Thursday, 27 February 2014
Saturday, 1 February 2014
Ivory Coast artist Frederic Bruly Bouabre dies
Source: BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25942100
在過去的 25 年中，在的幾個世界上最重要的藝術畫廊和博物館展出過他的工作。
威尼斯雙年展主辦機構，布瓦佈雷工作作為一名公務員直到 1948 年，當他有後，他獻身于藝術的視覺。
喬納森 · 沃特金斯，從 Ikon 畫廊在伯明罕和館長的最近一次一展布瓦佈雷在漢城，說，在他看到
"它導致他他作為一種預言字元放在地球上的結論。他把自己叫做 ' 謝赫 Nadro'......'一個人永遠不會忘記，'"他告訴 BBC 的重點在非洲電臺節目上。
弗雷德里克 · Bruly 布瓦佈雷的作品一系列由布瓦佈雷在外交和非洲聯盟顯示在象牙海岸館在威尼斯雙年
Alternative English Version: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/3667687/Frederic-Bruly-Bouabre-A-childlike-world-of-goodness-and-colour.html
Wednesday, 2 October 2013
New African 1:54 Special – Newfound Visibility
Posted on 29.09.2013
The art dealer André Magnin has played a pivotal role in the dissemination of African contemporary art outside Africa. In 1989, he co-curated the global art exhibition Magiciens de la terre in Paris, after which he became director of the well-known Pigozzi Collection for 20 years. In 2009 he founded Magnin-A, his eponymous agency which represents a diverse array of artists including Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Romuald Hazoumè, Chéri Samba, Kura Shomali and Billie Zangewa. He explains to Olivier Coutau how the African art market has evolved from a situation of relative non-existence in the 1990s to a situation of newfound visibility.
Olivier Coutau: You first gravitated towards Africa while investigating the continent for the exhibition, Magiciens de la terre, which opened at the Pompidou Centre in 1989. How did the art world respond to the exhibition at the time?
André Magnin: Magiciens de la terre was innovative in the sense that, for the first time, artists from all over the world were shown on an equal footing. While asking many questions to art history, institutions, galleries and collectors, the exhibition exposed several African artists. But, at the time and in the following years, the market for African contemporary art was non-existent.
In the early 1990s, access to mobile phones or the internet was scarce. You had to go up to Lagos, Kinshasa, Dar es Salaam, Maputo or Abidjan to discover the artists and their work. A situation that discouraged dealers and other art professionals.
Following Magiciens de la terre, the Jean Pigozzi Collection gave to a group of about forty African artists an international visibility. This was not a commercial en- deavor, but a non-conventional adventure aiming at challenging the cannons and broadening the field of art history through a number of collective and solo shows. It is only at the end of the 1990s that a market for African art started to be thinkable. Artists from the Pigozzi Collection began to sell, consequently their success created a momentum that encouraged a younger generation of African artists. I believe the collection played a vital role in this respect.
OC: In 1999, Sotheby’s auctioned works from the Pigozzi Collection. This was the first major auction sale dedicated to contemporary art from Africa. How was the event organised and what was the outcome?
AM: Sotheby’s was the first auction house to ask us for pieces from the Collection. It was an opportunity to contribute to the creation of a market and to raise the attention of collectors to an area they did not know. Twenty-eight artists were selected, including Romuald Hazoumè, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré and Chéri Samba among others.
Estimates ranged from €800 to €9,000. Fifty-six lots out of fifty-seven were sold and, on the whole, the results were higher than the estimates. Some positive results, but prices remained reasonable and could not compare with Western art auctions. It was neither a success nor a failure. For Sotheby’s, the test was not conclusive. The African contemporary art market was still hesitant and the main Western private collectors were absent.
OC: Since 2008 and 2009, auction sales of contemporary art from Africa have been more frequent. Specialised African galleries have emerged, some of which participate in international art fairs. You yourself have started a commercial activity with your agency Magnin-A. How do you explain this current market trend?
AM: Yes, indeed, during the last few years, auctions dedicated to contemporary Afri- can art have proliferated. But, with some exceptions, outstanding works are rare and results for the lesser-known artists are weak.
In 2009, noticing with Jean Pigozzi the limited presence in international art fairs of artists living and working in Africa, I decided to devote all my time to the promotion of African artists in the international art mar- ket. Other galleries or agencies dedicated to African contemporary art were created in Europe; they have brought a new energy to the market in the UK, in Germany, in Belgium and in Paris.
In addition, many in Africa have started to become aware that investing in art matters. I am thinking of the many biennales, private foundations, auction houses, art centres and galleries that contribute to the emergence of a market and stimulate artistic creation. However, it appears that the only African galleries present in major art fairs are from South Africa, where institutions and collectors support creation.
OC: From your experience, who buys contemporary African art today?
AM: With the growing interest of biennales, fairs, and other Western institutions in contemporary art from Africa, the visibility of artists from the continent has never reached such a level. As a consequence of this proliferation, buyers are very diverse. Most of them are Westerners; they can be private persons who, without being collec- tors, couldn’t resist the drawings of artists like Bouabré. African artists have also been integrated into public and private collections internationally, such as the Tate Modern and the Smithsonian Museum, not to mention the Charles Saatchi collection, the Sindika Dokolo collection and other major collections.
