Kenny Mala Ngombe

Triptyque Opaque I (2024) 

Acrylic paint & oil bars on canvas, insulation boards, car amplifiers, contact speakers 

Triptyque Opaque I is a multifaceted painting that merges visual and auditory elements creating an immersive experience. This triptych self-portrait draws inspiration from the Renaissance piece ‘Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament’ (1464–1468) by Dieric Bouts, with its frame echoing the historical artwork’s reverent design. The angled panels invite viewers into an intimate engagement with the piece created by physical proximity.

At its core, the work explores the concept of existence beyond language, drawing from Edouard Glissant’s ‘Poetics of Relation.’ It delves into the abstract, using a visual language based on electrical circuits to symbolize the known unknowns of reality. The inclusion of speakers made from insulation boards, car amplifiers, and contact speakers infuses the painting with sound. Loops of varying lengths play over each other, representing the acceptance of perpetual change. 

This self-portrait marks Kenny’s initial foray into creating opaque work, challenging the viewer to engage with both the visible and the invisible. Triptyque Opaque I is a profound exploration of identity and the intricate layers of reality that lie beyond the reach of language. 

Credits: 

Framework co-produced by Elouise Farley; Mastering by Jonas Verstraeten


Kenny Mala Ngombe (b. Leuven, Belgium) is a visual artist currently based in Brussels. His practice is preoccupied with the way the fiction that is “otherness” seeps into our reality and global society. Through painting and drawing in an abstract figurative way – as well as explorations via sound, video and sculptural work – Kenny attempts to unravel the invisible world hiding behind the visible one in which we operate daily. He seeks to cultivate and centre this covert sphere in order to transcend but also heal from the fiction that dehumanises us.

He is co-founder of Customs & Borders, an artist-led collective that was active from 2021 to 2023, and which aimed to shift the boundaries of access to contemporary art with an Afrocentric vision.