Exhibition from July 4 to July 31, 2014
Aboudia, Nestor Da, Saïdou Dicko, François-Xavier Gbré, Jems Robert Koko Bi, Vincent Michéa, Cheikh Ndiaye, Virginia Ryan, Paul Sika.
Working collective in the art field
Gathering artworks and having artist projects in the gallery’s space is steeping into a creation dynamic, and thinking about ways of promoting art and dialogue. Our program, bringing together different research territories, is at the crossroad of the problematics that the artists of the gallery chose to defend.
Our adventure in Dakar has just come to an end. It was the first collective exhibition of the gallery, during the side-events of the Dak’art Biennial. This experience, shared beyond the walls of the Abidjan gallery, has strengthened a relationship made of collaboration between the artists. Over there, everything has been connected together, like a shared work studio where everybody could assert oneself, while observing the environment. Movements and energies converged and highlighted each other.
A collective exhibition can also bring people to think about identities and encounters. The group show that takes place today is reminding us of important moments of the life of the gallery, which will soon be two years old. It is like a box filled with souvenirs and ideas marked by the desire of exchanges and invitations.
A focus on travelling artworks
The works of the Ivorian sculptor Jems Robert Koko Bi have been shown at the Venice Biennale last year in the Ivorian pavilion. Once repatriated back to their homeland, those boats are sailing us once again towards historic horizons, while also directly referring to the present.
In October 2013, during its first participation to an international art fair – 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London – the gallery presented a sculpture entitled Daily Walkers, a pirogue standing on the floor, carrying burned fragments of legs. Black trade slave, human trafficking: Jems Koko Bi builds geographical and temporal bridges, shaping his convictions in the wood, committing his speech with strength and freedom.
Last February, Galerie Polaris invited us to curate a video projection in Paris. For this occasion, Gariibu, a film by Saïdou Dicko was shown. A testimony about child beggars that extends his photograph series representing shadows, softly unveiled profiles, sometimes fleeting, sometimes quiet. This same film is part of a bigger in-situ installation that mixes video and photography, large satellite screen made of 42 images.
Witnessing time and space
Artistic interventions are echoes to each other, with heterogeneous and singular forms.
The artworks presented by François-Xavier Gbré reveal his research began in 2009 at Bamako Olympic swimming pool – next to Modibo Keita Stadium, Mali. He creates a panorama going from wall-size prints to old Polaroid family photo, with a six-minutes window opening on a photographic film mixing archives, interviews and artworks. François-Xavier Gbré puts up his subject and shapes it with subtle touches of contrasting reality.
On his canvas, Cheikh Ndiaye is restoring the lost cinemas of Dakar and Abidjan, which are now in decay and slowly fading into oblivion. He studies his subject and dissects it. From this methodical analysis results a quasi-anatomic version, true and realistic. In this visual rigor appear intuitive parts and false perfections, showing us sometimes the very moving fragility of mankind, the squamation of buildings, and sometimes gestures from the street life. Distances are broken.
Virginia Ryan’s posters, memories of a time where globalization came with standardized stories, shows her commitment to overstep the codes. Never Ending Story is a series made from archives of an old cinema theater in Grand-Bassam (Côte d’Ivoire). This material is shaped in a way of witnessing of a time – recent, but over – and today carrying new messages. Virginia Ryan gives here a new interpretation of classical movies.
Time travel, jump in a multiple sides universe… Vincent Michéa’s characters from the past are now living in the space of his canvas, dressed with vibrant dots. With one wall, four paintings and three photomontages in a deep ink blue, we can see the various styles that Michéa masters with sharpness in his interpretation.
Aboudia creates a portrait gallery, with a great energy and with a deep urban voice. Those eighteen faces painted with acrylic are bringing up to drawing, graffiti, groups or visions of a cosmopolitan youth.
Four photocollages by Nestor Da are an insight into his last series realized in Ghana, Ivory Coast and France. The rough distortions he creates, connected with the poetry of his painting and compositions, renew the look we give to our environment.
The work of Paul Sika is a spotlight, the starting point of a route, an ellipsis that concentrates the vitality of creation. His globalized African culture tells us a fictional story with scenes at the crossroad of painting, photography and cinema.
There is in this group show a dimension of exploration of different spaces and realities that lead us to Mali, Senegal, Burkina and then take us back here, in Ivory Coast. We walk in the exhibition like we could stride across those different countries. With all of those brackets, mix of instants of poetry, of coloured craving, calm landscapes or urban buzz, artists are observers of our world, they reflect its diversity and allow us to see what we miss.
Abidjan, July 2014