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Fri, Apr 05


Gallery Forty-Two

A Night with Jean Claude Lofenia: MADNESS 2.0 First Friday

Gallery Forty-Two is proud to introduce Internationally collected Congolese Contemporary visual artist Jean Claude Lofenia.

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A Night with Jean Claude Lofenia: MADNESS 2.0 First Friday
A Night with Jean Claude Lofenia: MADNESS 2.0 First Friday

Time & Location

Apr 05, 2024, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Gallery Forty-Two, 42 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, USA

About the Event

Jean-Claude Lofenia was born in the city of Kinshasa, a place where artistic expression has become a vital necessity of life.

Nevertheless, the vibrancy and richness of the art scene are not recent. After Congo's independence from Belgian rule in 1960, a movement emerged: popular painting. This genre portrays everyday scenes of Congolese life, as well as episodes from the country's tumultuous history. Following the characteristics of the comic strip, the paintings depict everything that happens in the city and in this way becomes a chronicle of the street. Moreover, they are often playful and humorous, while in reality the messages conveyed are earnest and in some cases violent. In fact, this genre is described as an art that arose from the people and reflects their daily concerns. While initially generating little interest abroad, the genre gained international recognition in the early 2000s.

The visual artist Jean-Claude Lofenia is from a family with no artistic tradition. He started

drawing at the age of eight, initially as a game, but later created sketches and comic strips,

which contributed to the development of his imagination. During his stay in the atelier of the

renowned painter Chéri Chérin (1955), he developed his talent and technique.

His style moves from traditional Congolese popular art to a more contemporary spirit. Being

open-minded, he doesn't hesitate to explore new styles and techniques. The artist paints

what touches him and the imagination plays a major role in his art, with very large caricatured

characters with a vibrant sense of realism. His works depict fragments of human bodies

representing animals, endowed with all sorts of imagination, and telling stories, ranging from

mythology, to politics, to the phenomenon of sapology.

A signature element of his work is that Lofenia uses both serious and ironic themes, Congolese

and global issues, but also realistic and surreal. Initiated by Abangwa Babotchwe, alias Béret

"the African customs officer Rousseau", who made paintings of tropical nature, Lofenia has

mixed this style in some of his creations with his own contemporary artistic language.

Moreover, eye-catching details are hidden in his work, giving the art pieces an additional

character. This incites the viewer to question and reflect on important questions about life

and beauty. He exaggerates the figures or displaces them to confront his audience with

reality. The artwork becomes a mirror for the viewer, who is constantly challenged to develop

his thinking. Lofenia describes himself as an “incarnation of the future”, anticipating the

future through the phenomena he depicts. Additionally, his creations serve as an invitation

to convey a message of hope and build a collective memory. The explosion of vivid colors and

playful shapes give his works their power.

As a symbolical and figurative artist, he has become an important figure in the contemporary

Congolese art scene presenting his work exhibitions all over the world, notably in the DRC,

elsewhere in Africa, Europe and America. 

And now right here in his new home town.  Join us for am evening with MADNESS 2.0 feature artist Jean Claude Lofenia this First Friday at Gallery Forty Two. 

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