Exciting works to see at 1.54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New-York, May 3rd -5th 2019

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the international art fair dedicated to promoting contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives, which will take place May 3-5, 2019 at Industria in the West Village, with a press and VIP Preview on May 2. This year marks the fair’s fifth anniversary in New York, and celebrates the fair’s move to a new Manhattan venue. As the opening of the New York edition of 1-54 approaches, Artskop3437  invites you to discover the work of 16 artists who will be exhibited on the fair as well as the galleries that present them.

Pieter Hugo, Portrait #16, South Africa, 2016
Digital C-Print
© Courtesy Pieter Hugo and Yossi Milo Gallery

Gallery 1957 presents long-awaited works by Thameur Mejri

Based in Accra and working internationally, Gallery 1957 is dedicated to contemporary art. With a curatorial focus on West Africa, the gallery presents a programme of exhibitions, installations and performances by the region’s most significant artists. Gallery 1957 works with artists currently bridging the gap between local and international practices, including Serge Attukwei Clottey, Jeremiah Quarshie, Yaw Owusu, Gerald Chukwuma, and Godfried Donkor. For 1-54 New York, Gallery 1957 presents works by the Tunisian artist Thameur Mejri, in addition to his solo exhibition at the gallery in Accra from March 28 to May 7 included. 

Thameur Mejri, Untitled, 2018, acrylic, charcoal, pencils and pastel on canvas, 200cm x 180cm. © the artist and Gallery 1957.

Thameur Mejri cites, like Paul Klee before him, the same influence of Tunisia and its rich landscape as the colour catalyst for his latest series, Eroded Grounds. The human body occupies a special place in the artist’s work, which sometimes evokes the slow appropriation of the artist and his image in Europe because of the spiritual transcendencies and the relationship between the image of man and the divine, highlighted by religious culture. This conquest of his own body, the acceptance of its limits and its purely carnal dimension has not always been shown in the different European societies and Mejri explores the way in which the Arab-Muslim world maintains a complex and conflictual relationship on the subject, a pretext for so many other refoulements.

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury presents photgraphs of François Xavier Gbré

Opened in September 2012 and active in Dakar since 2018, the gallery offers a new perspective on creativity and exceptional artistic diversity in West Africa. The gallery presents new works by François xavier Gbré, Dalila Dalleas Bouzar, and Jems Robert Koko Bi.

François-Xavier Gbré, Cour suprême I, Palais de Justice, Cap Manuel, Dakar, 2014 Pigment print on Baryta Hahnemülhe paper 39 2/5 × 59 1/10 in 100 × 150 cm © Courtesy Cécile Fakhoury Gallery
François-Xavier Gbré, Cour suprême I, Palais de Justice, Cap Manuel, Dakar, 2014
Pigment print on Baryta Hahnemülhe paper
39 2/5 × 59 1/10 in
100 × 150 cm
© Courtesy Cécile Fakhoury Gallery

François-Xavier Gbré was born in Lille, France, in 1978. He lives and works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He graduated with a degree in Photography from École Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques de Montpellier in France. While engaging with time and geography, his work summons the language of architecture as a witness of memory and social changes. From remnants of colonial times to landscapes that are redefined by current events, François-Xavier Gbré explores territories and revisits history.

Richard Tattinger Gallery presents works by Jorge Mayet and Frances Goodman

Jorge Mayet’s sculptures and installations draw from his experiences living as a Cuban exile in Spain. Suspended in midair, his photorealistic floating landscapes and uprooted trees offer ethereal, dream-like visions of his homeland. The exposed roots of the trees serve as a metaphor for diaspora, questioning the function of homeland. Mayet’s technique expands upon the region’s local craft traditions and honors the mysticism of the Yoruba religion, which was proliferated in Latin America by the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Jorge Mayet, Obatala, 2017
Electric wire, paper mache, paper and textile
48 × 26 × 26 in
121.9 × 66 × 66 cm
© Courtesy Jorge Mayet and Richard Tattinger Gallery

Born in 1975 and based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Frances Goodman is today considered one of the country’s leading artists. Her working practice, which includes installation, photography, sculpture and sound installations, focuses primarily on women and contemporary notions of beauty and desire. Her interests lie in female identity and the anxieties that manifest and are cultivated from the bombardment of the media as well as societal expectations and pressures (both self -imposed and external).  Her work is featured in collections of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), South Africa; the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, USA; the Sindika Dokolo African Collection of Contemporary Art; and the Chase Manhattan Collection, USA.

