The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection

Ambroise Ngaimoko (Studio 3Z)

Born in 1949, Angola.

Lives in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 1961, Ngaimoko moved with his family to Kinshasa. There he worked as a mechanic, then as a technician for an open-air cinema, before he became an assistant to his uncle Marques Ndodão in 1968, who ran two photo studios, and who gave him a Yashica 6x6 camera.

It was in Kitambo in 1971 that he opened the Studio 3Z, a named picked to symbolise the three Zaïres: the country, the currency and the river. Young people who came to the studio remember it because of the constantly changing backdrops.

He gained recognition in the course of the 1970s due to an unprecedented technique, in which he developed two portraits on the same sheet, using the same negative twice.

This cult of cloning is reminiscent of the rites performed for a lost twin.

In the full swing of "Zaïrization" there was a shortage of 6x6 black & white film and, with the eventual arrival of color film, Ngaimoko lost his clientele.

He resigned himself to using the format 24x36 to make his identity-based work.

In 1997, he renamed his studio 3C (for the three Congos).




Carte Blanche à Omar Victor Diop, Galerie Magnin-A, Paris, France


1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York, USA


Histoires congolaises, bibliothèque Robert-Desnos, Montreuil, France

Studio Africa!, Galerie Tristan Hoare, London, UK


Paris Photo, Grand Palais, Paris, France


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


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


30th Bienal de São Paulo, Pavilion Ciccillo Matarazzo, Brazil



Magasin Grenoble, France


Paris Photo, Place of Honour for Africa, Grand Palais, Paris


A Useful Dream : African Photography 1960-2010, Palais des Beaux-Arts/Bozar, Brussels


Africa Negra, Fotoseptiembre, Galeria Lópes Quiroga, Mexico