Beninese artist to present first solo exhibition in Abidjan
For his first solo exhibition in Africa, the gallery said Mivekannin will deploy a process of eloquent sculptural conversation.
Beninese artist, Roméo Mivekannin, is set to present his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Cécile Fakhoury art gallery in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from this month. The exhibition will hold from September 18 to November 28, 2020, according to a statement sent to Financial Nigeria by the Abidjan-based gallery, which promotes contemporary art in Africa.
The exhibition will feature a dozen large format works of Mivekannin that have never been shown to the public before. Born in Côte d’Ivoire, the 34-year-old artist lives and works between Toulouse, France, and Cotonou, Benin.
“The artist Roméo Mivekannin draws his inspiration from photographic archives and iconic paintings emblematic of the history of Western art,” said Galerie Cécile Fakhoury. “From Jean-Léon Gérôme’s “The Slave Market” (1873) to Gustave Manet’s “Olympia” (1863) and the first photographic portraits of the colonial monarchies of the second half of the 19th century, Roméo Mivekannin focuses particularly on the ambiguous representations of black figures, sources of both fascination and fear, sometimes anonymized, eroticized or objectified and intended for the almost exclusive gaze of a male and Euro-centred viewer.”
Mivekannin is a trained cabinet maker and art historian. He is also a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture (ENSA) in Toulouse, a school of architecture in the French city. Following his studies, he devoted himself to working as a visual artist that brings together art history, sociology and architecture.
For his first solo exhibition in Africa, the gallery said Mivekannin will deploy a process of eloquent sculptural conversation. From one work to the next, the compositions showcase a complex visual history made of direct references to classical painting and to the stereotyped images that defined the representation of black people in 19th century Europe.
Each of Mivekannin’s work has its own historical time, according to the Galerie Cécile Fakhoury. A peculiar attribute of the artist is that he takes historical representations, subverts their primary narratives and then constructs his own vision of common narratives. His own face often appears in the foreground of his work, sometimes hidden in the crowds of figurants.
“In his works, Roméo Mivekannin thus questions the invisible and the hidden. He brings to light the workings of representation that carry the systems of domination and introduces a subtle critique, on the borderline between rewriting a collective memory and repairing a fractured personal identity,” said the Galerie Cécile Fakhoury.
Some of his works include La famille royale, Hollande (The royal family, Holland), 2019 and Marché aux esclaves à Rome, after J.-L. Gérôme (The slave market in Rome, after J.-L. Gérôme), 2019.
After opening its Abidjan gallery in 2012, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury opened its second gallery in Dakar, Senegal and a showroom in Paris in 2018.
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