The probable aim of the “Art/Afrique, le nouvelle atelier” exhibition is to construct an exhibition route with an impeccable curatorial choice and standard of works.
Chéri Samba, L’espoir, The Pigozzi Collection
Lawrence Lemaoana, Freedom is a stone throw away, 155×105 cm, 2017. Courtesy Afronova gallery
Authenticity, pathos and previously unseen artistic practices continue to be broken and often founder, more or less knowingly, as the last resort of the contemporary art market. Fortunately, the space welcomes virtually historicised works in the collection, a nucleus born out of a brainwave that came to Jean Pigozzi. Enlightened multimillionaire, collector, philanthropist and himself a photographer, despite never having set foot in Africa, he had a true epiphany on this spiritual and research area with the 1989 “Magiciens de la Terre” exhibition.
Nicholas Hlobo, Ndize Tail, 460x840x307 cm, 2010. Courtesy Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg
Collecting is now trying to restore priorities and value, a cultural as too an economic stance, which will probably be followed by the formation of its public. We must urgently address the true history of these artists and their works. To be convinced of this, simply look at the Senegalese Seni Awa Camara’s clay works or be enraptured by the ever more rarefied beauty and perfection of Chéri Samba’s paintings. All the artists in the exhibition are important. The collection has been lent and exhibited on several occasions so is not new but has become fundamental. Now, in the lovely setting created by Marco Palmieri, intelligently not based on the concept of ethnicity, it reveals how precious it is and not just for that continent.
Buhlebezwe Siwani, Qunusa Buhle, 1118 x 554 cm, 2015. Courtesy de l’artiste et Whatiftheworld Gallery Cape Town; right: Calixte Dakpogan, Oba, 64x63x1 cm, 2007. Courtesy CAAC The Pigozzi Collection
The “Art/Afrique” exhibition strategy is that of a collection of magnificent contemporary exhibits transformed into works that are modelled on real geopolitical problems. It is, generally speaking, a concentrate of what dogs and regards all art today. Seen through the lens of globalisation, even the bitter aftertaste of its troubled economy assumes political substance.