Vincent Michéa in Variety07/12/2019 - 01/02/2020
Magnin-A gallery announces a solo exhibition of the artist Vincent Michéa – Variété – in its Parisian space until February 1st, 2019.
Vincent Michéa is a lover of music and vinyl, especially the visual and graphic aspect of the album covers he reproduces. “I consider myself to be a ‘variété singer’, someone who knows how to sing everything from rock to funk, from folk to popular song“ says Michéa. Michéa’s choice of everyday subjects, his flat, brightly-coloured tones and his stylised treatment of scenes bring him close to Pop Art. Michéa co-founded the label 100% Dakar and worked in the DKR studio in the 90s.
“Some wonderful Senegalese or Congolese orchestras have this desire to know how to do everything, this willingness to play all the repertoires in the best possible way and I love that! That’s what I’m looking for in my work, something that’s easy to get hold of, something popular. I’m a variety painter who adapts his subject to his technique. I use very graphic codes, very visible in my collages, my painting and my marouflages of sheets of paper. I adapt my subject to my medium,” States the artist.
Vincent Michéa, who does not wish to associate his art with any political discourse, paints for those who are watching. His works are meant to awaken the senses and to “please” as he emphasizes. “I put things back into images that people are so used to seeing that they don’t see them any more,” he says, “Like album covers. It’s like Pop Art, where you revisit popular objects and give them to look at again by highlighting their graphic qualities or colours. In my street scenes, market scenes, the colours are cut, there is a stylisation of form and colour.”
After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques in Paris, Vincent Michéa left in 1986 to work as a graphic designer in Dakar, at the time of Afro-pop cinema and the precursors of African rap. His training as a graphic designer inked in him the importance of form to the point that it became the heart of his research. “You learn drawing by starting with the nude to have a notion of composition, more than mastery or anatomy. I trained as a graphic designer and in typography the white of the letter is as important as the printed black, it’s the form and the counter-form. The eye circulates and it has to be comfortable to read or look at. Mastering typography helps me to compose my paintings. Painting must be pleasant to read,” insists the painter. His work conveys a nostalgic and glamorous images of Dakar, with its modernist architecture, the abundance of its past music scene, its flowers that cover everything and its local life.
In 1987 Vincent Michéa exhibited his work for the first time at the Galerie Nationale du Sénégal. Between 1988 and 1991, he returns to Paris and works with Roman Cieslewicz, a major Polish artist of the graphic scene. Encouraged by this renowned graphic designer, he reinforces his interest in printed things and printing techniques. In 2007 he runs photomontage workshops at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa and from the following year he takes charge of the silkscreen workshop at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels in Marrakech. Vincent lives and works between Paris and Dakar.