Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Dutch-Rwandan artist Christian Nyampeta (born in 1981, lives and works in New York). The title A Flower Garden of All Kinds of Loveliness Without Sorrow is borrowed from the encyclopaedic text “Een bloemhof van allerley lieflijkheyd sonder verdriet” (1668) by Dutch philosopher Adriaan Koerbagh, a companion of Spinoza and his circle. Due to his controversial writing, which intervened against the cultural injustice resulting from the distortion of religious and clerical meanings, he lived in exile and died in prison in Amsterdam.
The exhibition alludes to a garden, or rather, a public park. It contains sculptures described as ‘hosting structures’, which look like functional public furniture, ingeniously composed from slotting mechanisms in multicolored composite plates, through a material process that is a metaphor for collectivity. The hosting structures are hybrids, objects in between design and art, and they can also be seen as philosophical seeds. The artist has dedicated them to historical and modern figures who were unjustly persecuted for their beliefs, ideas or behaviors. The hosting structures further accommodate a growing repository of wooden sculptures produced cooperatively by staff and students of Nyundo Art School in Rwanda, in a context of their study of monuments, testimony and witnessing.
In the entrance to the park is an announcement board with drawings. On the wall is a series of original artworks that evoke memorial plaques. These are based on the same figurative drawings, but similarly cut from composite, like the seating. The drawings and murals dramatize the pastoral quality of the park and conjure an ecology of vision and thought that congregates near and distant emotions and knowledge. The depicted flora and fauna inhabit at least three environments: the underworld of the past, the horizon of the present, and the sky of time to come. In the cohabitation of these three worlds, A Flower Garden of All Kinds of Loveliness Without Sorrow proposes itself as a soft monument, a resting ground for the wandering souls of history.
This exhibition at Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam is inscribed in a wider iterative program of exhibitions, screenings and lyrical performances this year by the same name, in Amsterdam, Kigali, London and New York.
Christian Nyampeta had solo shows at Camden Arts Centre, London (2018), Grazer Kunstverein (2018) and The Showroom in London (2014). His work has been presented in group exhibitions including the the Dakar Biennial (2018), Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2018), Gwangju Biennial (2016). Forthcoming biennials and solo shows this year include Contour Biennale 9, Mechelen (BE), and Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig (DE).
The exhibition begins Saturday 6 April without opening reception. The exhibition runs until Saturday May 11th, 2019 and coincides with the group show Parallax, curated by Artun Alaska Asrali on the 4th floor. On the final day of these exhibitions, there will be a goodbye party as the gallery leaves its current space for another location in the center of Rotterdam – details to be announced. Join us from 5pm on the 11th for food, drinks and a farewell to the Justus van Effen complex.
Until then, the gallery is open Friday through Sunday from 1 – 6pm and by appointment. For further information and visuals, please contact the gallery: firstname.lastname@example.org or +31(0)104126459.
Coproduced with Contour 9 Mechelen (BE), and in collaboration with Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels (BE), , Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig (DE) and Perdu Amsterdam (NL).