Diadji Diop is a Senegalese artist whose work explores human identity and contradictions through media such as painting, sculpture and installation. Born in Dakar in 1973, Diadji Diop lives and works in Paris, where he continually exhibits his unique and captivating art.
The Senegalese artist developed a particular interest in art and creation at an early age, a predisposition that would guide the artistic traits of his art. Indeed, Diadji Diop grew up in a welcoming environment with well-to-do parents, where he quickly developed a growing passion for drawing. This attraction to the art world was confirmed after the death of his father, when the artist found a refuge in the plastic arts, particularly in cartoons.
In 1994, the Senegalese artist went to Paris to train in animation. He joined the artistic world and prepared to take part in the Ecole de l’Image des Gobelins and Beaux-Arts competitions. During this preparation, our artist discovers the multiple potentialities of sculptural art. Inspired by these novel modelling techniques and the presentation of diverse expressive forms, Diadji Diop decided to pursue this artistic path. In 1995, Diadji Diop enrolled at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris to lay the foundations for his new artistic path, and later attended the workshops of Bruno Lebel and Richard Deacon. He graduated in 2001 with honors, and was included in the “Félicités” exhibition in 2002.
The Senegalese artist’s work consists of sculptures or installations of polystyrene figures coated with the mass-tinted epoxy resin usually used to coat speedboat hulls. Diadji Diop sculpts bodies frozen in movement, reflecting a certain inner élan and exploratory finesse. He appropriates the surrounding space to give his monumental, dreamlike works a more realistic feel, and encourages viewers to integrate these installations into a sphere combining realism and the imaginary.
Diadji Diop’s use of red, a vivid, expressive color for his life-size works, allows viewers to transcend boundaries in their exploration. This color lends the sculpted human figures a universality that transcends ethnic origin, enabling them to be identified by all. This shimmering color also expresses a panoply of feelings that the artist wishes to convey through these sculptures.
At a glance, you’ll find the red synonymous with anger, or the red seen on a child’s toy. In these works, Diadji Diop explores the themes of violence, identity, exile and conflict, while at the same time expounding his thoughts on the nature of the ties that bind people, their ambivalence and contradictions, and their visions of society and the world today.
In addition to traditional African art, the sculptor has also been influenced by Western art movements such as Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. This is reflected in his use of bright colors and geometric shapes in some of his works.
Diadji Diop’s art explores themes of identity and the human person in all its ambiguity, while incorporating elements of contemporary Western art. Diadji Diop’s works are a testament to the richness and diversity of African sculptural art and the importance of preserving this culture for future generations.