Ouattara Watts, « Before Looking at this Work, Listen to It »
Ouattara Watts (born in 1957 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) lives and works in New York, USA.
From the late 1980s onwards, his abstract pictorial practice in large formats, first spotted by Jean-Michel Basquiat, was exhibited in Europe at the Documenta in Kassel and the Venice Biennale, and overseas at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, MoMA PS1, the New Museum in New York, as well as at the Whitney Biennial.
With strong colours, dynamic forms and hypnotic ideograms, Ouattara Watts’ multi-media painting explores fantasized human and spiritual connections, and transcends geographies and nationalities in order to move towards the universal.
“My vision is not related to a country or a continent; it transcends borders and everything that can be seen on a map. While I use identifiable elements to be better understood, this is a project that goes far beyond that. It’s the cosmos I paint.”
By merging images and found objects, photographic photographs or raw materials, Ouattara Watts sublimates the concept of multiculturalism and gives us different levels of understanding of the world, socially and historically. Imbued with lyricism and wit, his art combines dream worlds and magical visions linked to our ancestors in order to show the metaphysical relationships that exist between beings.
The Cécile Fakhoury Gallery represents the artist in Africa.
Solo and group exhibitions and collections (selection):
– “Africa, artists of yesterday and today” Fondation Clément, Le François (Martinique), 2018
– “The Juices of Times” (with Jems Robert Koko Bi) Pavilion of Côte d’Ivoire, 57th Biennale of Venice (Italy), 2017
– “Ouattara Watts: The Project Room “ FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française), New York (United States), 2012
Ouattara Watts, “Before Looking at this Work, Listen to It”