Cecile Fakhoury Gallery is pleased to present the sixth solo exhibition of the artist Aboudia.
This exhibition will highlight a strong selection of the works created by the young Ivorian painter in 2011 and 2012. It includes around ten canvases depicting the noisy urbanity and the over-the-top joie de vivre of Abidjan’s cityscape. It also features the body of work “les joyeuses familles” (the happy families): 54 postcard-size drawings around the theme of the family unit in collaboration with Ivory Coast’s elder statesman of contemporary art, Frédéric Bruly-Bouabré, whose postcard-size sketches have been exhibited throughout the world.
Movement: probably the key characteristic of Aboudia and his work. Even if the paintings of this child prodigy can fix the moment of their creation, the author seems unable to keep still. A child of Abidjan’s busy streets which so inspire his thoughts, he has now experienced urban life from New York to London, via Johannesburg. While Aboudia found fame through his poignant public testimony of the Battle of Abidjan, he prefers to define himself as a cosmopolitan artist, constantly moving between worlds and cultures: an artist that’s difficult to label, categorise or pigeon-hole.
His work comes out of this movement, driven by an unquenchable thirst to be in the world, something that comes out strongly whether in multilingual collages the resemble automatic writing; in the walls covered with torn posters, new over old; or in the pastels and acryolic paintings. Aboudia’s work highlights the clash between violence and innocence, like battlefields of primary colours, warm and cold, symphonies alternating between curves swirling on themselves to emphasize the importance of movement and their message; clean lines and smooth turns around the illustrated subjects. His literal and figurative street art, rooted in the concrete world and reinforced by the mural artwork training he received as a young man at the Technical Centre of Applied Arts in Bingerville, Aboudia paints the street in a street fashion, inspired by styles rather than individuals. It’s this in-your-face environment with its whighs and lows, details and global visions that remains his principal inspiration, fed by reminiscences of charcoal drawings on the wall of a house in his village where he grew up, drawings on matchboxes, painted advertising outside hairdressing shacks, graffiti, tags, and of course the songs and colour of Nouchi, the underground youth language of the street.
His work demystifies the division between line and the ligne claire school, with vibrant colours, flat febrile shapes, streaks, contrasting harmonies and unorthodox readings. For Aboudia, “everything happens in the eye of the beholder.” As a painter, his urgent work is passionate about everything, engulfing him in a praxis of energy and a passion for communicating life, which is first of foremost a message of childhood left to itself, in a world damaged by adults and passed on to future generations, without having assured an inheritance spacious enough to accommodate future dreams. It’s a message to the universal, with the only borders being personal experience, in a visceral painting style that jumps out in front of our eyes.
Aboudia was born in 1983 in Côte d’Ivoire. He’s a graduate of the Centre of Applied Arts in Bingerville (2005), after which he trained as a mural and decorative painter. He was one of the artists who contributed to the giant fresco adorning the wall of Abidjan’s Palais de la Culture. In 2009, he held his first solo exhibition at the French-Guinean Cultural Center Centre in Guinea-Conakry. That same year, his paintings were included in the collective “Arkadi” exhibition organized by the French Cultural Center in Abidjan. In 2011, Aboudia received international acclaim for his paintings documenting the battle of Abidjan. In June of that year the Jack Bell Gallery in London held an exhibition of his paintings, four of which are now in the permanent collection of the Saatchi Gallery. Since summer 2011, Aboudia has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and attended a conference on the role of art in wartime in South Africa at the invitation of the Goethe Institute. Recently, he participated, with other Ivorian artists, at an Abidjan exhibition on the sidelines of the biennale “DAKART” in Senegal.