Museum of Contemporary Photography

Typists, Likasi, DR Congo

Guy Tillim
Typists, Likasi, DR Congo, Archival pigment ink on cotton rag paper , 91.5 x 131.5cm


Columbia College Chicago 600 S. Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60605


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Guy Tillim at Museum of Contemporary Photography

In his project 'Avenue Patrice Lumumba' (2007–08), Guy Tillim records the architecture and infrastructure of colonial and postcolonial Africa. Patrice Lumumba (1925–61) was one of the first elected African leaders in modern times. Tillim avoids intense action entirely, and instead focuses on the architecture, landscape, and people in African countries where the legacy of colonialism forms a backdrop but does not capture the essence of individual lives unfolding. His pictures portray the crumbling institutional buildings—post offices, schools, hotels, and offices—that were built by colonial governments in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and Mozambique. These photographs are not collapsed histories of post-colonial African states or a meditation on aspects of late-modernist-era colonial structures, but a walk through avenues of dreams. Patrice Lumumba’s dream, his nationalism, is discernible in these structures, if one reads certain clues, as is the death of his dream, in these de facto monuments.

10 January 2011 - 06 March 2011