PERIPHERAL SUN
VIN VIN GALLERY . VIENNA . AUSTRIA
2022

Curator : Kami Gahiga

The exhibition features the artworks of four artists: Joël Andrianomearisoa, Kapwani Kiwanga, Marin Majic and Maja Ruznic. The selected artists hail from the Eastern Coasts of Africa and the Balkan peninsula, yet each one has a distinctive approach in relation to aspects of nationalism and holds no central attachment to one specific identity or country. The exhibition explores how the cartesian and symbolic meaning of borders erode with displacement and migration. Themes of longing, nostalgia, the in-between and melancholy manifest in each of the artists’ works through a multiplicity of media: painting, installation, drawing, and collage.

Peripheral Sun initiates a debate about whose compass is acknowledged when thinking about the East and recognizes the different poles of influence that exist today.

The layout of the exhibition design leads the viewer to accustome to alternative vantage points without relying on a specific linear route, thus creating an open network of exchange with no set trajectory.

© Vin Vin Gallery

The elegant precision and simplicity found across Andrianomearisoa’s œuvre is conveyed in his three-dimensional structure Maison Imaginaire, which echoes the artist’s training as an architect through his engagement with space and environment.

Maison Imaginaire (2021) is a model of Andrianomearisoa’s monumental metallic sculpture that the artist was commissioned to realise in Aigues-Mortes, France. His structure elegantly floated between two of Aigues-Mortes’ historic towers. The city’s fortified walls and port were built in the 13th century by King Louis IX to establish a trade route to the East, and witnessed the departure of the seventh and eighth Western crusades.

Andrianomearisoa’s Maison Imaginaire evokes the paradox of human desires: to root itself through built structures while simultaneously desiring to escape, to break walls and barriers. Robust at first glance given its steel composition it is simultaneously fragile, ambiguous, and open-ended.

Étoffe des Songes (2016) is a black and white diptych that reflects the artist’s fascination for textiles’ malleable qualities which he declines through the layering of various shades of black and white. Madagascar is home to some of the finest silk and cloth production centers. The diptych equally demonstrates Andrianomearisoa’s investigation of contrasting elements and duality. On a smaller physical scale but with equal resonance are his drawings Soratra (2022), which fuse the concerns of his past projects and his installation I Have Forgotten the Night he presented at the Venice Biennale. It comprises a series of 8-diptychs depicting texts and poems written in Malagasy, French and English, realized specifically for Peripheral Sun. Andrianomearisoa’s welding of contrasts capture the balanced interplay of opposite elements.

Kami Gahiga

UBUNTU, A LUCID DREAM
PALAIS DE TOKYO . PARIS . FRANCE
2021

Curator : Marie-Ann Yemsi

This exhibition invites us to enter Ubuntu, an as yet undiscovered space within our imagination and our bodies of knowledge. This term, which belongs to the Bantu languages of South Africa, evokes notions of humanity, collectivity and hospitality. Though difficult to translate into Western languages, it can be glossed as follows: “I am because we are.” The call for a “humanity in reciprocity” that is embedded within Ubuntu thinking constitutes an essential but widely misunderstood notion of African philosophy. In both its philosophical and spiritual dimensions, Ubuntu can be considered as one of the few characteristics of African societies to have survived the six hundred years of slavery, colonialism and imperialism, phenomena that have otherwise destabilized the continent’s societies and undermined traditional undermined traditional frameworks of knowledge transmission. Found in numerous African languages and cultures, Ubuntu thought persists in the conception of the place of the individual within the community, as well as in the links between different peoples. It structures a conscience and a vision of the world based on interdependence of relation .

© Studio Joël Andrianomearisoa

Ubuntu was also a vital notion for the ideas of the liberation movements and the post-colonial experiments that proliferated across Africa in the 1960s, fueling hopes for an African socialism or a political Pan-Africanism.
It sprang from the literary and poetic production of the content and of its diasporas, from authors such as Aimé Césaire Vumbi-Yoka Mudimbé, Edouard Glissant, Alain Mabanckou, Yanick Lahens and Léonora Miano – to name only a few francophone writers amongst many others. Musicians Fela Kuti and Mariam Makeba were also legendary spokespersons of this philosophy of unity through encounter. Because it symbolizes the bonds forged between all people, Ubuntu was used and largely popularized by Nelson Mandela to foster a vision of an ideal society that could be opposed to the segregation of the apartheid era in South Africa, and later to promote national reconciliation.

