EM’KAL EYONGAKPA: THE INNER VISION

 

The second exhibition at C& Art Space brought together curator and art critic Christine Eyene and sound and video artist Em’kal Eyongakpa who exclusively collaborated on our platform.

The project entitled “Em’Kal – The Inner Vision” gives us a unique insight and feel into Eyongakpa’s polyphonic art practice and sensory experiences. As Eyongakpa puts it:

“With time, my quest to transcribe observations and dreams led me to interactive mixed-media installations. The interwoven nature of media engages the multiple interests and sources that inform my pieces. I am also interested in the in-between, dream-reality and rituals, as well as the combination of photography, video, sculpture, and drawings.”

 

C& wants to thank Christine Eyene and Em’kal Eyongakpa for ingeniously giving their intuitive approaches and collaborative work-in-progress shape for our readers by intersecting their observations and an exciting mix of media.

EM’KAL EYONGAKPA:
THE INNER VISION

EM’KAL EYONGAKPA: THE INNER VISION

 

The second exhibition at C& Art Space brought together curator and art critic Christine Eyene and sound and video artist Em’kal Eyongakpa who exclusively collaborated on our platform.

The project entitled “Em’Kal – The Inner Vision” gives us a unique insight and feel into Eyongakpa’s polyphonic art practice and sensory experiences. As Eyongakpa puts it:

“With time, my quest to transcribe observations and dreams led me to interactive mixed-media installations. The interwoven nature of media engages the multiple interests and sources that inform my pieces. I am also interested in the in-between, dream-reality and rituals, as well as the combination of photography, video, sculpture, and drawings.”

 

C& wants to thank Christine Eyene and Em’kal Eyongakpa for ingeniously giving their intuitive approaches and collaborative work-in-progress shape for our readers by intersecting their observations and an exciting mix of media.

Curatorial Statement

by CHRISTINE EYENE

There is a project I want to do with Em’Kal. He does not know it yet. I haven’t told him. I don’t even know if I will be able to put it together but it does not matter. I have this idea in mind. Something, I am sure, he would be interested to explore.

Well, sure, you know what I mean. I mean, something I feel, he would be in tune with. A bit as if, the things we know about the artists we engage or work with, help us sense the space of their creativity. Often projects develop out of these intuitive relationships.

“Em’Kal – The inner vision” is the outcome of a lengthy staggered thought process. It is the result of extended periods of pondering, shaped by careful convolutions, narrowed down to an essential conceptual framing. The project posits itself as a space located between what is known, and where we are heading. Em’Kal as an artist, me as a curator, both versed in experimentation. It is premised on that which already exists, in an attempt to point towards what might, or not, be created.

This reflexive space has been a focus of my curatorial approach for quite some time now. But credit has to be given to the artists who have been open to this form of dialogue. Em’Kal is one of the creative minds representing this openness. It takes the peeling of many layers to get to the core of his practice. Better still, to that which is in his mind, and has yet to be released.

I still remember our first encounter in the summer of 2009, in Algiers, during the Second Panafrican Festival. The artist tag was something he gently declined at the time. Leading me instead to sounds of his own creation. One year later, our connection renewed in the field of visual arts, to which he added written words. But the real revelation for me happened in Douala, at the sight of his sketchbooks, a visualisation of inner images laid on paper. His hand built installations crafted in the mind. The structure, layout and material marked with precision. No room for uncertainty. Rather, a firm determination and ability to build the installation with his own hands if needed, with the clarity of a visionary.

His talent matches his modesty and was pointed to me by an equally humble mind at the forefront of Cameroonian new media arts, the late Goddy Leye (1965-2011). One habit known to art historians – and I plead guilty to this flaw – is to read art practice through the prism of lineage and rupture, within a set artistic landscape, be it local or global. Far from inferring any form of genealogy linking the two artists, the one trait common to both though, is manifest in their foresight and the innovative way in which their art push(ed) the boundaries of the media they explore(d).

To establish this anchorage within Cameroonian art practice is a way to lay the foundation for an apprehension of Em’Kal’s work in a less superficial approach than permitted by a virtual display. “Em’Kal – The inner vision” brings together six ensembles comprising sketches, digital simulations, photographs, sound and video pieces, punctuated by statements and poems by the artist. This selection retraces a trajectory in his practice and documents his thought process. The journey begins with Bleed for the Read (2009), a series of five images addressing knowledge overflow through an imagery contradicting Archimedes’ principle. It continues with Njanga Wata (2010), a multimedia installation
reflecting on the colonial legacy still impacting on Cameroon today. This series is shown here with the preparatory sketches revealing annotations and the shift from cartography, with the constructed geographical lines of Cameroon inherited from colonisation, to installation design followed by a single screen excerpt of the installation.

From the Naked Routes series (2011-) are extracted stills going in pair with the film Chronicles of Khalia I (2011). In these images Em’Kal pushes visual experiments including multiple exposures, transparency and blur, with a play on lights and shadows. While these first three works are clearly relating to a local thematic that includes naturalistic elements, She Moves (2010-), though referring to nature or the forest in the feminine gender, is much more abstract. Em’Kal captured the movement of trees with his camera, then assembled these vanishing forms as new concentrated, solid compositions. Once again sketches
accompany this selection, showing annotations and the digital simulation resulting from the morphing of the organic (tree), to anatomical (lungs), then geographical (Africa / South America). The experiment continues with Kattu Bateau (2012), a sound piece recorded in Yaoundé, transforming urban environment into a rhythmic play on noise, words and repetitions. This culminates with Untitled IX, from Diary of KHaL!A series, phase I (2007-2013), a lengthy minimalist audiovisual experience immersing the viewer into an imaginary space.