The Drama, 2018
Hand-stitched sequins on canvas
38 5/8 × 52 in
98.1 × 132.1 cm
© Courtesy Frances Goodman and Richard Tattinger gallery

Perve Galeria presents a core of Ernesto Shikhani’s work before and after the independence of Mozambique

Perve galeria presents a core of artworks which emphasize, politically speaking, the interventional character of Ernesto Shikhani’s work before and after the independence of Mozambique. Perve Galeria present also works of Shikhani at Frieze New York in 2 section.

In an initial section, there will be art works in which became evident that the artist clearly tries to transmit a message against the Portuguese colonial regime and dictatorship, representing them, most of the time, through monstrous beings. In this context, the human figure is practically non-existent or appears distorted and brutally oppressed.

Ernesto Shikani, Untitled (Civil War – Beira series), 1979
24 × 16 9/10 in
61 × 43 cm
© Courtesy Ernesto Shikhani and Perve Galeria

A second section will reflect the post-independence period, when the author often represents the human figure with disproportionate hands, fingers and heads. His work again has a strophe of political and social intervention that is strongly related to the civil war. Here the works frequently reveal two human figures linked by the same body representing a same people but in conflict with himself. This type of composition is mainly made on paper, as it reflects a time when there was a profound social and economic transformation in the country and materials such as canvas became a very rare and expensive thing.

Born in 1934, in the Marracuene District, Ernesto Shikhani was part of a prominent group of artists in Mozambique who played a key role in broadening aesthetic reciprocity across Africa, Europe, and the USA. He began to devote himself to sculpture with the Portuguese master Lobo Fernandes at Núcleo de Arte, in Maputo, Mozambique. His latest drawings and paintings show traces and colors sometimes aggressive but also vibrant and radiant. In 2004, Perve Galeria held a retrospective exhibition of his 40 years of painting and sculpture. Ernesto Shikhani died on 31 December 2010, in Maputo, Mozambique.

Anne De Villepoix Gallery presents Omar Ba

Born in 1977 in Senegal, Omar Ba lives and works in Dakar and Geneva. His paintings, produced using a variety of techniques and materials, represent political and social motifs open to multiple interpretations. His artistic vocabulary raises historical and timeless questions while formulating a wholly contemporary artistic message.  Omar Ba’s iconography features personal metaphors, ancestral references and hybrid figures. This combination of heterogeneous elements illustrates his desire to abolish boundaries and categories. Omar Ba is represented by Templon gallery in France and Switzerland.

huile, crayon, encre de chine sur carton ondulé (corrugated)
210 x 150 cm
© Courtesy Omar Ba and Anne De Villepoix Gallery

Galerie Magnin-A proposes works by Fabrice Monteiro, Vincent Michéa, among others

MAGNIN-A is a contemporary art gallery created in 2009 in Paris by André Magnin and directed by Philippe Boutté, renowned experts in modern and contemporary African art. As a talent discoverer, the MAGNIN-A gallery represents established and emerging artists. The gallery works with passion and conviction to promote and disseminate artists at the most important international fairs and exhibitions.

Born in 1972 in Namur, Fabrice Monteiro grew up in Benin. After studying industrial engineering, he began a career as a model, an opportunity for him to make his first contact with the photographic medium. After passing behind the lens, his first experiences will naturally be in the world of fashion, but very quickly, he decides to tell another story.

