2006/2007
100% Africa
Guggenheim Museum
Bilbao - Spain

2005
15 ans de transition, Memling Hotel
Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo

2005
Peinture populaire congolaise, Museum of Haitien art
Port au Prince – Haïti

2004/2006
(travelling exhibition)
Africa Remix
Art contemporain d’un continent
24 July 2004 - 7 Nov 2004
Museum Kunst Palast
Düsseldorff - Germany

2005
Hayward Gallery,
London - England

2005
Centre Georges Pompidou,
Paris - France

2006
Mori Art Museum
Tokyo - Japan

2001
La Cité dans la peinture populaire, Wallonie Bruxelles Center of Kinshasa, Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo

2000
An/Sichten-Malerei aus dem Kongo 1990-2000
Museum für Völkerkunde
Wien - Austria

1999
Quatre peintres congolais, Cultural Center Gembloux
Brussel - Belgium

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2015
Beauté Congo 1926-2015 Congo Kitoko, Fondation Cartier, Exhibition catalogue

2007
Why Africa?
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Electa & Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.

2006
100% Africa
Exhibition catalogue. Published by TF Editores & FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.
Exhibition catalogue.

2005
15 ans de transition, Memling Hotel
Exhibition catalogue : Celestin Badibanga and Joseph Ibongo.

2004/2006

Africa Remix
Exhibition catalogue. published in German, English, French and Japanese. Published by Hatje Cantz Verlag.

2003

Kin Moto Na Bruxelles
Exhibition catalogue : Celestin Badibanga and al.

2002

Marc Dengis Gallery

2001

La Cité dans la peinture populaire, Wallonie Bruxelles Center of Kinshasa,
Exhibition catalogue : Joseph Ibongo

2000

An/Sichten-Malerei aus dem Kongo 1990-2000
Museum für Völkerkunde
Exhibition catalogue : Bogumil Jewsiewicki and Barbara Plankensteiner.


Chéri Chérin Biography - © 2010-2017 The Contemporary African Art Collection - Contact Caacart - Seydou Keita Photographer, the official website, new, click here