Jean-Paul Nsimba Mika (Democratic Republic of Congo, born 1980) 'La mauvaise épargne' ('The bad savings')

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Lot 8W
Jean-Paul Nsimba Mika
(Democratic Republic of Congo, born 1980)
'La mauvaise épargne' ('The bad savings')

£ 3,000 - 5,000
US$ 3,800 - 6,300
Amended
Jean-Paul Nsimba Mika (Democratic Republic of Congo, born 1980)
'La mauvaise épargne' ('The bad savings')
inscribed with title (recto); signed and dated 'JMIKA/ 2010 (lower right)
acrylic and oil on canvas
100 x 159.5cm (39 3/8 x 62 13/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Purchased directly from the artist by the current owner.
    A private collection, France.


    Jean-Paul Nsimba Mika, or simply 'Mika', enrolled at the Académie des Beaux-Arts (ABA) in Kinshasa to study painting. During this time he became acquainted with famed Congolese 'Popular Painter' Cheri Cherin, eventually becoming his pupil. The foundation of Mika's popular painting technique, the mixing of text with flamboyant, colourful imagery, was forged during his time with Cherin. He consequently became a member of the Association of Popular Painters in Kinshasa.

    The bustling capital of Kinshasa remains Mika's main inspiration. The founding popular painters, Cherin and Cheri Samba, were chiefly concerned with their immediate environment, and where it could be placed within post-independence Congolese art. As a result the representation of 'Kinshasa' remains extremely pertinent to the flourishing development of the genre. Mika in particular enjoys juxtaposing themes about Congolese current affairs with international developments. His vivid imagery is complemented with research completed on the internet and listening to lectures.

    The conflation of observations of everyday Kinshasa life, with images from digital news and photographs lends his work an eccentricity that oscillates between the real and the imagined. The mix of recognisable figures within ludicrously imagined scenarios can be likened to magical realism, where the characters of the narrative exist within a place where dreams and the imagined are part of the fabric of reality.

    The current lot is an indictment of modern society dominated by consumerism and corruption. The rats that swarm across the various currencies littered between the man's legs highlight the sordid nature of the global banking system, and warn about the perils of avarice and greed. The text reads:

    "It is a destroyed bank. This man, who was accustomed to keeping all of his money at his house, one day found himself disappointed. Mouldy banknotes, nibbled at and carried off by the rats and cockroaches. "Bad Saving" we call it, it's saving for useless purposes, the waste, the mismanagement. So it's throwing money away, as they say."

    One of Kinshasa's 'second generation' of popular painters, Mika believes that he and his peers should not repeat the themes of their mentors; imitation will only result in "deja-vu". This second generation are more interested in experimentation and technical innovation; their works are less quintessentially 'Kinshasa' in their imagery and narrative. The influence of Malian photography is evident in Mika's painting, in particular the work of Malick Sibidé and Seydou Keita. Mika's painted narratives, like the work of these portrait photographers, reveal the self to be a construct, a performance.


    Bibliography
    A. Pelletier (ed.), Beaute Congo 1926 - 2015 Congo Kitoko exh. cat, (Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, 2015) pp.226-233.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that date and signature reads 'JPMika/2010'.
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