“Barthélémy Toguo”

Artcurial pays homage to Michel Fedoroff

During the FIAC, auction house Artcurial presented an exhibition of Michel Fedoroff’s collection. For over 50 years, the collector supported the French artistic scene and built up trust relationships with artists, namely emerging artists whom he sponsored. Michel Fedoroff also developed strong friendships with gallerists such as Anne De Villepoix, who introduced him to contemporary art, not forgetting Hervé Loevenbruck who wrote the preface of the sales catalogue. The sale of his collection will be held on 29 November and present around 140 pieces revealing the collector’s vision of artistic creation from the 1960s until 2010. Amongst the artists collected by this art lover, great names stand out including Kader Attia, Jean-Luc Moulène, Barthélémy Toguo, Arman and Martial Raysse. His collection includes a few treasures, namely works by seven winners of the Prix Marcel Duchamp ¬— for which the 2016 prize went to Kader Attia. Artcurial’s homage to this philanthropist and collector of a whole generation of artists reserves yet more...

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AKAA reveals five new projects

AKAA (Also Known As Africa), the first contemporary-art and design fair to focus on Africa, will be held at the Carreau du Temple in Paris, from 11 to 13 November. The fair will be hosting five new projects. The first comes from African Artists for Development, a general-interest organisation which supports community development projects associated with creations by contemporary African artists. The AAD exhibition will present “Refugees on the Move” featuring Burkina Faso photographers Teddy Mazina and Nyaba Ouedraogo. The second project is linked to the Bandjoun Station cultural site and residence set up in Cameroon by Barthélémy Toguo. The exhibition “Walk on the Moon” will show works created in this context. Thirdly, Instagram and Getty Images will be supporting the project by 2016 award winner Girma Berta, “Moving Shadows”. Fourthly, an exhibition by Nataal, a global media platform, will focus on the themes of self-representation. Finally, Aaron Kohn, director of the Museum of African Design and guest curator for the 2016 fair, will be exploring the dialogue between design and architecture in another...

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The African art scene in the eyes of the North

While contemporary African art has been gaining more and more visibility each year since the turning of the 20th century, it seems that 2015 marks the consecration of Africa onto the international art scene. With the Nigerian commissioner and critic Okuwi Enwezor as artistic director of the classical art section of the 56th Biennale de Venise (which runs until 22 November), the award of the Lion d’Or to Ghanaian artist El Anatsui for the contribution of his career, the first New York edition of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair from 15 to 17 May 2015 and the launch of AKAA (Also Known as Africa) from 3 to 6 December 2015 in Paris, attention is turning more and more towards the African art scene. In 2014, Touria El Glaoui, founder of 1.54 Contemporary Art Fair, (which is taking place in London until 18 October 2015), said to Art Media Agency: “I believe that it’s one of the last continents to be discovered, there still hasn’t been a focus on Africa.” The deployment of contemporary African art on an international scale can be traced back to the end of the 1980s, notably with the foundation of Dak’Art in 1989, the oldest biennale in Africa, and with the Rencontres de Bamako in Mali in 1994, whose 10th year will take place from 31 October to 31 December 2015. In 1989, in France, Jean-Hubert Martin, the curator of the exhibition “Magiciens de la Terre” at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, sought to extend contemporary art, which seemed to him to be solely reserved for the West, to include African artistic expression. However, the Africa that now presents a new wave of opportunities for the art market is a continent of many different faces. Amongst its 54 countries, the cultures and artistic practices are as...

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“Socio-political Drawing” at DRAWING NOW

Curator of DRAWING NOW, Philippe Piguet, opened the fair’s ninth edition with a cultural exhibition entitled “Socio-political Drawing”, assembling an array of works from public and private collections that highlight the diversity of socio-political involvement over time, as well as the power of the pen. Throughout history many artists have expressed their views on current affairs; Pablo Picasso used contemporary events to revive the genre of history painting, as evidenced in Guernica (1937). Recent years have continued to provide an artistic stimulant for artists to express their views on current events, such as wars between nations, peoples’ freedom of expression, social deprivation, pressing issues about the environment, and inequality. Given the recent events of 11th January in Paris, the exhibition is particularly pertinent. However, Piguet reminded visitors that the exhibition is not a dedication to Charlie Hebdo, but to contemporary drawing and visual artists. Drawing’s sustained political commitment is highlighted in the emotive quote from Pablo Picasso, on display as part of the exhibition: “What do you think an artist is? Nothing but eyes if a painter, nothing but ears if a musician, a heart filled with chimes if a poet, or, if a boxer, nothing but muscle? On the contrary, an artist is also a political being, ever aware of the heartrending, burning, and fair events of the world, continuously fashioning himself in its image.” Many artists are indeed “political beings”, making their voices heard through various artistic mediums, as the artists involved in the exhibition demonstrate. Forming part of Barthélémy Toguo’s postcard series “Head above Water”, the artist’s Head above Water, Lagos, Nigeria (2005) acknowledges the artist’s responsibility towards society by giving ordinary people the opportunity for their voices to be heard. On one of the postcards, one can read “My dream is for Nigeria to change”, accompanied by a watercolour of an outstretched hand by Toguo. Also on display is a series...

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New challenges to be faced at the 2nd edition of the Biennale de Casablanca

The second edition of the Biennale de Casablanca, running from 3 until 12 October, 2014 is based on the ‘realist’ dream, inspired by the words of Paul Eluard: “Another world is possible, but it is within this existing one.” More than 200 artists from 50 different countries have given their interpretation of their 21st-century utopia, presented at historic sites such as the Latécoère hangar, the first airport in Casablanca; or the ancient Sacré Coeur church, which is now today an exhibition space whose ethereal architecture provides a majestic backdrop. Art space Actua highlights the artistic creation of 15 African women, and the 32 kilometres of new tramway lines are punctuated with reproductions of work featured in the Biennale. An international Biennale Despite being located in Casablanca, the primary aim of the Biennale is to present works by Moroccan and African artists alongside those from across the world in order to ensure an international overtone for the event. Artist Barthélémy Toguo explained that he was attracted to this event as “it is important to recognise that as artists we can now present our work on an equal footing to our peers. The world is opening up and we must not close ourselves in with classifications. The time of segregation is over; it is time to embrace globalisation where we as artists are nourished and influenced in a way that allows us to construct our artistic identity.” This is a point that resonates with the very soul of Casablanca, a cosmopolitan city since the 19th century, which still today identifies with this dynamic. It is a financial capital that continues to expand with the ambitious project of creating the Casa Finance City, a new district whose name speaks for itself. The Biennale also contributes to the international image of the city, but despite this, it remains...

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