Aïda Muluneh, The 99 Series, 2013©
MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst
The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory
Revisited by Contemporary African Artists
Paradise on the ground floor, purgatory in the middle and hell at the top: In The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory Revisited by Contemporary African Artists, the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main serves as a stage for Dante’s Divine Comedy on 4,500 square metres of exhibition space. The epos from the 14th century forms the foundation for the exhibition conceived by curator Simon Njami and realized in collaboration with the MMK. The presentation will travel subsequently to further venues worldwide.
The episodes Dante experiences range from paradigmatic depictions of human transgression in hell to repentance and recognition on the mountain of purgatory and, ultimately, salvation in paradise. Fifty participating artists from more than 20 African countries have embarked on their own journeys of the otherworld. Taking their own widely differing cultural and religious backgrounds as a starting point, the artists investigate individual thematic sequences of the Divine Comedy. Their main concern is with the universal deliberations in Dante’s work and how they relate to thematic issues of the present. Even if the show is, in a sense, a translation of the Divine Comedy into the language of the visual arts, it is not an attempt to create a contemporary illustrated version of its historical contents. It proceeds on the premise that Dante’s visions are applicable to many cultures and many religions.