The Congolese/German duo Mukenge/Schellhammer is a guineapig for post-postcolonial thought and practice in the laboratory of contemporary Kinshasa. The duo exposes itself to confrontational situations in changing social systems and situations between Europe and the DRC, capturing and reworking their experiences and investigations in an ongoing artistic process that includes analogue and digital paintings and drawings, experimental videos, urban interventions and performances. Their specific collaboration makes it difficult to categorize and classify them according to binary notions of cultural context, artistic traditions and geographical origin. The duo has been living and working between Europe and Kinshasa since 2016.

When working in-between different cultural, social, and economic spaces, predisposed personal perceptions and individual comfort zones are constantly challenged and regularly demolished. An everyday experience that leads to a fragmented, multi-layered perspective, in which the shreds and scraps of cultural and personal collision constantly mirror and question each other – allowing Mukenge/Schellhammer to develop inconsistency into a conceptual approach that deals with contradictions as contradictions, rather than resolving them. Trough the registration and interpretation of everyday trauma and cultural shocks, the duo has generated a very subjective approach to contemporary issues such as globalisation, postcolonialism, or interculturality. Their approach can be described as a micro-investigation into individual and social realities, highlighting common believes, thoughts, patterns, affects, and every-day actions in which contemporary global contradictions, epistemologies, and ontologies of our colonial, neo-colonial, and postcolonial worlds manifest themselves.

With a special focus on contemporary pop culture and other popular cultural phenomena, the works of Mukenge/Schellhammer reflect on, analyse, de- and recompose stereotypes, simplifications, misunderstandings and subjective interpretations in-between diverse social, economic, and cultural systems of Europe and Africa. The work does not only refer to the daily life in Kinshasa, but is also influenced by congolese painting traditions as for example the „peintre populaire“. The visual result is a combination of expressive techniques, academic painting, and popular mainstream that aims to connect “elitist” techniques of “high art” with aesthetics of popular mass culture – extending questions about globalisation, (post-)coloniality, appropriation, and re-appropriation into a critique of one’s own formal artistic education and practice.