Writing Art History Since 2002

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Abdoulaye Konaté, during his life, had shows in the most important Museums and Biennials around the world, from East to West, from Asia to America.

Abdoulaye Konaté, Reine et Roi Ashanti (Detail), 2021. Textile, 230 x 628cm. Courtesy of the artist and Primo Marella Gallery.

“His works were the subject of several exhibitions and he took part in lots of international biennials. A long career marked by permanent research makes Abdoulaye Konaté one of the essential figures of contemporary art, which allows me to appoint him the title of Master. Master in his art, that is how an artist achieving recognition can be defined.”

Stated El Hadji Malick Ndiaye, the Artistic Director of the 14th edition of Dak’Art – Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain of Dakar (2022) on the catalogue of the Biennial.

In 2004 he participated in Africa Remix; in 2005, at the exhibition at the Center Pompidou; in 2007, at Documenta 12 Kassel, he was a protagonist in all subsequent international exhibitions of African art. In 2010 had a retrospective anthological exhibition at the Dakar Biennale, and in 2017 one of his monumental works was exhibited at the Arsenale at the 57th Venice Biennale. In 2020 Abdoulaye Konaté presents his monumental and site-specific installation Idéogrammes, signes, symboles et logos (Hommage à Youssouf Tata Cissé et Germaine Dieterlen) at Zeitz MOCAA’s BMW Atrium. In 2020 Konaté was invited to participate in the exhibition “Global(e) Resistance” at Centre Pompidou, Paris, with one of his historical installations, dated 1995-1996. In 2021 Abdoulaye Konaté had his first solo exhibition in Japan, “The Diffusion of Infinite Things”, held in Standing Pine spaces in Nagoya.

In 2022 the most relevant African Biennale: Dak’Art Biennale, payed him tribute as “The Master”, with the exhibition: Hommage à Abdoulaye Konaté, l’étoffe d’un maître, Former Palais de Justice (Courthouse), Cap Manuel, Dakar. Three of his monumental works will be exhibited at the 14th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea, 2023). El Hadji Malick Ndiaye described his work as guided by two lines of force: aesthetics and socio-politics.

“On the one hand, aesthetics results from working with materials. The dexterity of the artist lies in his ability to play with textiles, giving them reliefs and shapes, with a graduation of colors that suggests movement just on the basis of the nuance of the hues”, notes the Museum Curator.

Then he pushes further his reflection: “His compositions testify to a subtle chromaticism in the arrangement of the pieces of fabric and the presence of important reliefs thanks to integrated objects. The minimalist regularity of the discontinuous bands introduces the formation of volumes and creates optical effects that sometimes come in a series of abstractions”.

The work of Konaté is marked by a profound humanism which resides in his ability to name cultural, social and political relations. The titles he gives to his works are surrounded by evocative power and symbolism: they become an introspection of History and Memory.

Through textile-based installations made from woven, dyed clothes, traditional Malian cotton, and different types of international textiles, Konaté bears witness to a culture of which he seems to reveal some of its closest secrets… He engages, above all, in a reflection of the crises and issues that cross our time.

Referring to the West-African tradition of using textiles to communicate, the artist balances the global issues with a personal reference to his own life and country. The textile used is not only a second skin, but also the support of a chromatic verb, almost religious. The works of Abdoulaye Konaté are scores of human drama and collective unconsciousness that evoke the ills of men and their difficulty in forging together a common destiny.

In this solo exhibition, Abdoulaye Konaté will show in Milan two marvellous and large-scale artworks exhibited during the 14th edition of Dak’Art – Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain of Dakar (2022): Reine et Roi Ashanti (2021), Oiseau gris à queue jaune (2021) and eight brand new and unique artworks made especially for this exhibition at Primo Marella Gallery.

The exhibition will be on view from the 9th of February until the 20th of April 2023. For more infomration, please visit Primo Marella Gallery.

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