Vincent Michéa at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury Dakar extended until September

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Vincent Michéa at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury Dakar extended until September
Vincent Michéa, N°23, série Fatou Pompidou, 2017. Photo-collage, 30 x 40 cm.

DAKAR.- Galerie Cécile Fakhoury is presenting ‘Toi Seulement’, a solo show by Vincent Michéa.

Dedicated to his practice of photomontage, ‘Toi seulement’ is a visual wander through the artistic study that has marked the artist’s career over the last decade. Known for his colourful, pop paintings that borrow their themes from popular film and music culture as well as from the daily life of West African cities, Vincent Michéa has developed a continuous approach that has become increasingly personal but just as ambitious, which this exhibition aims to bring viewers in to discover again and again.

The chronological display takes us from Paris to Dakar via Abidjan, three cities that occupy an important place in the artist’s life, three geographies but also three cultural influences that respond and echo each other from work to work.

At the beginning is a collection of sensitive materials, images, textures, shapes, colours that have a double symbolic power for Vincent Michéa. First, sensory materials that appeal to touch, hearing as well as sight: the crumpled, matte gold of Kubor’s wrapping paper that squeaks in your ear as you unwrap it; the immaculate, shiny surface of photographic prints that invite you to grasp them with your whole hand at the risk of leaving a few fingerprints; the infinitely varied pointillist weave that twists the viewer’s eye.

From painting to photomontage, Vincent Michéa has always worked closely with materials, especially favouring sculptural objects. These sensory materials also appeal to memory. The photos that are at the origin of the works are as much those taken by Vincent Michéa as those he borrows from others, but all share the fact that they form a pantheon of memories that can be accessed between the lines.

The artist’s passions thus constitute his primary sources of inspiration: in the early 1980s, a decisive encounter with Senegal and its capital, which we find in the series ‘100% Dakar’ (2014); his affection for the black art scene from the late 1970s, to the committed creativity he evokes in ‘Or série’ (2015); and Fatou, the artist’s wife and muse, the main character in the series ‘Fatou Pompidou’ (2017) and ‘Fatou New Look - Pompidou Remix’ (2020).

Working within these meaningful materials, Vincent Michéa becomes an image sculptor. He explains about his first photomontages, ‘I cut, I slice, I carve, I incise, I shear, I lacerate, I amputate, I decapitate, I dismember...’ In his works the artist maintains a complex dialogue with the history of the genre and its emblematic figures that have marked the history of art from the second half of the 20th century to the present day.

From the extravagant derision of Dada Raoul Hausman, John Hartfield and Hanna Höche, Vincent Michéa keeps and perpetuates, in a joyfully irreverent spirit, a posture of rejection of aesthetic conventions. Cultures mix, materials mix, the low and the noble are reversed, evoking works by artists such as Romare Bearden or Mickalene Thomas, but in a more contemporary way. The graphic construction of the images is in line with the work of a Roman Cieslewicz and often remains subversive in its connection to the code of representation. A visual poetry is born fom these aesthetic interactions that is characterized by its forms and which translates Michéa’s committed vision of the world.

Untangling the knots of the image to untangle the detours of history; recomposing the image to recompose memory, keeping the significant elements to signify other imaginaries; such is the aesthetic project that has guided the artist in his relationship to photomontage for the past ten years. Vincent Michéa thus transposes spaces and plural temporalities onto a contemporary territory and invites us to immerse ourselves in his multi-dimensional creations. From this point we can follow the main graphic lines of the artist’s narrative and understand the proponents of a personal story whose scope remains undeniably universal.

‘A table, scissors, glue and pictures in profusion, that’s the photo editor’s arsenal. Using photomontage as an artistic practice to design images allows you to backpedal. It also means being aware that photography is an art. Photomontage suddenly becomes clear as an act of utmost significance, perfectly contemporary, adapted to the current context of an incessant flow of all forms of visual and sculptural information. Photomontage requires a certain mastery of memory. Far from being an iconoclastic activity, it is rather an animism of images, a polytheism of vision. Conceiving and creating photomontages manually with simple and common tools is one of the most meaningful acts for a creator who would like to realize sensitive images loaded with extreme tensions.’ --Vincent Michéa

Born in 1963 in Figeac, France. He lives and works in Paris and Dakar.

After graduating from the École Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques et d’Architecture Intérieure (ESAG Pennin-ghen) in Paris, Vincent Michéa moved to Dakar in 1986. In 1987, he exhibited his paintings and photographs for the first time at the National Gallery of Senegal. From this exhibition onwards, he worked as an assistant to the renowned graphic designer Roman Cieslewicz until 1991.

Greatly encouraged by the latter, Vincent Michéa threw himself into painting profusely. Since 2008, along with the painter Moulay Youssef Elkahfai, Vincent Michéa has been teaching silkscreen printing at the École Supérieure des Arts Visuels (ESAV) in Marrakech, Morocco.

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury in Abidjan, Ivory Coast has dedicated three solo shows to the artist, Que reste-t-il de nos amours (2017), De Punta a Punta (2015), and Je ne pense qu’à ça (2013). In 2018, his work was part of the inaugural exhibition at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury in Dakar, Senegal, Les Fantômes de l’Afrique - Siriel Rellik as well as the travelling exhibition Making Africa, A Continent of Contemporary Design curated by Vitra Design Museum in New Mexico after Austin and Atlanta.

Vincent Michéa was also featured in Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America at the Saatchi Gallery in London in 2014, and in Vivre !! La collection Agnès b. at the National Museum of History of Immigration in 2016. The same year, his works were shown at the exhibition Qu’il est loin mon pays at Fondation Blachère in Apt, France and in In my shade she is engulfed at the African Studies Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Vincent Michéa’s works are part of several international collections such as Agnès B, Paris (France), Saatchi Gallery, London (United Kingdom) and Mohamed VI Museum, Rabat (Morocco).

Selected exhibitions: L’Esprit du large, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Dakar et Abidjan, 2019) ; Les fantômes de l’Afrique - Siriel Rellik, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury - Dakar (Senegal, 2018) ; Qu’il est loin mon pays, Fondation Blachère, Apt (France, 2016) ; Pangaea: New Art form Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London (UK, 2014)

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