Fabrice Monteiro, Watermelon boy, 2017
Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag 310gr
© Courtesy Fabrice Monteiro and Magnin-A gallery

He lives and works in Dakar. Fabrice Monteiro’s photography and works occupy a rich space that spans all genres: photo-reportage, fashion images and portraits blend and collide to better reveal a “mixed” universe in the artist’s image. With his new series of works, Monteiro makes fun of the clichés that people of colour still suffer from and the way they are represented in people’s imaginations or in advertising.

Vincent Michéa was born in 1963 in Figeac, France, he lives and works between Paris and Dakar. After graduating from ESAG in Paris, he left for Dakar in 1986 to work as a graphic designer. It was in 1987 that he first exhibited his work of paintings and photos at the National Gallery of Senegal. Following this exhibition, he worked as an assistant to Roman Cieslewicz until 1991. Encouraged by this renowned graphic designer, he invested himself in an intense activity of painting creations. Vincent Michéa is also co-founder of the 100% DAKAR label and collaborates within the DKR studio in the 90s. In 2007 and 2008, he led photomontage workshops at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa. Since 2008, with the painter Moulay Youssef Elkahfai, Vincent Michéa has been in charge of the silkscreen printing workshop at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels in Marrakech.

Vincent Michéa, Les copines d’abord #3, 2018
Acrylic, collage and print on cardboard
15 7/10 × 19 3/5 in
38.1 × 48.3 cm
© Courtesy Vincent Michéa and Magnin-A gallery

Espace D’art Contemporain 14N 61W presents works by Jean Ulrich Désert and photographs by Robert Charlotte

Jean-Ulrick Désert is a conceptual and visual artist born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Désert’s art works vary in form: public billboards, actions, paintings, site-specific sculpture, video and art objects. They emerge from a tradition of conceptual work engaged with social and cultural practices. Well known for his “Negerhosen2000” his provocative “Burqa Project” and his poetic “Goddess Projects” Désert has said his practice may be characterized as visualizing “conspicuous invisibility.” He has exhibited widely at venues such as The Brooklyn Museum, The Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, Grey Art Gallery NYU/Studio Museum of Harlem, Walker Art Center in the USA, la Cité Internationale des Arts in France, The Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst in Germany and in galleries and public venues as well in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Ghent, Brussels.

Jean-Elrich Désert, “Waters of Kiskeya” (1 of 2 unique), 2017 9 panels (each 91x61 cm) hand embellished (pearlescent acrylic paint, inks, watercolors) on vellum xerography paper (each embossed/stamped/framed) 72 × 108 3/10 × 1 1/5 in 183 × 275 × 3 cm © Courtesy Jean-Ulrich Désert and Espace D'art Contemporain gallery
Jean-Elrich Désert, “Waters of Kiskeya” (1 of 2 unique), 2017
9 panels (each 91×61 cm) hand embellished (pearlescent acrylic paint, inks, watercolors) on vellum xerography paper (each embossed/stamped/framed)
72 × 108 3/10 × 1 1/5 in
183 × 275 × 3 cm
© Courtesy Jean-Ulrich Désert and Espace D’art Contemporain gallery

He is the recipient of awards, public commissions, private philanthropy, including Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Villa Waldberta-Munich, Kulturstiftung der Länder (Germany) and Cité des Arts (France). He received his degrees at Cooper Union and Columbia University (New York) and has been an invited lecturer and critic at universities in the United States (Princeton, Yale, Columbia), Germany (Humboldt University in Berlin) and in France (at the École supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris). He also advises and teaches for Trans Art Institute (based in New York).

It is from a social point of view that Robert CHARLOTTE‘s photography is oriented in the form of photographic portraits. He systematically examines the behaviours, attitudes and expressions of social groups. Born in 1966 in Martinique, where he grew up and lives, Robert CHARLOTTE was very interested in the family album at an early age, which gave him both pleasure and a trigger. From 1986 to 1989, he was in Paris at a photography school.

