This now 1 & 2, Joburg and Rabat
For the first Johannesburg Contemporary Art Fair 2008, Cécile Bourne-Farrell, independent curator based in Paris is invited by L’appartement22 to select artists according to their specific relationships with Africa. The exhibited works are connecting and tackling issues constitutive of our daily relations & contradictions with this huge continent. Some of the presented works belong to the catalogue (#) of L’appartement22, which have already beeing produced at the occasion of exhibitions, others are subject of future projects for this Morocan-based structure.
L’appartement22 is an independent space for contemporary art which organises exhibitions and events. The space was founded by Abdellah Karroum in Rabat in 2002. Most of L’appartement22’s projects are conceived specifically for the space, namely in the context of artists’ residencies that have been continuously developed since 2004. After 5 years of existence, L’appartement22 has opened itself to new propositions and functions collectively and cooperatively, engaging with international curators and artists. At the occasion of Johannesburg Art Fair, L’appartement22 will also interact in real time with its radio www.radioapartment22.com
For nearly two decades now, emerging artists, like Pascal Marthine-Tayou, Barthélémy Toguo, musicians, choreographers such as Faustin Linyekula, critics and cultural actors as well as institutions are actively engaging themselves beside their contemporaries to create links that favour exchanges between different actors in the African continent and the rest of the world. Today, these initiatives are complex, spread or remain invisible. These situations often ambition to structure long term relationships between African countries to share a certain know-how in a world each time more globalized. It seems therefore appropriate to restore a certain reading, as partial as it may be, to speak about the richness and diversity of these attemps by showing a series of works accomplished today, for the first Art Fair of Johannesburg where L’appartement22 has been invited to participate.
Five Years ago I organized a project between the fine arts school of Kinshasa and the one of Nantes 1Rondpoint was organized in 2002 by chooseone and gave the possibility to built long term relationships with the Fine Arts Schools of Kinshasa (RDC) and Strasbourg, next one is Bamako, etc..www.chooseone.org/indexnk.html. This experience was the fruit of an attempt to create different ways of relating to contemporary art made or conceived in Africa and how to reverse the situation with one of it’s ex-colonialist, France, the country where I am based. As I highlighted in an article published on www.synesthesie.com 2http://mobilites.synesthesie.com, it is complex and one of the main point concerns economic and political inequities. Artists like Sue Williamson and modest institutions like L’appartement22 or Doualart in Cameroon for exemple, are creating admirable artistic projects to build up connections between different continents. The reason of those astonishing results comes from the content of the projects themselves, their capacity of transmission which offer a multitude of interpretations placing the viewer beyond local situation3www.multipistes.org. This is now 1 is therefore pursuing the same goal by pointing fundamental questions, addressing the place of people in society or on the environment, while simultaneously attempting to tell stories, making us laugh or using poetic languages to speak about the global world we are living in.
Beyond the communication differences of this huge continent, men and women are traveling for different motives, be it for surviving, love or business. My proposal aims to link different territories like Marocoo and South Africa which, for some peripherical reasons never really met… This is now 1 wants to go beyond cultural consensus and is concerned by common notions like the one’s of hospitality, universal notions of transmission and know-how, through small and big moments of daily life. Links are created or dismantled, what matters is the quality of the relationships involved and how it leaves some space for negociation wherever the viewer comes from. This is now 1 brings out one’s full capacity in deploying an enormous amount of energy that make happen situations whereby relationships generate desire for exchange, rather than eagerness.
Some of the twelve presented artists are living in Bahrain, Cameroon, Egypt, Marocoo, South Africa, while others in the rest of the world. These emerging contemporary visual artists have been chosen for bringing a large picture through small gestures, by showing the result of a collaboration which is quite uncommon. It is no longer about taking and displacing the exoticism of the African continent but about giving humane dimensions, which can allow a certain relativity, imagination and projection of oneself in the future.
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