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« Africa, assume art position ! »
Primo Marella Gallery is pleased to present « Africa, Assume Art Position! », an important group show focused on contemporary art from Africa. Curated by Yakouba konaté.

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The artists, selected with the collaboration of Yakouba Konaté, curator of the Dakar Biennial (Senegal), present in their works a universal language.
Talking about them, Konaté states « (…) They assumed their diversity in the space and their simultaneity in time (…) »

In a country such as Africa, characterized by contradictions and important issues in the social, economic and political realm; art becomes the preferred way not only to escape reality. It becomes also the best way to address it, absorb it, understand it and ultimately criticize it.

The aim of the show is to bring to the attention of the European public a selection of works, sculptures, paintings, installations and videos, that effectively epitomize the most recent artistic trends from a country with a rich cultural and artistic tradition.

Many of the artists featured in the show have been selected for International events such as: the Venice Biennale, Documenta in Kassel and « Africa Remix », an important travelling exhibition presented in the main museums all over the world.

For the event, Primo Marella Gallery has published the catalogue « Africa, Assume Art Position » featuring critical essays by Prof. Yakouba Konaté. The catalogue positions itself as a seminal publication for the research and understanding of the last trends in African contemporary art.


PRESENTED ARTISTS

– Mounir Fatmi (Marocco)
Born in 1970 in Tangier, Mounir Fatmi is one of the best artists of his generation. His documentary on Black Panthers, realized in 2006 won the important Leopold Sedar Senghor award at the Dakar Biennial, creating a connection between history and memory and underlying how politics advances through the encounter between reality and fiction. (…). His works have been selected for the 2007 Venice Biennale and by now many important institutions have hosted his installations, always powerful and meaningful.

– Cameron Platter (Sud Africa)
Cameron Platter was born in 1978 in Johannesburg. After a degree in engraving at the Cape Town University, the artist focused his attention on painting and animation.
(…) His work is a reaction to racism and to the need from both sides of society to look at the other one in order to understand the stereotypes of such perception. The point of view of the kid becomes particularly important for the artist in his research of a way to understand the contemporary world.

– Soly Cissé (Senegal)
Born in 1969, and former student of the Art Academy of Dakar, the artist is an amazing drawer and an inspired painter.
(…) He has been able to invent hybrid forms combining subjects from history with modern ones. Soly Cissé is the witness of our times and of the changes that follow them. (…)

– Barthélémy Toguo (Camerun)
Among the artists currently working in Africa, Toguo is doubtless one of the most important. (…) This sculptor, who studied in Abidjan and in Dusseldorf, has become famous for his drawings and paintings whose forms and powerful colours are irresistible at the eyes of the viewers. (…)

– Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali)
Abdoulaye Konaté (1953) after a degree at the National Art Institute of Bamako, completed his studies in Cuba. The presence of history in his works is combined with a militant engagement for the understanding of the endogenous know-how. His stripes of cotton, which have become his signature style, are the visual proof of his engagement with endogenous plasticity.
(…) Throughout his career the artist proved his ability to compete with the most important international artists, starting from the foundations of a singular African culture: the Mandingo. (…)

– Jöel Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar)
Born in 1977, Jöel Andrianomearisoa is a designer, an architect and a photographer. After a degree in fashion design in his country, the artist, who since he was young stand out for his talent, moved to Paris to study architecture. Hence the combination of fashion and architecture influencing his thoughts and his works. Thanks to this multifaceted talent, the artist experiments with diverse materials, forms and textiles, keeping for his works a black monochrome. (…)

– Peter Eastmann (Sud Africa)
Born in Great Britain in 1976, this young artist is from South Africa (…) Capable in the use of 3D graphic, the artist conceived a series of shadow paintings, which play on the relationship between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the known and the unknown, between reality and its signs. This becomes a way to stress the unpredictable and elusive nature of the shapes and thus of men and their belongings. (…) He recreates the third dimension on the flat surface of the canvas with the help of new technologies and with an undeniable poetic power. When confronted with his works the viewers are convinced that the world is a theatre of shadows and that shadows rule the world.

– Moridja Kitenge Banza (Congo)
Born in 1980 in Congo, the artist became famous with the Leopold Sedar Senghor award of the Dakar Biennale, and the Jean-Paul Blachère Foundation award. After moving to France, the artist is gradually moving from painting to new media. (…)

– Stuart Bird (Sud Africa)
Stuart owes his entrance into the art world to Joseph Kosuth, of who he extended the deeds with a renewed freshness. In a binary composition that opposes white-to-white and red-to-red, the artist slips in his works the essential sexual act between the need for truth and the need for money.
The variety of Bird’s works extends and embraces a diversity of forms around a main concern: the fight against social injustices and in particular the violence against women. His works also attack politicians’ false promises.

– Athi Patra Ruga (Sud Africa)
Born in 1984, Athi Patra Ruga studied fashion before becoming an artist. His strong and singular creations led him to visual art. In 2007 he had his first solo show. In his works Athi Patra Ruga employs daring colours reminescent of the violence of the slang from poor neighbourhoods. At the same time the radicalism used in the creation of the characters and definition of the settings traces a strong style, which catches the eye and fosters respect.

– Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo (R. D. Congo)
Prominent figure among the young painters from Congo, Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo was born in 1981. He defines his work as a combination of painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation. His reflection on the body is at the same time a reflection on society and politics. Since we are not able to change the course of politics, we need to learn to change the way in which we look at the body. Hence the fluid fluorescence and the warm shades of his paintings, which put forward a twofold suggestion: if painting as an artistic mean is not dead, so is not the man. (…)