Born in 1966 in Sinfra, Côte d'Ivoire. He works and lives in Essen, Germany.

Graduated from the Kunstakademie of Düsseldorf after having studied at the INSAAC in Abidjan, Jems Robert Koko Bi is nowadays a major figure of contemporary art in Ivory Coast and around the world. Both a sculptor and a performer, he enriched his technique as well as his aesthetics throughout his schooling, from the studio of Klaus Simon in Abidjan, that he joins in 1992, to the teachings of Klaus Rinke that he followed during his stay in Germany, which became his host country in 1997. 

The particularity of the way he shapes the wood, creating shapes at times figurative at times abstract, carving it with a knife, a chainsaw or fire, earned him to be selected to numerous international art events. In 2000, he receives for instance the price of the Dakar Biennal, of which he will also be a part in 2008 (with his work Darfur), in 2016 (he presents Racines, in the exhibition Contours) and in 2018 (with the installation Retour). His work has also been presented during the Havana Biennal in 2003, at the Documenta of Kassel in 2012 and at the Venice Biennal, within the Ivorian pavilion in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

His work has been displayed during The Divine Comedy exhibition in 2014 at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany, and in 2015 at the Smithsoninan National Museum of African Arts in the United States. This same year, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury dedicated a personal exhibition to his works, No Man's Land, in Abidjan. His sculptures were also shown at Musée Quai Branly in France during the exhibition Les Maîtres de la sculpture de Côte d'Ivoire (The masters of sculpture from Ivory Coast). In 2017, he participates to the Continua Sphères Ensemble exhibition at the 104 in Paris, and a personal exhibition, Terre d'origine, is dedicated to his work at Fondation Donwahi in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

Selected exhibitions: Cercle des vies, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury - Abidjan (Ivory Coast, 2018), La cloche des fourmis, Biennale de Dakar - Le OFF (Senegal, 2018), 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York (USA, 2019), Biennale de la sculpture d'Amsterdam (Netherlands, 2019).

 

Image : Pause Figurine, 2015