Untitled IX opens up towards the undetermined, promising more experiments by the artist that will feed into a continued dialogue...

Christine Eyene is an independent curator and Guild Research Fellow in Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire (eyonart.blogspot.co.uk).

Bleed for the read questions ideological consumption. This sequence of images defies
physical laws. While one generally observes the reduction of a liquid’s level in a bowl
containing solid objects as the latter are being removed here, the palm of the hand is
drowned both when the bowl is full of books and when these are taken out. This series
reflects on situations of knowledge overflow that cannot be reverted, not even through
an unlearning process.

Bleed for the Read

(2009)

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Bleed for the read (2009), series of 5 digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Bleed for the read (2009), series of 5 digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Bleed for the read (2009), series of 5 digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Bleed for the read (2009), series of 5 digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Bleed for the read (2009), series of 5 digital photographs

“Njanga Wata” is a Pidgin English translation of “river of prawns” (English), “Rio dos Cameroes” (Portuguese), from which derives the name Cameroon. After becoming a German colony from 1884 until the end of the First World War, Cameroon came under French and British mandates. The unification of the country in 1961 has not erased linguistic and political divisions.
Njanga Wata observes the impact of this colonial legacy on Cameroon today. The artist uses sonic and visual poetry to investigate the basic idea that people, places and things become what they are called.

Njanga Wata

2010

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Njanga Wata (2010), preparatory sketches

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Njanga Wata (2010), preparatory sketches

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Njanga Wata (2010), preparatory sketches

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Njanga Wata (2010), digital simulation

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Njaga Wata series (2009-2010), video, 1 min 17 sec

NJANGA WATA (2009-10)

njanga wata I

njanga wata I

zone of the amber, sins of her fathers
ambled was her paths through the fertile amber zones
humbled by the cries of her tired fragile bones
ambushed by seeds sown on black masked gold
her name was carved on a stone and married to a rig
sub-marines found no reason to unchain, entertainment bore no need
corals and sea weeds commute in lust as her slave-dance feet bleeds
she wails and awaits black gold messiah to spoil and get fixed
whilst the agony of her fumbling lips drowned in oceanic might
the songs of her ancient clans is still raped by sons like of her recent past
she cries a river, water bound left no clue
she bleeds internally as sea weeds patched her sores
should we blame it on tired drills with much weight to ferry?
or watch her flow with time’s healer pill,
praying sun’s kiss drive her ashore.

njanga wata II

njanga wata II

prawn infested waters, quater past the estuary,
like a midnight sun dance, sweet-sour-bitter.
prawns infested by the waters, half past the estuary
sweet-sour-bitter december flight, abu dhabi-bimbia-alaska
a child is named, a new fate is born
unconscious a child clings to its given name
let today be the day when you know your real name,
let today be the day when you see your real face,
let today be the day when you deviate from the frame

Growing up, I was puzzled by the movements I perceived as I travelled by car through forests. Every time I looked at vegetation, I had the impression I was static and what moved were the trees. This was contrary to what older people around me made me understand; I found it hard to believe them when they said we were moving though seated. A while back I decided to go through these routes and, like a child, I play with these movements, capturing moments, moving the camera as it writes her in-light. The mosaics created from photographic stills seem to box individual pictorial movements, evoking a struggle between my impressions and what is considered as the norm.
I have taken about 6000 shots through more than 2400 km of route. The photographs are printed on transparent film and coated with resin. The result gives an illusion of x-rays.

She Moves

2010

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), preparatory sketches

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), preparatory sketches

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, She Moves (2010-), digital simulation

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Naked Routes

(2011)

naked routes

naked routes

on these routes lay memories…
memories embedded in concrete, steel, wood…
on these routes lay stories…experienced, recounted, untold…
these routes lay struggles…lies…blood…
these routes i perform a ritual…
i might not tell your story by getting naked for you…
i only do this in remembrance of you…

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Naked Routes (2011-), series, digital photographs

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Chronicles of Khalia I (2012), video, 2 min 5 sec

CHRONICLES OF KHALIA I (2011)

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Kattu Bateau (2013), sound, 3 min 30 sec

Kattu Bateau

(2013)

It is recommended to use headphones

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Kattu Bateau (2013), sound, 3 min 30 sec

KATTU BATEAU (2013)

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Untitled IX, from diary of KHaL!A series, phase I (2007-2013), video, 11 min, 11 sec

Untitled IX, From Diary of KHaL!A Series, Phase I

2007 - 2013

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Untitled IX, from diary of KHaL!A series, phase I (2007-2013), video, 11 min, 11 sec

UNTITLED IX, FROM DIARY OF KHAL!A SERIES, PHASE I

EM’KAL EYONGAKPA: THE INNER VISION

Em’Kal Eyongakpa, Untitled IX, from diary of KHaL!A series, phase I (2007-2013), video, 11 min, 11 sec

 

The second exhibition at C& Art Space brought together curator and art critic Christine Eyene and sound and video artist Em’kal Eyongakpa who exclusively collaborated on our platform.

The project entitled “Em’Kal – The Inner Vision” gives us a unique insight and feel into Eyongakpa’s polyphonic art practice and sensory experiences. As Eyongakpa puts it:

“With time, my quest to transcribe observations and dreams led me to interactive mixed-media installations. The interwoven nature of media engages the multiple interests and sources that inform my pieces. I am also interested in the in-between, dream-reality and rituals, as well as the combination of photography, video, sculpture, and drawings.”

 

C& wants to thank Christine Eyene and Em’kal Eyongakpa for ingeniously giving their intuitive approaches and collaborative work-in-progress shape for our readers by intersecting their observations and an exciting mix of media.