previews

  • Edson Chagas, TIPO PASS-Filipe D. Kuangana, 2012, C-print, 39 3/8 x 31 1/2". From “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory from the Perspective of Contemporary African Artists.”

    “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory from the Perspective of Contemporary African Artists”

    MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst
    Domstraße 10
    March 1 - July 6

    Curated by Simon Njami

    This big (48,000-square-foot) show, organized by Swiss-Cameroonian curator Simon Njami, will examine the sociopolitical and aesthetic concerns of more than fifty African artists. Structured thematically according to the chapters of Dante’s Divine Comedy, the exhibition will dedicate each of the museum’s three floors to an eschatological realm: heaven, hell, and purgatory. Many of the continent’s best-known names, including Zineb Sedira, Wangechi Mutu, Ghada Amer, Yinka Shonibare, Kendell Geers, Julie Mehretu, and Jane Alexander, and others less familiar on the international circuit will be represented, potentially making this show a significant study of the postcolonial human condition. But the exhibition’s premise raises an obvious question: Why read a group of mostly secular, twenty-first-century African artists through the lens of a medieval European poet? The show’s challenge will be to manage this juxtaposition while confronting the underlying issue of power relations between Europe and Africa.