Prominent African collectors are still too rare, but things are moving and some of them, like Alami Lazraq in Morocco or Gordon Schachat in South Africa, are thinking of creating private museums on the continent.
OC: Certain African artists have reached the one million euro mark at auction. On the other hand, most artists living and working on the continent are still very far away from it. How do you explain this disparity?
AM: Yes, some African artists have reached important prices, but they are still far from the market records of the Western, Chinese or Indian ‘stars’. There are also numerous well-established Western artists who never reach this level. African artists from the di- aspora benefit from the important network of their own countries, where there are of- ten serious markets. With the exception of Nigeria and South Africa, the art market in Africa Sub-Saharan is still in its infancy. But, some African artists, without reach- ing these records, still do very well in the international market. For example, works by the Congolese artist Chéri Samba, can sell for €50,000 to €100,000, or a big series by the Ivorian artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré can also reach a very high price.
OC: You have been visiting Africa for over 20 years. How has it changed as a continent and what kind of impact will this have on the future?
AM: With an economic growth of 5% a year, Africa is now a driving force. A new African middle class is emerging and eager to live and consume. In 2050, with 30% more inhabitants than China, Africa will be the biggest market in the world! I believe that the well-off African middle class will make a difference in the development of an African art market. When this sector of society begins to buy national artists, it will undoubtedly help to support the continent’s vast artistic production, reflecting that of China and India. I foresee a real market emerging from Africa’s rise, impacting on African artists’ international ratings.
I think African institutions can help the public to better know and understand con- temporary art. For example, the Foundation Zinsou in Cotonou has been a pioneer in carrying out a tremendous work to advocate cultural democratisation, while the Raw Material Company, in Dakar, aims also at reinforcing artistic creation and dissemina- tion. Major international initiatives such as London’s 1:54 contemporary African art fair, will show all the richness, diversity and dynamism of artistic production from the continent. In my view, the trend is deeply rooted. We can be optimistic in spite of all the difficulties.
André Magnin’s agency Magnin. A will be participating in 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, please see our exhibitors page for more information
(This feature was originally published in New African magazine’s special on contemporary African art in association with 1:54, available to buy from October, 2013)
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Why does the artist do this? Cover herself in mud...so primitive the artist is in Uganda. So close to nature are the Bugandans and those found in the capital, Kampala. Have they all lost their way? Given up trying....leaving those running to be more like the Europeans well alone, and instead bathing in pools of mud like elephants in salt marshes. Look how the artist plays, like a child in a sandpit. See how happy she is being backward, primitive and honest. Watch her gleeful smiles that encourage the viewers to giggle, courting our attention with her native loveliness. Is the artist wanting to be exotic? I don't think so. Not for one moment as this is well orchestrated art, with an attention to the details. It is constructed with intent and full of positive meaning; some may say we are witnesses to a moment of deconstruction and a going backwards, desperately trying to understanding the past and all that has gone before. A returning to the earth and a break from all protocols, in order to reconstruct the way in which Modern Ugandan art is seen and appreciated. Firstly, at home with those inside the country finding affinities to the work, in order to export out to the wider world, with the approval of the Ugandans over and above all else. These works are the language of African artists and this work is bold, it is Afropunk that makes punk look so last-century. There is an edginess to the images. To the rawness of the ground walked upon by modern Ugandans, a place where all the tarmac has run off and left the country. Where roadworks begin and end too early. Nothing is finished, all is a work in progress.
What is this work about and why is of any significance? Let me try and communicate this as clearly as possible. This is the best show on earth. This is a landmark exhibition of black African art. It is so forward thinking it should be shown in years to come. Together, we are standing at the edge of an exciting and novel journey into Art. How shows should be constructed is under discussion and the theory so far, is that they should be created with tenderness, that gently guides the audience through the shows. Each show clearly expressing an overall thought-process of the artist and developing a sense of constructive joined-up thinking. The journey begins at the beginning and we are the observers of a new dawn coming from Guerilla Artists from Uganda. A wave of thinking that may well sweep you off your feet, like a wind sculpture - each show created by this group at @rtpunch Studio are playfully developed and this is intentional to give a sense of inclusion rather than exclusion. To wash away the past and welcome in the future. This sense of artistic generosity is highly infectious. The BA artists are fully aware that contemporary art is not commonplace in Ugandan society. It is yet to be fully appreciated or understood but this milestone exhibition breaks the mould and gives modern Uganda a sense of importance and value.
The background to this story begins with the arts and crafts on the streets of Kampala. The basket-weavers and the paper-twisters are those that are amongst the lowest class of Ugandan society, the ill-educated underclass, whose beautiful and talented works are often overlooked and ignored as trash. This is a best place for our journey to begin...
