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Aimé Mpane’s Nude: A Body that Questions

Steven J. Cody

Published online:

22 Nov 2023



Aimé Mpane is an especially versatile Congolese artist based in Brussels and Kinshasa. This paper examines his Nude (2006–2008), a life-sized sculpture of the idealized male form. Thinking carefully about Mpane’s treatment of the body, his selection of material, and his manipulation of the sculpture’s surface, I argue that Nude operates on an ethical level. The work engages with social conceptions of Black bodies, the history of nudity in western art, and—most interestingly—Frantz Fanon’s theory of embodiment, as presented in Black Skin, White Masks (1952). Nude thus allows us to explore the relationship between a leading artist of the African diaspora and one of the most important critics of the colonial condition. The work also contributes to our increasingly nuanced understanding of art’s place within the wider spheres of post-colonial discourse.

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