Ngayimoko, Ambroise
Born 1949 in Angola
Lives and works in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 1961, Ngayimoko moved to Kinshasa where he worked as a mechanic and a technician for an open-air cinema, before he became an assistant to his uncle in 1968, who ran two photo studios. He opened the Studio 3Z in 1971 (Kitambo), a name chosen to symbolise the three Zaïres: the country, the currency and the river. He gained recognition in the 1970s due to an unprecedented technique in which he developed two portraits on the same sheet, using the same negative twice. This cult of cloning is reminiscent of the traditional rites performed for a missing twin. In the full swing of ‘Zaïrisation’, the shortage of 6x6 black & white film and the eventual arrival of color film, had an effect on Ngaimoko’s clientele. In 1997, he renamed his studio 3C (for the three Congos). Recent exhibitions include Histoires Congolaises, Robert-Desnos Library, Montreuil (2017) and Beauté Congo, 1926-2015, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2015).
Ambroise Ngayimoko, Mannequins exposant le nouveau mode de pantalon dénommé le pattes d’éléphants, 1974, Gelatin Silver Print, 40 x 50 cm, 15 x 19 in, Ed of 8 + 2 AP. Photography: 3Z/ 3C. Courtesy MAGNIN-A