In the engine house of a former pin factory in Leeds, French artist Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc presents a new film and installation.
Abonnenc’s new work confronts the contemporary and historic exploitation of copper in the Katanga region of Congo, a region that has been repeatedly ravaged since its colonization by Belgian King Leopold II in the nineteenth century. Leopold first looted small copper crosses, forms of currency made by a sect known as the ‘copper eaters,’ that were shipped to Europe for industrial use. As a way of underlining the violence of the colonial act and its continuing contemporary enactment in the post-industrial context, Abonnenc has subjected several copper crosses, bought from private collectors, to a process of recasting with the help of a local foundry.
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