The theme of the official Biennale 2016 was ‘Réenchantement (réappropriation of our original soul) and the CIty in the Blue Light (utopy of colonisation)’
Through a sinuous path of unexpected meetings, coincidences and chance, I met with artists , leading me to 3 works relating to the sea with for each ones deadly ending …
Firstly, it was the 100th anniversary of the Raft of Medusa and a large project elaborated by Adad Hanna was being started in Saint-Louis and I was introduced to it by my dear friends, collectors based in this town…In the very same moment another artist, Alexis Peskine, came to me on the same theme, with a very different approach. I had presented his work a year before …and when I came across Emmanuel Tussore’s video work titled ‘the évidence’, I arrived at the theme MERS MORTELLES for the gallery’s presentation for the biennial.
At that time, I had been developing the work of Aliou Diack, which is very much inspired by animals, sometimes fish, sometimes birds or a mix of the two, akin to the relationship between birds and air, fish and water…His work represented the transition between, and lead me directly to the large installation work of Oumar Ball : L’ENVOL. This installation during its construction nearly became alive ,like some kind of Magic that was coming into the place ,birds flying out of the space …through an open roof …
ENLIGHTENMENT was thus the lead of the exhibition, and Siaka Traore’s photos were placed at the entrance announcing the unexpected …
I had already admired Oumar Ba‘s work in Saint-Louis, and he acceded to my request for a presentation and at the very last moment brought his exhibited piece, so different from all of his work, showing incredible cruelty. Black fishes in the same direction .
The exhibition was so dense and extraordinary that I had to bring some calm
Camara Gueye’s more realistic work came to counterbalance the whole.
The curation of this OFF Biennale exhibition was relating directly to some words of SIMON NJAMI, the artistic director of the Biennial:
“Artists who preoccupy themselves solely with art are among the initiated few who hold the magical power on enchantment; they have been initiated and they master the magic formulas and incantations, which they reproduce in colours and forms …”
Putting together this exhibition was one of the highest moments I ever felt, without calculation or rationalisation. It just was expressing the magic of Art.
Independent Curator + Director, Galerie Atiss Dakar
Oumar Ba * Oumar Ball * Aliou Diack * Amadou Camara Gueye * Adad Hannah * Alexis Peskine * Patrick Joel Tatcheda * Siaka Traore * Emmanuel Tussore
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