To explore an exhibition by Armand Boua is to dive into the vibrant and at times violent contemporary street life of Abidjan. Abstract silhouettes are welcoming us. They will accompany us from one everyday life scene to another. Their faces lack details, nevertheless they stare at us intensely and stand before us with the placidity of those who have seen and lived everything. Yet, some of them are youngster, just out of their childhood spent in the streets where Armand Boua met them and where they are used to spend time together.
The dazzling quality of Armand Boua's paintings conceals the long creative work at stake. Each of the painting is made of several layers of material - newspapers, cardboard, papers - which are gathered by the artist, glued together and painted before being washed and brushed in a cathartic gesture.
Armand Boua is taking inspiration from his daily life, nurturing his practice with the human encounters he experiences. His choice of a rather abstract representation of characters, ethereal shapes of silhouettes, enables him to take distance with the immediacy of denunciation process to inscribe his practice in a universal geography and temporality open to multiple readings.
Under the artist's hand, street becomes an epic field of representation. Composition and close framing give Armand Boua's paintings a photographic dimension. Caught in action, those silhouettes painted in black are surrounded by colorful halos resembling powerful auras as if revealed in negative thus creating a vibrant and blurred atmosphere hallucinatory visions can emerge from.
Image: Le Gbaffou, 2019