What is important to note is that this Exhibiton takes place in the @rtpunch Studios themselves in the capital, Kampala. The doors to Modern Ugandan Art have been flung wide-open to a fresh audience. A much younger, proactive group of individuals. The upwardly mobile in Uganda. The thinking classes of the country and those that want to empower themselves with an interest in the development of culture from within. This show was solely funded by the pioneer, Wasswa Donald, the artists that spearheaded the @rtpunch Studios over a decade ago. The group have been irritated by being at the mercy of external support and often denied access to funding. Incensed by the comments made by David Adjaye and Simon Njami last year, expressing their opinions that the country was visually not ready to be seen Internationally. The group was so outraged by these bizarre judgements by complete strangers that, that became the challenge: To create a series of shows worthy of export. The group have worked exceedingly hard to push their artistic ideas forward, especially in regards to the ways in which, they want to world to see them, their country and their works of Art. Previously, shows have been exhibited only to the elite, in the Country Clubs or at the European Institutions. These external aspects of Africa, although with good intent, have had a stranglehold over the intellectual Africans for generations. They have been the Patrons of African Culture and quietly cherry-picking acceptable artists to show.
This exhibition marks a sea-change in that thinking. It intelligently interacts with all aspects of Ugandan identity and proudly displays artworks, which reflect the tapestries-makers, paper-twisters and weaves, placing them all under a different light. Magnifying their importance and empathises these distinct elements that make up the National identity. This is a very important contemporary show, that defines the Nation in an open and expressive manner. It heralds in a modern innovative direction. A guide to an original cultural development of Africa and acts as a blueprint for other Nations to follow.
Sheila is a "National Treasure" and this show should be regarded as a celebration of Cultural Independence throughout the Continent. It would be a shame to break it up into pieces and have it ignored, silenced, if not censored by Collectors and art-lovers. This is a show of such integrity it should be shown international to encourage inspiration to artists within the Continent. "40 Twists" defines the role of the artist and outlines what is needed in shaping Africa's own cultural development. Hopefully, this show will encourage Museums that focus on Africa today, to take a much closer look in what is shaping up on the Continent itself. This beacon of an Exhibition, "40 Twists" by Sheila Black was housed in the art studios in Kampala and viewed by the world; it is arguably one of the best shows on earth.
Author: Joe Pollitt
Thursday, 12 September 2013
Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga:
ITUIKA - TRANSFORMATION
October Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition of works by Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga. This will be her first solo exhibition in London.
Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga (b.1960), grew up among the Kikuyu people of Kenya. She first studied Art and Design at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, before continuing her studies at UCLA, USA. She now lives and works in San Antonio, Texas. Gakunga has displayed works in numerous exhibitions in the USA, France, Brazil and Poland.
The exhibited works are predominantly wall-hanging sculptures ingeniously created from tin cans, steel wire and oxidised sheet metal forms. While the techniques Gakunga uses are common to the fibre arts across many traditions, her chosen materials are not. Corroded sheet metal, rusted tin cans and stainless steel wire all follow the concept ofJua Kali, a Swahili expression literally meaning ‘under the hot sun’ that refers to the idea of chance effects created out of things which have been discarded. Here, nothing goes to waste and waste materials become the medium for a wholly new focus of attention. This perceptive approach to repurposing discarded objects is, today, a highly-developed stratagem often employed by contemporary African artists.
Galvanised sheet metal, known in Swahili as mabati, is ubiquitous in Kenya. Used mainly for roofing materials and walls, this sheet metal is particularly associated with theMabati Women Groups and their empowering community housing projects of the ‘60s. Gakunga observed the success of their efforts, the harvesting of water from the new roofs and the consequent ageing of the material itself. Mirroring these weathering effects in her own artistic process, she deliberately saturates rolls of sheet metal in water, a process that oxidises the submerged surfaces, occasionally adding dyes to create different colours and other more complex effects. Finally, Gakunga selects, cuts and links the resultant pieces to assemble her wall-hangings. These striking sculptures reflect, at one and the same time, both the mabati’s enduring functionality and its fragility; the delicate transformations etched in metal by the corrosive effects of water, chance and time emphasising an ethereal, transient beauty.
Another significant material found in these works is fibre or string. Gakunga’s grandmother was a major influence on her, as the traditional Kikuyu women would weave baskets from fibre extracted from the makongo plant. Gakunga continues to use string and ribbons as primary materials within her work, acknowledging the contemporary in her usage of fine grade metal wires used to sew and crochet her works into organic wholes. Creating pieces that mimic the swaying movements of dancers’ dresses and that exude a light, airy quality, Gakunga notes, ‘String is entwined in the life of a Kikuyu woman, from the moment she is born until she departs.’
This delicate body of work pays tribute to these succeeding generations of women. Gakunga’s choice of materials and the processes of stitching, crocheting and weaving proudly maintain traditions which are here transformed into the field of contemporary art. Using these various metaphors to acknowledge her heritage, Gakunga’s sculptures explore the connections between the past and the present, between tradition and modernity and between the older generations and their contemporary descendants. The effect is both playful and provocative. It is also quite positively transformative.