Boris Lurie | Amerique / Lumumba Dead »Lumumba...is...dead« | 1960/61 | Oil and paper on canvas | 182 x 198 cm
© Boris Lurie Art Foundation, New York, USA
Boris Lurie from his statement on the Involvement Show, New York, 1961
The work “Lumumba is Dead” was shown at the NO!art group’s Involvement Show in New York in 1961.
In the large-scale collage with a prominent reversed swastika taking centre stage, Lurie – in addition to countless superimposed pin-up photos – projected the newspaper headline LUMUMBA IS DEAD.
The work references the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected prime minister of the Republic of the Congo. Lumumba’s struggle for the political and economic independence of his country conflicted with the economic interests of former colonial power Belgium and other Western countries. In this highly politicised work, Lurie explores the phenomenon of exercising violence in totalitarian systems. Through the girly pictures found in American men’s magazines of the time, Lurie – with scant heed for political correctness – moved into the dangerous area where his own revulsion meets obsession. The demons of his past are reflected in the present circumstances. Violence and the reckless exercising of power at all levels of society are mercilessly unmasked in Lurie’s works, blended into a dense amalgam on a visual level.