Contemporary realities unfortunately confront us with the defeat, on many fronts, of the spirit of Ubuntu, between political failings, deadly conflicts, and multiple forms of violence that target women and LGBTQI+ people in particular. And yet this philosophy is actually being reinvested by intellectuals, activists and producers in all fields of contemporary creation through new dynamics where various lines of thought and different imaginaries are being reassembled accross all continents. In a world that is more uncertain than ever, at loss of meaning, riven by sectarianism and violence, this philosophy is no more an abstract ideal than it was in the 1960s. Ubuntu and its dual question “making humanity together and together inhabiting the earth”, to quote philosopher Souleyman Bachir Diagne, emerges once again at the heart of
social, political, economic, cultural and ecological demands and debates.

This exhibition embraces these dynamics for the recomposition of the world poepled with lucid dreams, by bringing together artists whose works enter into resonance with Ubuntu philosophy and who seek to approach this body of thought around action and relations as a resource, as a space of intervention, as a fiction or as a mediation of the real world.

Imagined as a polyphonic space, the exhibition allows for artists to weave subtle ties between form and ideas, drawing on multiple subjects, perspectives and positions. The call for a “disenclosure of the world and humanity’s ascent” opens fixed and reductive conceptions of identity up to new critiques as well as to a deconstruction of univocal historical narratives and the western concept of modernity, attesting to the desire of artists to represent spaces of ideological rupture. By shedding light upon some of the most urgent questions of our age, such as unequal distribution of wealth and power, migration and border crises, the colonization of land and bodies, situations of oppression and the transformation of our relationship to nature – they contribute to an emancipation process whilst at the same time calling forth a spirit of resistance.

This exhibition seeks to bring together artists to share critical points of view and perspectives. These creators bring to their work all of the cultures that they inhabit and draw on experiences – often dual, at times painful – of migration transfer. The exhibition seeks to bypass such geographic enclosures and consider one space alone: that of the reflections and ideas proposed by the artists through subjective narratives and works that have the potential to transform our imaginaries and contribute to a new form of understanding of the world.

The exhibition aims to be “Ubuntu” in that it looks to transform artistic creation into a shared expression through the possibility of an “in-common”. At the heart of the exhibition, a vast space dedicated to a project by artist Kudzanai Chiurai opens further dimensions of exchange, discovery, and knowledge production, be they discursive, performative or musical, which are constructed on a shared stage of collective engagement.

 

 

SIGNS OF TIMES
APALAZZO GALLERY . BRESCIA . ITALY
2021

Curator : Jérôme Sans

Recent events that plunged the world into a state of global uncertainty have proven that there is definitely no such thing as a universal truth. Our societal model, which seemed to be unanimously accepted, turns out to be a fragile chessboard that can be shaken at any moment. If, after the pandemic crisis, the world appears to have returned to its usual course and former appearance, the core of everyone’s thinking has inevitably changed; signs have shifted too. It is no longer the individual who constructs his or her environment but the environment that defines us as human beings.

© Melania Dalle Grave . DSL Studio © Studio Joël Andrianomearisoa

The exhibition Signs of The Times intends to put into perspective the territory of these plural questionings. How to decipher and appropriate from now on the new signs emitted by our environment under this uncertain horizon? As the collision between our civilization and the limits imposed by nature becomes more and more visible, how can we reconcile the lightness of the simple pleasures of the present moment with the global consciousness of our time?

By demonstrating critical thinking, the artists gathered in this exhibition address these existential, political, societal questions that drive our experience of the world today with radical imagination. Under the sign of the mirage but also of the semantics and the power of reproduction to infinity, the exhibition proposes multiple universes flirting in a relaxed way with the anguish of an uncertain future. Beyond their immediate expressive power, the works tackle in an underlying way some of our most pressing current issues: global warming, the rewriting of history, the challenges of the younger generation in the face of a consumerist society, the injunction to produce value, the flood of information messages, and unbridled individualism… If it is not a question here of giving solutions or answers to these problems, the works approach in a frontal way this mutation of signs currently taking place. And, in our world of images, they are, in fact, an acting force.

