Exposing themselves to transcontinental conflict situations within rapidly changing social systems, the artists respond to their experiences and investigations in a continuous artistic process that includes analogue and digital paintings as well as drawings, experimental videos, urban interventions and performances. The form of their collaboration makes it difficult to categorize them according to geographic origin and cultural associations. They combine the perpetual shifts and hybrids of identities to produce collective works that question cultural practices and social norms.
When working between different cultural, social and economic spaces, personal perceptions and individual comfort zones are abandoned and often completely deconstructed. Their everyday experience leads to a fragmented and multi-layered perspective in which the scraps and remnants of a cultural and personal collision are reflected and put up for discussion. This allows Mukenge/Schellhammer to develop inconsistency as a concept in which contradictions remain unresolved. By capturing and interpreting everyday trauma and cultural shocks, the duo have found their own subjective approach to current issues: globalization, postcolonialism and interculturality.
Their approach is a micro-investigation of individual and societal realities. Common beliefs, ideas, patterns, affects, and everyday actions that manifest the contemporary global contradictions, epistemologies, and ontologies of our colonial, neo-colonial, and post-colonial worlds are addressed.
With a particular focus on contemporary pop culture and other pop phenomena, Mukenge/Schellhammer’s work reflects and analyzes stereotypes, simplifications, misunderstandings and subjective interpretations. They work in the intermediate zone of the diverse social, economic and cultural systems of Europe and Africa. Their work refers both to the Congolese traditions of painting, such as the “peinture populaire” and to western artistic concepts. The result is a combination of expressive techniques, academic painting and pop mainstream. “Elitist” practices of “high art” are combined with the aesthetics of mass culture. The duo presented works i.a. at the Plateforme Contemporaine Kinshasa, the Institut Français Kinshasa (2019), the Galerie Noah Augsburg (2020), the Mahal Art Space, Morocco (2021), in the National Museum of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2021), as part of the pan-African video festival “Boda Boda Lounge” (2020), in 20 countries on the African continent, at City Salts Basel and in the Guggenheim Museum New York (2020/2021). In 2019 the duo founded the project Laboratoire Kontempo, a transdisciplinary and experimental platform for contemporary art in Kinshasa. This project was funded by the Goethe-Institut Kinshasa, the Fonds Turn of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Africa No Filter, among others.In the years 2021/2022 they are scholarship holders at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.