Robert Charlotte, “Woman in the yellow dress, Setina Brackin” Garifuna St-Vincent serie, 2015
Photo print on fine art paper
31 1/2 × 23 3/5 in
80 × 60 cm
© Courtesy Robert Charlotte and Espace D’art Contemporain

He lived there for 10 years, works in an industrial photography studio. He will learn the issues of reporting, illustration, commissioning, artistic proposal, team collaboration and the loneliness of the moment of release. Back in Martinique, he became interested in painting, meeting, interacting with and photographing painters in their workshops. He is a contributor to several publications.

14N61W is a contemporary gallery located in Martinique. The gallery presents a range of artistic positions in all media, focusing and focused on contemporary art in the Caribbean and around the world, the authenticity, the presence, projection and reflection of its artists in the art they produce, leaving the audience enthusiastic, sometimes puzzled, but never indifferent. The program of espace d’art contemporain 14N61W, is fuelled with exhibitions and projects revolving around concerns about artistic creation in relation to today’s social, economical, political and global issues.

Afronova gallery presents photographs of John Liebenberg

John Liebenberg lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is born in 1958. He was introduced to Namibia in 1976 when, together with his fellow conscripts he was sent to Ondangwa Air-force base near the border with Angola. He later returned to Namibia and in 1985 was appointed photographer for a new weekly, “The Namibian”. Following independence he and his family moved to Johannesburg, from where he covered the Angolan civil war as freelancer for Reuters. He is a senior and established news photographer whose work has been exhibited in Africa and Europe. His Namibian photographic collection documenting Swapo’s war of Liberation and the South African occupation is widely used by historians, researchers and film makers.

John Liebenberg, Sunday at the love station, 2019
Hand made print on fiber base paper
19 7/10 × 15 7/10 in
50 × 40 cm
Edition of 5
© Courtesy John Liebenberg and Afronova Gallery

L’agence à paris presents works by Dominique Zinkpè

Dominique Zinkpè‘s works refer to his environment and the context in which he finds himself. Identity is the roots, the consciousness of coming from somewhere, the tree that does not hide the forest. It is the audacity to testify, to affirm one’s voice clearly and clearly, says the artist. His approach is complex and diverse. Far from confining himself to a plastic writing, he appropriates all kinds of media as long as they allow him to express himself: installation, drawing, painting, sculpture, video. Zinkpè’s painting explores tortuous paths where the characters, halfway between a human being and an animal, evoke power games, masquerades or sex, no doubt alluding to our human comedy. Its unique feature is recognizable on the canvas; intimate, powerful, provocative.

Dominique Zinkpè, Convoitise, 2016 Mixed media 29 9/10 × 22 1/5 in 76 × 56.5 cm © Courtesy Dominique Zinkpè Lagence à Paris
Dominique Zinkpè, Convoitise, 2016
Mixed media
29 9/10 × 22 1/5 in
76 × 56.5 cm
© Courtesy Dominique Zinkpè Lagence à Paris

L’Agence à Paris represents artists, mainly in the field of visual arts, of all nationalities, accompanying them in all stages of creation. The Agency is developing a unique and flexible model as a possible response to the rapid changes in the creative economies. It develops reflection and action with the desire to create healthy relationships with the art market.

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien’s installations

Born in 1990, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien has lived in Paris since leaving Côte d’Ivoire in 2004 during the civil war. In her work, she seeks to juxtapose diverse cultural elements, bringing them together to form new, syncretic pieces with additional layers of meaning. Interested in the complex relationships between notions of a universal popular culture, everyday life, and traditional handmade construction processes, Manlanbien creates physical encounters between industrial and artisanal materials. She is inspired greatly by the traditional practices of the matriarchal Akan society in Côte d’Ivoire, who historically crafted weights in order to value gold. The artist speaks of her intention to create ephemeral, poetic narrations which are in perpetual renewal, resulting in tangible pieces which both ‘witness’ and ‘trace’ past diverse cultural histories. She is represented by 50 Golborne gallery.

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, #Mater 7, Ladies Garden, 2016
Copper, rice paper, rafia, drawing
© Courtesy the artist and 50 Golborne

50 Golborne’s gallery mission is to support and promote some of the best projects and productions developed by international visual artists, designers and makers. It especially supports those relevant to portraying and interrogating a world which is changing fast and in which the African continent and its international Diaspora plays a dynamic and significant role.