 

CHRISTIAN DIOR, DESIGNER OF DREAMS
M7 . DOHA . QATAR
2021

Curator : Olivier Gabet

For the first time in the Middle East, the House of Dior unveils a retrospective dedicated to its unique heritage.
Following its success at the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris and several prestigious museums around the world, from London to New York, the M7 in Doha presents the exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams from November 6th to March 31st 2022, marking a first for the House of Dior in the Middle East region. Featuring a new scenographic narrative, this newly reinvented retrospective curated by Olivier Gabet – Director of the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris – celebrates more than seventy years of creative passion, punctuated by marvellous discoveries, from the iconic address 30 Avenue Montaigne to the sumptuousness of Versailles and enchanted gardens.

© Thomas Chené . © Nelson Garrido

By turns, the exhibition features haute couture designs past and present, designed by Christian Dior and the Artistic Directors who succeeded him – Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri – as well as a selection of works and decorative objects from the collections of the musée des Arts décoratifs. Perpetuating the visionary spirit of Christian Dior, a number of House icons will also be on display, including versions of the Lady Dior bag reinterpreted for the Dior Lady Art project, singular reflections of the House’s history.

THE BLACK ERA
PRIMO MARELLA GALLERY . MILAN . ITALY
2021

This monumental exhibition is a dialogue between five artists, some Africans and some Afro-Americans, focused on the use of blackness as an allusion to an anticipatory artistic model able to destroy the patterns. Through the extremism in their artistic practices, subvert the system and open new directions for the future of art. For  Joël Andrianomearisoa the colors take on a symbolic value (“white is presence, black is mystery”), the shades of black are the expression of a polyphony that far from being minimalist, it conveys emotions, an aesthetic pleasure, a sense of fragility and mystery.

“J’ai oublié la nuit dans l’attente du 7e jour qui nous réunira le temps d’une rencontre ou pour toujours … baiser blanc pour les désirs noirs” . Joël Andrianomearisoa

© Greta Belintende

VOYAGES IMMOBILES . LE GRAND TOUR . DIPTYQUE
POSTE DU LOUVRE . PARIS . FRANCE
2021

Curator : Jérôme Sans

To mark its 60th birthday, Diptyque presents its first art exhibition in Paris. “Voyages immobiles . Le Grand Tour” is a journey through five stopovers that inspired the brand’s founders. Nine multidisciplinary artists of international renown revisit France, Italy, Greece, Japan and Lebanon in works created exclusively for the exhibition.
Joël Andrianomearisoa’s proposal takes the form a silk paper installation part of the Labyrinth of passions series named Time after time.

© Florian Kleinefenn

SOCLE DU MONDE BIENNALE
HEART MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART . HERNING . DENMARK
2021

Curators : Olivier Varenne . Jean-Hubert Martin . Daniel Birnbaum and Maria Finders

Love is nothing without feeling, and feeling is even less without love – this is the kind of thinking underpinning how Andrianomearisoa plays with the complex emotional experience reflected in his works. Warmth and earnestness meet a fragile cold, an isolated world of gloom and insecurity that also invites tenderness and wonder. Andrianomearisoa’s art contains echoes of geographical and spatial liberation and captivity; here, spatial constraints also allow scope for symbolic freedom enacted by the positions taken by the works and the viewer. Sharp edges and bright, even harsh light create shadows and reflections evocative of urban, harsh metropolitan architecture, while soft materials and living forms are suggestive of life, emotions, and freedom – a sensuous experience of the city setting and the living, breathing life found within.

