The exhibition « Mémoires contemporaines d’un continent » offers the discovery of the artist’s new exhibition, and proposes an intersection of a contemporary gaze and a tribal movement, made by the artist occupied by an otherworldly power.
Open until June 18, 2022 at the Galerie Cécile Fakhoury located at 29 Avenue Matignon in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the works of Sadikou Oukpedjo take us into an imaginary world of cave paintings.
Sadikou Oukpedjo proposes a series of works, some using a clever method of mixing pigments and encaustics, others sometimes approaching a substance analysis or a custom creation, showing discrete, rather deep or ethereal tones, which, like the obvious mystery recommended by the title, are engraved beyond natural possibilities, at the intersection of the past and the contemporary.
Some works seem to have been unearthed from prehistoric times, as if unearthed from a place saved by the progression of time. The delicate monsters in Sadikou Oukpedjo‘s works are sometimes presented in reflective positions, away from the hustle and bustle of the world, sometimes in scenes of battle or conflict.
Different works, again, show striking tones and incorporate images that leave no doubt about the avant-garde times of which the artist mentions a basic observable fact: an African continent under the influence of unknown interests, seized of its abundance and powers, as if unaware of this domination.
But beyond that, an unyielding analysis of human evil, of the reiteration of the equivalent and of individuals who play with the pain of others as they see fit. His therianthropic figures, half-human and half-creature, are important to a long line of fantasies and beliefs, from Egyptian deities to shamanic ceremonies.
Like Greek or African legends, Sadikou Oukpedjo‘s works present legends and their epics, in some cases incredible animals, intermediaries between divine beings and humans, as a pictorial framework for making sense of our societies and the beginning of our urban areas.
The stylized nuance of Sadikou Oukpedjo‘s works, as they go along, recommends the art of reflection they bring. The sharp analysis is never without a trace of delicacy, and the precision of the artist’s gaze is made of as much sorrow as hope.
If the fight of the men between them and in them is often not delicious to see, it happened to the divine beings to thwart their predetermination. The expression of the oracle usually has some implications, which are here communicated plastically in the magnificence of the threats, open or closed, told by Sadikou Oukpedjo through his works.
After nurturing a youthful creative practice focused primarily on sculpture and assemblages, Sadikou Oukpedjo joined Paul Ahyi‘s workshop in Lomé, Togo.
Over time, he began to paint in parallel, using cement paper with pastel strokes, from the use of chalk to painting on the material, he creates works with new aspects, the drawing being both exposed in the manner of wood and considered as a medium by itself.
After a stay in Mali, the nation of his distant points of departure, he chooses to settle in Abidjan where he then devotes himself mainly to painting.
It is from 2014, upon his return from the Dakar Biennale, that he begins a progression of works, whose figures will be presented at the exhibition Cécile Fakhoury in Abidjan in 2016. This series was additionally presented in 2014 at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London. In 2016, Sadikou Oukpedjo was hosted in residence, at La Somone with the Blachère Foundation in Dakar, as well as at Thread, Tambacounda, Senegal with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
In 2018, Sadikou Oukpedjo was included in two exhibitions, « Des Hommes et des Totems » at Galerie Le Manège in Dakar, and « Les Fantômes de l’Afrique », with Vincent Michéa, at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury in Dakar. The same year, he had an independent exhibition at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
After his exhibition « Silentium » in Abidjan in 2019, Sadikou Oukpedjo is exhibited in 2020 in Dakar and Paris, at the Galerie Cécile Fakhoury and then he receives a commission from the Palais de Lomé for amazing sculptures put in the open air for its inauguration.