“To say the brutality of the world, you have to be organized.”
#MARRAKECH Review of the In-discipline program, at the Espace d’Art Montresso* “To say the brutality of the world, you have to be organized”
“The aesthetic question, in today’s world, cannot be left solely in the hands of the market. That would be unbearable. Fortunately, things are no longer so fixed. There are enlightened collectors, artists who refuse cynicism. The public especially, must be invested again with a form of trust, in its ability to restore the question of beauty,” say Armand Boua, Gopal Dagnogo, Pascal Konan, Joachim Silué and Yeanzi with a single voice.
The analysis is fine and the verb is high.
We are in the heart of the Montresso Foundation, an artists’ residence and an unusual art space, located half an hour from Marrakech. This vast creative retreat hosts until March 31 the collective exhibition In-discipline, organized for the second consecutive year in partnership with the seminal African Contemporary Art Fair 1-54. On the agenda? The unpublished works of these five artists of Ivorian origin, all curated by the curator and writer Yacouba Konaté, an essential figure in contemporary African art
Many of the issues here intersect and meet. An opportunity for great discussions and an opportunity to ask the real questions: what is African Art really about? What future for the young artistic scene gathered here, at the Portes de l’Atlas? But also, how can we decolonize the imaginations within the European platforms, and their famous fairs?
For Pascal Konan, certain preliminary points must first be settled: “here or elsewhere, in Europe or Africa, at the heart of important fairs and smaller-scale hangings, we artists must always ensure that the principle of sincerity that drives us is not trampled underfoot. It is our duty. Having said that, we must unfortunately remember that the history of fairs is no longer written through the history of artists, but through the history of the market. ”
“Many entities are now gathered in these platforms called fairs. Artists, galleries, collectors, journalists… All these actors are necessary for the existence of such events. However, the question of responsibility and artistic future is always asked of the same actor, the artists,” deplores Pascal Konan. “What about the buyers? Exhibition curators? Fair organisers and the public? Once our works are hung up, we too become, in a way, subject to the same law of the art market. Art history tells us that it is the sensitivity of the market that now decides the pace of things. The question of rhythm is crucial. Artists’ time is not always that of the market,” recalls Pascal Konan.
“What model – economic and social – do we want for contemporary art? “asks Yeanzi. “On this issue, interests still diverge far too much to converge. No one, to date, sees things in the same way. It’s still very formless. The answer, we do not have it, but a certainty, it must be collective. Efforts must be combined. There is currently too much pressure on artists on this issue. We know that we are the starting points and we take our share of responsibility in this strange multi-band game. But we will not endorse all the outcomes, nor all the excesses linked to the commodification of works. Understand that artists already put a lot of reflective energy into their work. I think that this effort must first be developed in the workshops. It would be detrimental to our creativity if it were only with market operators. ”
“The artistic discourse now seems to be caught in a vice. With, on the one hand, committed, “clean“ artistic expression and, on the other hand, a set of cynical productions, controlled parentheses, politically impoverished by the market,” explains Joachim Silué. “I think that the artist must first ask himself the question of the restitution of his work. Giving back is the key. To give back is to offer. It is to contribute to an artistic language, which can thus extend to the younger generation. And thus repeat and enrich themselves. And to trigger new artistic vocations among our little sisters and brothers. ”
It is surprising to know that it is the same author of this universalist motto who at the same time signs the most frontal and intense series of In-discipline, second cru. Madriers, disjointed scrap metal or mirror fragments… Joachim assembles massive pieces – which he himself considers “paintings” – made of raw materials and a mineral palette, wooded, marked by the whitish patina of time: “I consider the elements that compose my works as dry chromies, masses that I apply” confides to us the Ivorian artist, now living in Modena in Italy. “The collection of materials, the sorting and arrangement of these residues in my large crates lead me to a tension, from which the work will emerge. But the content of the framework must remain minimal. Also I oscillate between a certain creative fever and, despite everything, a lot of preparation. To make the brutality of the other or the world, you have to be organized. ”
And that is what In-Discipline is all about: accompanying an avant-garde so that it develops aesthetics strong enough to denounce the violence of the world. Where other artists – “the cynics” – accompany him.
Also presented in the belly of the Montresso Foundation are the extremely textured works of Armand Boua, witnesses of political struggles in West Africa, through the lives of street children. His compositions left their mark on visitors to Montresso, as well as on the public at Art Fair 1-54, since Armand’s work was also visible in the Abidjan gallery Cécile Fakhoury, who participated in the 1-54 fair.
Fifth artist rightly selected by the team of Montresso and Yacouba Konaté, the painter Gopal Dagnogo is perhaps the one who instilled the most colors and abstract embraces at the heart of the In-discipline program. Trained on the benches of a very classical and realistic pictorial academism, Gopal nevertheless freed himself from technique to let speak – in a free and instinctive way – the sensitive strings of his unconscious.
“I am at the service of the canvas,” says the painter. “I am its instrument, its raw medium, which operates in a drive. I do not make any preliminary sketches… My principle of composition is based on backgrounds, often pastels. Once dry, these masses of preparatory colours then come to recover more figurative and significant elements, a bottle here, a poultry there. “The use of typography is subject to the same principle: “I treat words as iconographic elements, which can soften spaces or create graphic effects. ”
Even when immersed in a dialogue with his creative ego, the technical residue of Gopal’s gesture is such that his works present balances of hypers harmonious compositions, as well as a formidable aesthetic requirement. And if man claims to be a painter above all, it is also necessary to look at his works on paper, which are widely represented in the Montresso space.
The In-discipline program is held at theEspace d’Art Montresso until March 31, 2019.
The next African Contemporary Art Fair 1-54 will be held in February 2020 in Marrakech, Morocco.
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