REVUE NOIRE . A HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART 2021
MUSÉE LES ABATTOIRS . TOULOUSE . FRANCE
2021

Curators : Jean Loup Pivin . Pascal Martin Saint Leon and Annabelle Ténèze

In the 1990s, Revue Noire was much more than a publication. It revealed dynamic culture in Africa. The exhibition looks back on that new way of writing about and introducing the continent’s different forms of contemporary creation. It is accompanied by a selection of artworks revolving around different historical facets of African photography leading up to contemporary images. It was nearly thirty years ago, the release of the first issue of Revue Noire founded by Jean Loup Pivin, Simon Njami, Pascal Martin Saint-Léon and Bruno Tilliette.
Its intention was to illustrate the African continent’s modernity and creativity. Mainly personally funded, for nearly 10 years – from 1991 to 2000 – the 35 issues of the quarterly revealed an artistic representation unfamiliar in the West and covering forms of expression that ranged from fashion to plastic arts, literature, films, photography, design and dance.

© Studio Joël Andrianomearisoa

“Until the start of the 1990s, Western international journalists portrayed Africa as a virgin, wild, impoverished continent, focusing on spectacular ethnology or horrified reporting on poverty and wars. African photography – at least in terms of its incompatibility with what Westerners expected to see – was little-known. But today, many artists from Africa are seen as simply artists rather than ‘African artists’.
While Revue Noire was not alone in furthering this evolution, it greatly contributed to the recognition of African creators – not only by others, but also by themselves.
Twenty years later, this exhibition looks back at that ten-year period when the magazine toured Africa and most of its related continents, devoting issues to Senegal and Benin, but also the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. Today, the magazine is part of the history of the recognition of African art and its working methods. In other words, it was a magazine that interpreted the contemporary creation of an entire continent. And Revue Noire is still continuing its work today by publishing art books.

Annabelle Ténèze . Director of Les Abattoirs – Musée Frac Occitanie

CE QUI RESTE ET CE QUI S’OUBLIE
MUSÉE DE L’HISTOIRE DE L’IMMIGRATION . PARIS . FRANCE
2021

Curators : Meriem Berrada and Isabelle Renard

Fruit of a partnership between the Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden (MACAAL) in Marrakech and the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration in Paris, the exhibition Ce qui s’oublie et ce qui reste explores the idea of dissemination in the works of eighteen artists from the African continent and its diasporas.Today, as communication, rolling news and social media – but also individualism – reign supreme, what can we say about dissemination? What of that action whose purpose is to pass on to a new generation memories, compendia of personal recollections and slices of life gleaned here and there?

© Studio Joël Andrianomearisoa

Above and beyond traditions, rituals and the intergenerational transmission of knowledge and skills, what methods of linguistic, political, spiritual and social dissemination shape our world view and construct our identity?
With its personal accounts that provide a broad historical perspective, the exhibition Ce qui s’oublie et ce qui reste combines heritages and circulations, and examines issues of frontiers and migrations, bonds between generations, and history and memory on either side of the Mediterranean and over the African continent
Paintings, weaves, sculptures, videos, installations and performances – some of them commissioned works produced by artists representative of the vitality of African art – are devoted as much to exchanges as to break-ups and that which has been forgotten, omitted or made invisible.
Counter to the colourful representations of a supposed African artistic production, the intention of Ce qui s’oublie et ce qui reste, as it alternates between continuity and points of separation, is to debunk the clichés of a visual identity related to the continent. Far from homogenous, the visual accounts of the artists reveal a plethora of specificities, facets and complexities.

“to the memory of all

of nostalgia

of history

to the diversity

of the present

in memory of all

of an account

of an era

to the multiple

horizons

to the memory of all

of forgotten 

emotions

to certainty

to an excellent future”  – Joël Andrianomearisoa

THE LABYRINTH OF PASSIONS . LOEWE CRAFT PRIZE
MUSÉE DES ARTS DÉCORATIFS . PARIS . FRANCE
2020

The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize seeks to acknowledge and support international artisans of any age or gender who demonstrate an exceptional ability to create objects of superior aesthetic value. By identifying work that reinterprets existing knowledge to make it relevant today while reflecting its maker’s personal language and distinct hand, the Loewe Foundation aims to highlight the continuing contribution of craft to the culture of our time.

Inspired by themes of love and loss present in Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, this large-scale wall sculpture of the artist Joël Andrianomearisoa appears almost phantasmal. Strips of black silk paper, laboriously adhered edge-wise, appear to dance and reflect light despite their darkness.

