Chéri Samba’s work is present in the collections of the most prestigious international cultural institutions. In 2004, the Fondation Cartier hosted his first major monographic exhibition in France. 18 years after ‘J’aime Chéri Samba’, MAGNIN-A gallery dedicates to this emblematic artist of the contemporary scene the first solo show ever organised in a gallery in Paris.
© Studio Louis Delbaere
‘Stupefaction’ presents fifteen paintings never or rarely shown, made by Chéri Samba between 1983 and 2022. Among the works exhibited are Le Couple d’artiste, circa 1983, a historic work representing M’Pongo Love, the great lady of modern Congolese music, J’aime la couleur de la vraie carte du monde, 2016, a very large-scale work that features the painter’s iconic repertoire, and a touching self-portrait from 2022 entitled La vieillesse d’un homme sans péché.
A bearer of messages and morals, putting himself on stage, Chéri Samba produces works in which he invites the viewer to enter into vital, charming, amusing, colourful stories, but also concerned with African and human issues. As André Magnin expresses it, his paintings are “precise, refined. He spends a lot of time on them and only paints twelve pictures a year. The organisation of space, the sense of colour… He does not use repetition. Each painting has its own reason for being.
For Chéri Samba, art has no boundaries. Both a great master of Congolese “popular painting” and an artist recognised on the international scene, he tackles universal themes, as well as morals, daily life, great personalities of the world, as the history of art, sexuality, social inequalities or corruption. The truculent painter attracts and stops the eye by striking colours. The texts inscribed on his paintings as comic strips, sometimes humorous and often philosophical, provoke reflections and questions while hoping to awaken consciences on the subject treated.
The exhibition will be on view from the 17th of September until the 23rd of October 2022. For more information, please visit MAGNIN-A.