As part of Contour Biennale 9, Nyampeta presents a combination of individual works that deal with two former Belgian colonies, the Congo and Rwanda. A Flower Garden of All Kinds of Loveliness Without Sorrow (Contour 9) is an exhibition containing sculptures dedicated to minor figures who were unjustly persecuted for their beliefs, ideas or behaviour. A Flower Garden positions itself as a soft monument, a resting ground for the wandering souls of history.
The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the encyclopaedic text “Een bloemhof van allerley lieflijkheyd sonder verdriet” (1668) by the Dutch philosopher Adriaan Koerbagh, a companion of Spinoza and his circle. Due to his controversial writing, which denounced the cultural injustice resulting from the distortion of religious and clerical meanings, he lived in exile and died in prison in Amsterdam.
The installation alludes to a public park. It contains sculptures described as “hosting structures”, which look like functional furniture, composed of assembling mechanisms in multicoloured sheets, through a material process that is a metaphor for collectivity. The hosting structures are hybrids, objects between design and art, and they can also be seen as philosophical seeds. The hosting structures further accommodate a growing repository of wooden sculptures produced cooperatively by the staff and students of Nyundo Art School, in the context of their study of monuments, testimony and witnessing.
The background of the installation is framed by a large mural-like drawing, whose content evokes studies for memorial plaques. The drawing dramatises an ecology of vision and thought that brings together near and distant emotions, knowledge and desires. For instance, the flora and fauna depicted inhabit at least three environments: the underworld of the past, the horizon of the present, and the sky of time to come.
Co-produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Wilfried Lentz Gallery, Rotterdam, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig and with the generous support of the Mondriaan Fund.