Cercle d’art des travailleurs de plantation congolaise - Renzo Martens
On a former Unilever plantation in DR Congo, a White Cube was built. Here in Lusanga, the plantation workers’ art cooperation CATPC and Dutch artist Renzo Martens study the relation between art and plantations. Ultimately, their goal is to prove that artistic critique on economic inequality can redress this inequality, not symbolically, but in real, material terms.
With the establishment of this White Cube, designed by OMA, the mechanisms through which plantations have financed and inspired the global art world are reversed. The White Cube attracts the capital and visibility needed to invent a new ecological and economic model on site: the post-plantation.
This model is sustained by CATPC’s characterful figures: sculptures first produced in clay, then being digitalized with a 3D-scanner, to then be cast in chocolate in Amsterdam — the biggest cocoa harbour in the world. More recently, the cooperative has started to participate in performative works and films — such as the film directed by Belgo-Congolese movie director and musician Baloji recorded on the plantation in Lusanga. During the Openingweekend of NTGent, we will be showing this video in Arca next to CATPC's sculptures. Full details of this project will be given through a public discussion in the presence of this Dutch artist.
This was the most challenging show of the year, and proudly “problematic,” but that was the point: You need to be fearless, and run right into the swamp of possible misunderstanding, to have any hope of making a difference.Jason Farago - The New York Times