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