Fragments of the Invisible: The Reny and Odette Delenne Collection of Congo Sculpture (BOK)
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Fragments of the Invisible celebrates the acquisition by the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2010 of 35 stellar works of Congolese art from the collection of Rene and Odette Delenne of Brussels. The publication, which accompanies an exhibition at the museum, explores the fragmentary nature of African works in Western collections and sheds light on how in their original settings many works connected with the invisible world of spirits and deities. Fragments of the Invisible also discusses the history of the Delenne collection against the background of collecting African art in Belgium and reflects on issues of provenance, cultural heritage and patrimony. Among the highlights of the collection, which mainly dates from the 19th and early 20th centuries, are three rare male "power figures;" a 19th century bronze crucifix used in both Christian and traditional religious rites; and a rare female bowl bearing figure. Many of the objects have never been published or exhibited and are therefore unknown to scholars and the public. Collectors in Belgium in particular have felt a connection to central Africa because of Belgium's role as a one-time colonising power in the present day Democratic Republic of Congo.