Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc - Limbé • Studio STUK

A silent and intense portrait of limbo; the dance that was born on the slave ships of the Middle Passage

Tu 25/10: from 20:00
We 26/10
: from 20:00 + introduction at 21:45
Fr 28/10
: from 20:00
Sa 29/10
: from 20:00
Su 30/10
: from 20:00

The film Limbé takes its inspiration and title from a poem by the Guyanese poet Léon Gontran-Damas, creator of the négritude movement* together with Aimée Césaire and Léopold Sedard-Senghor. This Creole expression, which is a way of activating the limbos through language, evokes a great sadness, a deep melancholy. Continuing his collaboration with the dancer and choreographer Betty Tchomanga, Abonnenc attempts to give form to this state, while echoing the reflections of the Guyanese poet Wilson Harris. For Harris, the Limbo dance would be a way of evoking, through its contortions, the gestures that the slaves had to invent in order to survive the crossing of the Atlantic from the bottom of the slaveship. “Limbo was born, it is said, on the slaves ships of the Middle Passage. There was so little space that the slaves contorted themselves into human spiders.”

*Négritude (from French "Nègre" and "-itude" to denote a condition that can be translated as "Blackness") is a framework of critique and literary theory, developed mainly by francophone intellectuals, writers, and politicians of the African diaspora during the 1930s, aimed at raising and cultivating "Black consciousness" across Africa and its diaspora.

Credits: Limbé (2021). 16mm film transferred to 2K, silent, 10’

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, born 1977 in Cayenne French-Guyana, lives in Sète, France. In his practice as an artist, researcher, curator and film programmer, Abonnenc is committed to exploring areas neglected by colonial and post-colonial history. Absence, haunting and the representation of violence are all themes addressed in his work, which proceeds by extraction and excavation and works to reinscribe, in collective history, personalities and cultural materials that have been silenced. Often involving the collaboration of actors from various disciplinary fields, Abonnenc's practice takes shape in drawings, films, slideshows and discursive devices. His works have been shown in solo exhibitions around the world at venues including Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover (2022), Ifa Gallery, Berlin (2022), Museo Jumex Mexico City (2018), the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt (2016), the Kunsthalle Basel (2013), the Fundação de Serralves in Porto (2012), and Gasworks in London (2011). He also participated in the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and Manifesta 8 in Murcia (2010). Abonnenc was a resident at the French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici in 2016-2017, and a guest artist at the DAAD, Berlin for 2019. He is currently pursuing a Phd at EDESTA- Paris8.

Studio STUK
Dance, Image & Sound in the iconic Manhattan
with De Hoorn

➤ GETTING THERE: The Manhattan is situated next to the Vaart Leuven-Mechelen. / On foot : 20 min from Leuven train station / By bike: Cycle highway F8 and F3 / Public transport: Take the Outer ring road bus (line 600) and get of at stop Engels Plein / By car : parking Vaartkom.

➤ ACCESSIBILITY: The venue is accessible for wheelchair users. The regular sanitary facilities are accessible by elevator. Unfortunately, there is no accessible toilet.

➤ STUDIO CAFÉ: Our café opens at 19:30. Come early, stay late.

➤ SAFER SPACE: Studio STUK aims to be an inclusive space for everyone. We take every form of intimidation seriously. Don't hesitate to talk to a STUK colleague or a person behind the bar.

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc in La Loge

From September 8 to December 4, La Loge art center in Brussels presents In the Womb of the Glass Ship, an exhibition by Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc in collaboration with Thomas Tilly. For his new sound installation at La Loge, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc uses the work of Guyanese author Wilson Harris and the text The Music of Living Landscapes as a starting point. Like a deciphering of the alphabet evoked by Harris, the exhibition offers a subjective and sensory understanding of knowledge, identity, and language.

La Loge
Rue de l'ermitage Kluisstraat 86
1050 Brussels

Thursday — Sunday
13:00 — 18:00


Dancer and choreographer Betty Tchomanga | Director of Photography Victor Zébo | Commissioned by Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris for the Exhibition Les moyens du bord, 2020 | Produced by La grande Halle de La Villette, Paris and Ròt-Bò-Krik, Sète
Tue 25 Oct 2022 20:00 - Sun 30 Oct 2022 23:00


  • Kolonel Begaultlaan 21
  • 3012 Leuven