Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc - Winner of 2015
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc has created a group of works within the far-flung context of biographical research into ethnographical objects collected by his grandfather Emile Abonnenc, whose collecting activities in the early 1930s were inspired by the theories of the ethnographer Michel Leiris. In his Basel installation, the artist concentrates on the analysis of a monumental statue of Victor Schœlcher in French Guiana, representing the French colonial civil servant as a heroic liberator of the slaves. The artist’s subtle aesthetic interventions reveal the complexity of the relationship between a patronizing and a fetishizing approach. Abonnenc‘s visual analyses of various colonial and postcolonial artifacts draw attention to the many different ways of interpreting relations between past and present as well as personal and collective history.