Celestial Masks by Hervé Youmbi at Sculpture Projects Münster 2017
Every ten years since 1977, the Skulptur Projekte has been offering a special exhibition experience: Artists develop site-specific works for Münster—sculptures, but also video installations or performances. These projects inscribe themselves in the city’s structural, historical and social contexts while at the same time pointing beyond its boundaries. The artistic explorations are as much concerned with issues of the global present and reflections on the concept of sculpture as with questions about the relationship between public and private space in times of increasing digitalization.
Skulptur Projekte Münster is considered one of the world’s most important exhibition dedicated to sculpture and public art. It was launched in 1977, and its artistic director since the very first edition has always been Kasper König. This year, the co-curators are Britta Peters and Marianne Wagner. From 10 June to 1 October 2017, the fifth edition of the Skulptur Projekte will show thirty-five new artistic productions.
Cameroonian artist Hervé Youmbi (1973-) presents the project Celestial Masks in the area of the Überwasser cemetery, a medieval Christian burial site. His Masks are either suspended among the trees or mounted on them.
In a clear and playful way Hervé Youmbi deals with the long and problematic history of Western modernity with masks from the African continent. He contradicts the idea of a singular identity, using objects and an iconographic, hybrid system of forms taken from Western pop cultures as well as from precolonial and colonial art production in West and Central Africa. At the same time his projects powerfully critique the global art market, the spaces and practices to which it gives rise, and the larger, late-capitalist system to which they collectively belong.
Hervé Youmbi talked to Eleni Zymaraki about his installation currently presented at Sculpture Projeckte Münster 2017 and how this connects with his earlier ongoing projects – Totems to Haunt Our Dreams, Visages de masques – related to African masks.