Aimé Mpane, one of the most important artists of African origin to this day, is as multidisciplinary in his practice as he is firmly focused on the future. His work combines the roughness of the so-called Primitive Arts – he handles wood (among other materials) with a small hatchet in a traditional way –deconstructing the past, to better reassemble its pieces in line with contemporary reality.   

He is the first Congolese artist to be exhibited at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. Travelling back and forth between Kinshasa, his native town, and Brussels, where he lives, allows him to cast a dynamic and innovative glance on Art History and moreover, on the history of civilization.  His practice is grounded in dialogue and driven by an endless resilience imbued with hope. Aimé Mpane builds bridges : images nested into each other, augmented realities, passing through “the other side of the mirror”… his universe is the reflection of the state of mind of a true “local nomad”, someone who dares to ask “why not?”, who dares to dream the fraternity dream for Congo and for Belgium, and for human kind.  

« Reconciling humanity with itself, in other words human kind with human kind, each and every individual being in my eyes an atom of this huge universal body made of 7,8 billions of atoms. But human kind is sick, its body has been torn apart, cut into pieces… even though we have only one origin. » Mpane dreams of a true alternative to the errors committed in the past, aspiring for a future where other kinds of commemorative artworks are possible.  

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts have invited the artist to revisit an artwork of their collection. Aimé Mpane’s choice was instant : Four studies of the head of a Moor (1614), by Peter Paul Rubens is a painting of highly symbolic value that he has known his whole life. The painting used to be titled Negros head and was used to illustrate the back of a 500 francs banknote back in the 50’s, the front of the note bearing the portrait of King Leopold II. Mpane’s take on the masterpiece is a canvas-tapestry-sculpture that will be shown to the public at the opening of the exhibition.

Through very different pathways, the work of Aimé Mpane enters a dialogue with that of Rachel Labastie. The two artists, a man and a woman, each question the symptoms developed within our societies. Very concretely, and beyond the pure artistic approach, they create a real space of consciousness and question the possible remedies, through the central eye of the Patio that is articulated between two floors of the Museum.
Aimé Mpane lives and works in Brussels.


The contemporary artists exhibited this season question the missions and values of the Royal Museums. Discover their questions, debate with us and share your point of view by following #MuseumInQuestions on our social media channels.

Don't miss it!

A special day will focus on artists Rachel Labastie and Aimé Mpane: conference, debate, meet the artist, performances, ... More info here


Exhibition's curator: Sophie HASAERTS
Art Historian Sophie Hasaerts is Belgian and based in Brussels. She is a private and public project manager in the artistic field. She is a true believer in the power of artistic creation and what it can provide to an urban community in terms of curiosity and open mindedness.

Practical informations


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+ 1 January | 1 May | 1 & 11 November | 25 December



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