THE LOST RIVERS DREAM INDEX VOL. 3: Kambui Olujimi - Paris

19 October - 2 December 2023 Paris

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury is pleased to present Kambui Olujimi’s first solo exhibition in France, The Lost Rivers Dream Index, Vol. 3


Whether one is a skeptic, a fervent believer or a distant observer, the interpretation of our dreams has never ceased to fascinate human societies. All over the world, vernacular knowledge and rituals of interpretation are relentless in their attempts to unravel the mysteries of these nocturnal visions - manifestations of our desires, our deepest unconscious or signs of the divine - in the quest for invaluable knowledge about the meaning of our lives and the essence of our beings. From one culture to another, our tools of interpretation vary, but the underlying motivation remains the same: an attempt to understand who we are and how we exist in the world. 


Kambui Olujimi takes us into the depths of our dreams, using as a starting point the Dream Index, publications constructed as lexicons of words whose definitions and cross-references weave a web of meaning for interpretation. Popular, esoteric, religious or collector’s items, they exist in all forms and for all. Kambui Olujimi draws on several of these indexes and his memory to compose his own, presented here in the third edition of the project begun in 2007. 


This small volume, intended to be disseminated and shared as visitors pass by, accompanies the painted works. Kambui Olujimi, playing on the plurality of symbols contained in dreams - and in the works, invites us to use it as a reading grid to construct our own personal narratives and mythologies. Like dreams, understanding the works requires contemplation. The ballet of flashy colors and diluted matter on paper in a dreamlike transparency acts like a dazzling, jubilant first film. The silhouettes of the characters float on fascinating backgrounds. Bank Robber + Money Stacks: a flirtation with nineties hip hop aesthetics; Star Walker: the vibrant and bold impulse of Surya Bonaly’s leg movement; Astronaut: the emptiness of the world, an exuberant, petrifying freedom. 


Then, almost by anamorphosis, the triggering detail appears, the one that always with Kambui Olujimi tinges the most spontaneous joy with visceral pain, existential heartbreak with childlike glee. Depth Charts and Chastity Devices: topographical map of the English Channel and chastity devices (real or fantasized) Again, we look a little more intensely at Astronaut: a pregnant woman floats in space. Star Walker: the abyss that threatens the woman who is asked to prove everything over andover again because she is black. And then there’s Memorial Cake, that ambiguous aesthetic object, a symbol of festivity and a threatening presence due to its heavy structure and opacity. “I wanted to imagine what the birthday cakes of those who are no more might look like“, says the artist, those whom the system has taken: George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor...


Kambui Olujimi’s works reveal the diffuse mechanisms of our society and the psychic workings that inhabit us. Digging into our collective memories, the artist approaches dreams as an elaboration of imaginative thought that transforms reality. Masked Monuments and Monument Removal are the dreams of history rewritten and written by those it had forgotten. In these dreams, they take possession of the symbols of ideological and political oppression glorified in history by these statues and monuments. They were fictions a few decades ago, but are now slowly inching towards fruition. 


The Lost Rivers Dream Index, Vol. 3 is a journey into the contemporary psyche, at the crossroads of desire and the unconscious, the political and the sensitive. Immersed, the viewer is engaged in a silent dialogue with the artist. Kambui Olujimi weaves his own holistic approach, not without a sense of humor, into a visual odyssey of our dreams, from which he draws the material for a profound and sensitive commementary on our world. 


Delphine Lopez