Abdoulaye Konaté, Barthélémy Toguo, Ky Siriki and Soly Cissé: Accra, Gallery III

28 May - 16 Jun 2022

Gallery 1957 is thrilled to present a group show of internationally acclaimed artists featuring works produced from the last decade. These West African masters coming from different francophone realities are all part of an enlightened generation which “Un Fil Rouge''  is made of talent and work ethic. 

This exhibition is a mixed media presentation where textiles, sculpture, oil painting and watercolour meet, and shine juxtaposed to one another, in this open conversation.  These painters, draughtsmen and sculptors produce works that are deeply rooted in the culture of their hometowns and loaded with auto-biographical contents. They create fantastic landscapes where figures emerge at times from harmony and at times from disharmony as for Konaté's vast chromatic fields of fabric in the first case and Cissè’s chaotic paintings in the second. These visual worlds are also strongly interwitted with a notion of nature, made visible in Toguo’s organic shapes as well as in Siriki’s recurrent use of the tree form in his sculptural works.This show aims to celebrate these extremely talented men whose lives have been dedicated to the making of art in the name of sensitivity, who are serving today as role models to a younger generation of artists. 


About the artists

Abdoulaye Konaté's (b. 1953, Diré, Mali) work primarily takes the form of textile-based installations that explore socio-political and environmental issues, as well as showcasing his aesthetic concerns and formal language. Konaté questions the way in which societies and individuals, both in Mali and beyond, have been affected by factors such as war, the struggle for power, religion, globalisation, ecological shifts and the AIDS epidemic. Employing material native to Mali, namely woven and dyed clothes, the artist creates large-scale abstract and figurative compositions. Konaté refers to the West-African tradition of using textiles as a means of commemoration and communication, balancing global political and social reflections with a reference to his own local and cultural history.

Soly Cissé (b. 1969, Dakar, Sengal) is a graduate of the Dakar School of Fine Arts, from which he graduated top of his class. As a child, Soly enjoyed drawing on the X-rays that his father, a radiologist, brought home. Today, he is still fascinated by transparencies, light imposing itself on darkness, the essence of colours. When he paints, his brush reveals a scene, brings light to a story, and frees the characters trapped in the black background. Soly refuses imitation and abhors illustration. Each work is a creation. Each work gives birth to a new world, to new creatures, neither completely human, nor completely animal, nor completely legendary. Soly Cissé paints with a brush, a hand and a knife. He is also an excellent draughtsman. The public has recently discovered his extraordinary metal sculptures. Soly is a well-known artist in the art world. His reputation has crossed borders and his work has been shown in numerous exhibitions (France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain etc...). For example, he took part in the exhibition Africa Remix (Centre Pompidou, Paris, France), which has led to a great international success.

Ky Siriki
 (b. 1953, Abidjan, Ivory Coast) is one of Burkina Faso's most celebrated sculptors who has been working primarily with stone and bronze. Part of the first generation of Burkinabe visual artists to receive academic training, Ky Siriki studied at the Beaux-Arts d'Abidjan and perfected his skills in Pietrasanta, Italy,where he became a master in the lost wax process, before settling in Burkina Faso, where he made a name for himself by winning the Prix de la Fondation Afrique en Créations (1996) for his project "Sculpture sur Granit de Laongo", a veritable open air museum. In 1988, he was the initiator of the International Symposium on Granite Sculpture in Laongo, Burkina Faso. Through stone, wood, bronze, iron, Ky Siriki interprets the world, touching on the revealed and hidden highlights of existence: the real and the unreal, tradition and modernity, the sacred and the profane, the Self and the Other. Today he lives and works in Ouagadougou.

Barthélémy Toguo
 (b. 1967, Cameroon) is a multimedia visual and performance artist who has been working in his long career with photographs, prints, sculpture, videos, watercolour. He studied Fine Arts in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, École supérieure d'Art de Grenoble and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and later enrolled in Klaus Rinke’s studio at the Kunstakademie. Some of his paintings are found in The Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) of Jean Pigozzi. In 2008 he opened the Bandjoun Station, an art centre in Bandjoun which also provides artist residencies for visual artists. His artistic apprenticeship at first involved his fashioning copies of classic European sculptures, until he took part in a workshop in 1992 devoted to woodcarving, an event that enabled him to radically modify his approach. It was in Grenoble that Toguo discovered photography and video, before his encounter with “German realism” in Düsseldorf. He also became interested in performance art at this time. The artist began to work with watercolour in 1998; born of his many trips and experiences, this practice yields a kind of logbook or travel diary Recently, the artist has turned his attention to the realm of the stage and the theatrical arrangement of space. Athe Lyon biennial in 2000, for example, he showed Unfinished Theatre, which combined wood sculpture, inscriptions, photographs and video. This installation seemed like a kind of mise en scène of his experiences and recent travels. In 2004 at the Palais de Tokyo, a site for the contemporary arts, he put together several theatrical settings under the general title of The Sick Opera. For Toguo, we are all actors, each of us playing a pre-established role in society. His installations are but a reflection of life while his work is life.


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