Arts of Africa - Monaco - Grimaldi
From ‘Traditional Arts’ to ‘Contemporary Art’ six millennia of history, and the relationships to 20th-century avant-gardes. In all, 250 works from African and European museums and private collections will be displayed.
10 avenue Princesse Grace,
Monaco – Espace Ravel
This artistic and historical fresco will highlight the talent and creativity of the artists of this continent, Nigeria, Benin, Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali and Sudan in particular.
A single expert was not enough to cover so broad a theme. Consequently, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco chose to entrust the event to two undisputed international experts in African Art:
For ‘Traditional Arts’: Ezio Bassani
of Italy, in collaboration with Artificio Skira, who, in 2004, just completed ‘Africa, masterpieces from a continent’, a great exhibition in Turin described by the international press as one of the broadest and most complete
For ‘Contemporary Art’: Frenchman
André Magnin, co-organizer of the great exhibition ‘Magicians of the Earth’ in Paris (1987-1989) and, especially, artistic director and curator of the Contemporary African Art Collection, better known as the Pigozzi Collection, the world’s richest, entirely dedicated to artists of all generations, living and working in Black Africa, which includes all art forms: drawing, painting, sculpture, installations, photography.
These two co-organizers will pool their knowledge to assert, in the setting of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, all the creative power of Art in Black Africa, in all its forms.
To stage this broad artistic vision of Africa, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco called on Ettore
Sottsass, an artisan in the success of Italian design and on Marco
Palmieri.Arts of Africa’ is an invitation to explore the millennia-old past of representational arts on the African continent, more specifically that immense part of Africa that remained uninfluenced by Islamic culture until the 9th and 10th centuries and did not come into contact with Western culture until the 15th and 16th centuries. The exhibition focuses on the forms of artistic expression from sub-Saharan Africa, excluding the circum-Mediterranean countries of North Africa, which exchanged knowledge and experience with the peoples and European and Asian cultures from very ancient times.
Consequently, the purpose of the exhibition is to portray the development of an extraordinarily creative representational culture linked to social and religious traditions covering six millennia of the history of the peoples and nations who lived on the African continent and still live there.
This is why the first part of the exhibition, devoted to ‘Traditional Arts’, will be divided into three sections, plus a fourth section dedicated to relationships with the 20th-century European artistic avant-gardes.
This final section will form a transition with the second part of the exhibition dealing with contemporary African art. This art, too, bears the formal, historical and cultural values intrinsic to its tradition despite being strongly influenced by the intense and totally new relations with the West on the one hand and Islam on the other, that have arisen in the four decades following decolonization.
As everyone knows, the expressions of African art go back to the dawn of humanity... The exhibition will start with very ancient works from Nubia, predating dynastic Egypt and consequently remembered as the African sources of the millennia-old art of the Pharaohs. Visitors will also be immersed in the heart of the Nok, Ikbo Ukwo, Ifé civilizations that, for 1,000 years, produced some of the most surprising and exceptional masterpieces known to this day in what is now northern Nigeria. Nearly 2,000 masterpieces were produced alone in the city of Benin, destroyed in the late 19th century.
This section will also highlight the flourishing arts in the sub-Saharan zone starting in the 11th century (Mali and Niger), with the emergence of woodcarving and the art of Djenné.
There will also be ivories, produced for local use or commissioned by Europeans impressed by the talent of African sculptors, starting in the 16th century.
Wood carvings, masks, ancestor figures and figures of power will close this section.
In all, 250 works from African and European museums and private collections will be displayed.
In the last decade of the 19th century and especially at the start of the 20th century, many great artists among the protagonists of those revolutionary years were fascinated by the African works that reached Europe at the time as simple crafts. Those same artists very soon discovered the expressive autonomy and extraordinary artistic value of these great traditions.
This section will present some twenty works by Picasso, Derain, Nolde, Pechstein, Modigliani, Léger, Laurens.
With a few exceptions, their visibility is rather discreet in France, while, abroad, they regularly participate in major exhibitions...
‘Arts of Africa’ offers an introspective view of the current artistic production of the greatest contemporary artists living and working in Black Africa. It will present major works in all forms of artistic expression (painting, sculpture, video, photography, installations) from the Pigozzi Collection that, since 1990, through the exhibitions it designs and organizes, through the loan of works it accepts, through the catalogues and books published, reveals living creation in this part of the world to as broad an audience as possible.
Thanks to these individual or collective exhibitions, retrospective or monographic, Jean Pigozzi’s collection has largely contributed to the emergence of contemporary African art on the international scene and worldwide recognition for the likes of Seydou Keïta, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Malick Sidibé, Moke, Chéri Samba, Romuald Hazoumé and Bodys Isek
Read also on this site about the book: Arts of
Africa: 7000 Years of African Art
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