« All cultures can mix with no limit » - Alfred Louis Kroeber
LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery is delighted to present "Brassage" from May 5 to June 18, 2022, the first solo show of the artist Ange-Arthur Koua, in Ivory Coast.
Captivated by his ability to revive what has been abandoned, Ange-Arthur Koua assembles into hangings the recycled textile pieces which bear the marks of those who once wore them. As a furious non-conformist he rejects the imposed academicisms and rubs up against the limits of the politically acceptable, challenging the canons of beauty and the principles of the exhibition of works, because "one cannot hide behind a hollow formalism if it does not carry meaning".
Brassage exhibition is based on the anthropological fact that every civilisation is the result of multiple contributions over a long sedimentation period, to form a cultural base transmitted to descendants. According to the anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber "all cultures can mix with no limit". The human migrations that resulted in the populating of the earth from Africa thus led to the genesis of civilisations that were syncretistic in their essence. On the African continent, people settled on territories while continuing their exchanges between neighbours but also on a continental scale.
Modern exchanges with the Europeans were first carried out on a merchant basis on beaches, then in trading posts before becoming violently imposed. External contributions were integrated into coastal cultures and were initially valued for their scarcity: fabrics made for this market, mirrors and trading beads, enamelled metal tableware, seeds and plants. These precious elements will be integrated into the production of ritual arts but also into profound changes in ordinary diets.
From these observations, Ange-Arthur Koua takes up the wave as an emblematic symbol of the mixing that is fundamental to the birth and development of civilisations, an ebb and flow which creates new meanings and uses. There is also the back and forth: thus the Vodun cults survive across the Atlantic as well as the great contributions to music. The wave of exchanges never ceases its movement, it is never identical. The wave thus brings back elements which are exchanged like a both polyphonic and infinite musical score .
Ange-Arthur speaks out against the all too frequent intellectual inability to move beyond hierarchical representations between peoples. On the other hand, the many Afrocentric assertions remain stuck in their certainty of identity and the artist, as a misunderstood sphynx, is amused by this ready-to-think fashion: no tradition is sufficient, exchanges between peoples are the basis of the civilisation process. Africa was not invented, it arose in the complexity of these exchanges.
Through the figure of the Komians - traditional Akan priestesses with mystical powers - Ange-Arthur gets interested in their clothing which symbolises these ancient exchanges. Taking up this movement and in a syncretistic expression comparable to the Caribbean and South American artistic approaches, he develops new forms which would be the expressions of new traditions. As a tribute to Valentin-Yves Mudimbe, the artist proposes a new fantasized history, a humanistic "between tides" ode, an ever-renewed expression that brings us together.
Amédé Régis Mulin