KILUANJI KIA HENDA at Galleria Fonti and Vulcano Solfatara, Sala del Bianchetto in Naples

Double appointment in Naples with work by the artist Kiluanji Kia Henda. On Friday 27th of May at 6.30pm the exhibition Concrete Affection at Galleria Fonti in Naples and on Saturday 28th the exhibition A City Called Mirage opens at 10.30am at Vulcano Solfatara in Pozzuoli.

The Angolan artist Kiluanji Kia Henda (1979) who lives and works in Luanda (Angola’s capital) and Lisbon, is one of the protagonists of the a esthetic wave that joins art and commitment, poetry and militancy. With different languages and tools  – sculpture, video, photography, light boxes, to environmental sized works – traces, between truth and fiction, the history of his country, Angola, from 1975 year in which the Portuguese rule ends and Angola achieves independence to a long period of civil wars ended in 2002.

The artist represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 2007. He received the National Prize for Culture by the Minister of Culture in Angola in 2012 for his contribution to the internationalization of the Angolan culture and in 2014 the magazine Foreign Policy recognized him as one of the Leading Global Thinkers of that year.

At Galleria Fonti the artist presents the video installation Concrete Affection – Zopo Lady (2014) together with 75, a series composed by 75 photos taken from the video “Concrete Affection” and Chinese ink drawings.

Kiluanji Kia Henda’s video (about 12″) – presented in Italy for the first time as a side event of the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014) – is inspired by the book by the Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuscinski entitled Another Day of Life – Angola 1975. A text that documents the last days of Portuguese colonial rule in 1975 and which testifies a time of great unrest and changes experienced even in the “body” of the city of Luanda and of the whole country, followed by a long period of civil war before reaching the independence. In particular, from the book by Kapuscinski, Kia Henda gets back the description of the exodus of the many Portuguese people leaving the country, which corresponds to the arrival in Luanda of thousands of Angolans forced by necessity to move from remote and rural areas to the capital city. In the midst of these movements – metaphorically between full, empty and full again – it ranks Concrete Affection – Zopo Lady  which emphasizes this “delicate and painful” step of the history of Luanda and the whole Angola.

In the video, in a completely empty city without people, a narrator out-field male voice, runs through streets, places, buildings, from morning to night. In 24 hours: that’s the time to decide whether to remain or to leave the country. A common destiny for everybody is forced to migrate. The result? The narrator says: “All of the population’s belongings are being packed. The houses are empting and the boxes filling with furniture and trinkets. The city is being stripped of its memory. All that remains is its skeleton, the ground zero of history.”

At Vulcano Solfatara in Pozzuoli, Kiluanji Kia Henda will show A City Called Mirage.
Among fumaroles and volcanic phenomena, yet active for 4000 years, has beed installed Fortress (2014) a big structure made by iron tubes (8x 8 m) which reproduces the skyline of one of the many City Mirage – one for all Dubai in the Emirates – that seem to come from nothing and represent the urban boom imported from Occident to Middle East, Africa, South America. They call it “Dubalization.” A strong symbol of power that becomes poetic and ironic complaint in Kiluanji Kia Henda’s work.
A City Called Mirage is a work in progress, 2013 – 2014, composed by iron sculptures, photographs, drawings, video, installations. A complex project of more elements exhibited at the show Art and the City Zurich: Public Sculpture Project in Zurich in 2015, curated by Christoph Doswald.
The starting point is a journey to the south of Angola through the desert region of Namibia, where Kiluanji Kia Henda finds an abandoned building (riddle with bullet holes) with the sign “Miragem.”
A sign that assumes a symbolic value and developed a series of linked projects: Rusty Mirage (The City Skyline), Buildings (The Palace, The Fortress, The Temple, The Ministry), Instructions on How to Create Your Own Personal Dubai at Home and the video Paradise Metalic.

Inside the old Sala del Bianchetto will be exhibited: the lightbox Rusty Mirage (2013) that reproduces the sign “Miragem”; the series of eight photographs Rusty Mirage (The City Skyline) (2013) that show the construction of the city mirage in iron in the desert of Al-Azraq in Jordan (one of that series has recently been acquired by the Tate Gallery Collection); the ironic installation of photographs Instructions on How to Create Your Own Personal Dubai at Home; the video installation Paradise Metalic produced by Sharjah Art Foundation.

Concrete Affection
Galleria Fonti – via chiaia n 229, Naples
Opening Friday 27 May 2016, 18.30pm
27 May to 27 July 2016
A City Called Mirage
Vulcano Solfatara, Sala del Bianchetto – via Solfatara 161, Pozzuoli
Opening Saturday 28 May 2016, 10.30pm
28 May – 29 July 2016