Addis Fine Art with new works of Nirit Takele

Nirit Takele, born in Ethiopia in 1985, immigrated to Israel in 1991 in “Operation Solomon” an Israeli military operation that transported more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 36 hours. Nirit presently works from her studio in Tel Aviv. Although she grew up with very few memories of her childhood in Ethiopia, Nirit has been painting from a very young age practising her skills by studying the works of artists like Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Riviera and David Hockney.

Nirit Takele, Studio Visit Adam & Eve, 2019
© Courtesy Nirit Takele and Addis Fine Art

She explores her cultural heritage in her works, illustrating the everyday life of the Israeli Ethiopian community and finding inspiration in old Ethiopian sagas and folk tales remembered from her youth. Nirit is a bold colourist, building up faceted figurative bodies through the application of near abstract flat forms. She is represented by Addis Fine Art.

Addis Fine Art is a pioneering gallery based in Addis Ababa and London. The very first local space and international platform based in Ethiopia, the gallery focuses on highlighting modern and contemporary fine art from the Horn of Africa region and its diasporas.

Barnard Gallery presents works by Richard Mudariki

Often drawing on classic compositions from the Old Masters of European art history, Richard Mudariki reinterprets these iconic scenes with his own cast of human and animal characters, constructing a mise-en-scene which resituates the drama within a contemporary, Southern African social context. Mudariki tackles a widerange of political and social debates with an arresting and unique visual language characterized by bright colours, irrational spaces and perspectives, theatrical compositions and allegorical use of symbolism.

Richard Mudariki, Afronoide, 2019.
Acrylic on canvas
35 2/5 × 35 2/5 in
90 × 90 cm
© Courtesy Richard Mudariki and Barnard Gallery

Often appealing to the viewer’s sense of humour, Mudariki’s theatricality nevertheless maintains a restless, foreboding energy in its engagement with the duplicity and deception, which characterizes so much of contemporary politics. In Mudariki’s quotations of iconic moments in European art, the artist also questions notions of canonicity and accepted narratives of art history, considering his position – and the position of African artists more generally – within it.

BARNARD was founded in 2010 by owner and director Christiaan Barnard and is home to a select group of contemporary artists. The gallery has hosted a number of significant solo exhibitions by its represented artists whose works have also been included in group shows at significant museums and institutions including amongst others IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Zeitz MOCCA, Cape Town; Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Pratt Institute, New York; Foto Museum, Antwerp; BOZAR, Brussels, Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome; Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice and The Center for Book Arts, New York.

Yossi Milo Gallery presents photographs of Kyle Meyer and Pieter Hugo

Meyer’s large scale works combine equal parts photographic portraiture and craft weaving. His photographs document men from the LGBTQ community in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), a nation where the local laws force queerness into hiding. Each man (or couple, in one instance) wears a headdress made from the brightly patterned wax fabric traditionally worn by women (selected by the sitter), upending our usual assumptions about clothing, gender, and beauty. Meyer then prints the images and then slices them up, meticulously interweaving the pictures with strips of the actual fabric from the headdress, creating hybrid works that merge image and object.

Kyle Meyer, Unidentified 85a, 2019.
© Courtesy Kyle Meyer and Yossi Milo Gallery

The success of Meyer’s works comes in the careful integration of separate conceptual frameworks, where the resulting fusion produces something more thoughtful and layered than the individual parts might have suggested on their own. Aside from the gender inversion of the headdress, the portraits are relatively straightforward, their massive scale forcing us into more intimate dialogue with the unidentified sitters. With the final portrait, Meyer presents each man’s individuality and beauty while using the fabric as a screen to protect his identity.

Established in 2000, Yossi Milo Gallery is dedicated to providing a platform for an influential community of artists working in all media, including photography, painting, sculpture, video and drawing.


1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Industria, 775 Washington St, New York, NY 10014, USA
May 3rd -5th 2019
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