THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE is pleased to present in Lisbon "WEAVING THE ENTROPY" a SOLO SHOW BY PATRICK BONGOY with a new series of sculptural works and paintings from the artist's personal archive.
Curated by Graça Rodrigues and Sónia Ribeiro, the exhibition celebrates and recognizes Bongoy's significant contribution to a critical view of the sociopolitical and artistic art scene in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Patrick Bongoy explores the themes of migration, displacement, and the enormous human cost involved in the struggle for natural resources. Produces his works from recycled rubber strips, evoking dark narratives. Although resident in South Africa, the artist's work continually refers to his hometown of Kinshasa, DRC, and to explore the broad themes of alienation through the loss of homeland, as well as migration and the resulting effects on identity. In particular, it examines the specific aspects of dehumanization that occur when whole people and communities are plagued by toxic historical narratives, sociopolitical violations, and rapidly degrading physical environments.
My work speaks in response to the global reality of literal and figurative environmental pollution. This encompasses the entire spectrum from the erosion of economic viability for people, sociocultural decay impacting communities and individual behavior, and natural rural and urban landscape. I draw on the history of my roots in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the irony of contemporary urban degradation masked as development. I repurpose and reinterpret what others discard by recovering waste materials such as inner tubes from vehicle tires, industrial packaging, and textiles combined with my use of paint and African fabric. Beyond the intentional recycling element of this process, the visual concepts I explore surface a range of pertinent issues. Additional sculpted objects are superimposed on these layered backgrounds, which I create as a foundational canvas. This is also a visual referencing of some of the many laborious tasks women undertake in my country to make ends meet. I try to understand how the deterioration of natural and urban settings mirrors the visible rotting displayed in the behavior and habits of the population. Deprivation evidently continues to recreate further misery and desperation. Although my work reflects a kind of beauty, it also describes the destruction of a place and a people where ethical values have been poisoned or fallen away, infecting human morality and dignity. The aftermath of several violent conflicts has created a nightmarish atmosphere where people relive those moments in an extreme state of vulnerability and resignation to this state of affairs. My painted figures, always in silhouette, with their deformed limbs and precarious stances, twist and turn in such spaces. They evoke a sense of uncontrolled or dynamic movement captured in a disjointed moment as if their bodies are mid-execution of a questionable act. However, the internal versus external appearances and perspectives – what is seen in contrast to what is understood, becomes the site of re-imagination and unforeseen possibilities.” – Patrick Bongoy