Here is the link to the digital exhibition.

ALMOST HOME
GALERIE RX . PARIS . FRANCE
2019

Curator : Joël Andrianomearisoa

© Studio Joël Andrianomearisoa

RACING THE GALAXY
ASTANA ART SHOW . KAZAKHSTAN
2019

Curators : Jérôme Sans and Dina Baitassova

Racing the Galaxy brings together 20 artists from 15 countries, enriching each other and creating a new intercultural dialogue. The exhibition deals with the gradual dissolution of dichotomies between East and West, in the era of global communication and the confrontation and melting of cultures, referencing the idea that artistic forms travel, mingle and enrich each other, from one continent to another. Built around the concepts of instability, change and mutation, Racing the Galaxy gathers experiences, territories, continents and people. It reveals the ambivalence of migrating artists and motionless travellers, always taken between different states, different positions. 

Using silk paper or lamba, a ubiquitous fabric in Madagascar for garments and sometimes to shroud the dead, the artist’s iconic series The labyrinth of Passions is a metaphor for fragility as an essential life force. His superim-position of diverse silk papers in the space also provides architectural solidity to the work. Black becomes an ‘emotional fabric’, with its limitless nuances. Andrianomearisoa insist on intimacy and fragility in mapping out thoughts, emotions, and social realities in environments that are both flattering and misleading. His materials are raw but also exquisitely delicate, almost to the point of breaking in the chaos of experience.

A BEAST, A GOD AND A LINE
KUNSTHALL TRONDHEIM . TRONDHEIM . NORWAY . 2019
DHAKA ART SUMMIT . BANGLADESH . 2018
MUSEUM OF MORDERN ART . WARSAW . POLAND . 2018

Curator : Cosmin Costinas

A beast, a god, and a line question how we should negotiate common ground in the context of the overall political and ideological fragmentation discussed above. How can positions that claim disparate and conflicting genealogies sit together in a shared exhibition space? One tenuous leading line that weaves diverse intersecting layers and different aspects of this exhibition are textiles. A material and language common to different cultural spaces, textiles also have a firmly routed history in art, being possible sites for parallel processes of historiography. Moreover, textiles hold a different position in negotiating relationships with places and contexts, in ways that the individual agency of artists escapes.

The exhibition is organised by Para Site, Hong Kong. It was on view at Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, as well as at The Secretariat (Pyinsa Rasa/TS1), Yangon throughout 2018, and previously at Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway in 2019.

© Aage A. Mikalsen . Kunsthall Trondheim © Daniel Chrobak

HELLO WORLD
HAMBURGUER BAHNHOF . BERLIN . GERMANY
2018

Curators : Udo Kittelmann with Sven Beckstette, Daniela Bystron, Jenny Dirksen, Anna-Catharina Gebbers, Gabriele Knapstein, Melanie Roumiguière and Nina Schallenberg for the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, with contributions from guest curators Zdenka Badovinac, Eugen Blume, Clémentine Deliss, Natasha Ginwala and Azu Nwagbogu.

“Hello World. Revising a Collection” is a critical inquiry into the collection of the Nationalgalerie and its predominantly Western focus: What could the collection look like today? […] Instead of constructing a linear development of history of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art, works of the collection provide points of departure for thirteen narratives, which range from the retracing of vestiges of history to the associative intertwinement of thought lines and pictorial worlds.
Although there have been numerous connections between artists from different African countries and Germany as well as within the German art scene, the National- galerie’s collection contains hardly any works by modern or contemporary artists which are related to countries or thematics of the African continent. This exhibition chapter cannot therefore be based on the holdings of the Nationalgalerie. Instead it addresses an issue long neglected by the German public, yet an urgent concern which nonetheless artists have never lost sight of: the violent history of German and European colonialism, through which the histories on both continents are inti- mately bound together.

Its consequences continue to shape the present. Four con- temporary artists in critically re ecting on their own positions reveal the colonial mentalities which are still deeply rooted in today’s minds and o er alternative strat- egies of empowerment (…) By referring to photographs from the colonial past, Joël Andrianomearisoa lays bare the so power but never- theless reckless structure behind the aim to “civilise” one’s counterpart.