'Famakan Magassa: Insatiable Animal' now on view at albertz benda

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'Famakan Magassa: Insatiable Animal' now on view at albertz benda
Famakan Magassa [Malian, b. 1997]. La loi du plus fort, 2022. Acrylic on canvas. 55 1/2 x 49 1/2 inches | 141 x 125.5 cm.

LOS ANGELES.- albertz benda is thrilled to announce Famakan Magassa: Insatiable Animal, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles and his second with the gallery, on view from March 22 - April 15, 2023. This exhibition will present an incisive cycle of acrylic paintings that examine correspondences between fact and fiction, truth and falsity, meaning and ambiguity. This will be Magassa’s first solo presentation following his winning of the 2023 Norval Sovereign African Art Prize.

Magassa casts himself in the role of the griot – traveling poets, musicians, and storytellers who maintain a tradition of oral history in parts of West Africa – drawing meaning from the irrationality and unpredictability of life. The works in Insatiable Animal often contradict or elaborate on reality, delving into personal fantasy and allegory. Compositions are at times populated by grotesque creatures drawn from the artist’s imagination, while others feature domestic or quotidian scenes. Placed in juxtaposition, these subjects seem to both reinforce and obfuscate their own veracity.

Growing up in Mali, Magassa has witnessed firsthand the clash of modern cultural developments and the weight of traditions. He seeks a balance between the desire for order and idealism and the reality of a society steeped in contradictions. Magassa displays a keen sense of observation for human behavior, maintaining a humor that abstains from didacticism, moralism, or denunciation. In his paintings, the artist deftly navigates between social satire and empathetic portrayals of his subjects, contending with themes ranging from cross-cultural pollination and environmentalism to addiction and loneliness.

It is Magassa’s skill for drawing out humor and pathos from both quotidian and existential contradictions that sets his work apart. Reality will always be present in the allegory, poetry will sometimes adorn the discourse, and joyful irreverence will be an integral part of the message.

Famakan Magassa (b. 1997, Mali) received his BFA in 2018 from Conservatoire Arts et Metiers Multimedia Balla Fasséke Kouyaté in Bamako, Mali. He exhibited for the first time in 2019 with several institutional shows, including presentations at L’Institute Français du Mali and La Fondation La Maison de l’Artiste in Assinie, Côte d’Ivoire. In 2020, he was included in ‘L’exposition collective Jeunes Talents’ at the residence of the Ambassador to the European Union, Mali and was one of the 2020 Laureates of the Cité Internationale des Arts Residency in Paris, France. His work has been featured in L’Oeuil and ArtsMagazine.

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