For his new exhibition in Abidjan, the photographer François-Xavier Gbré continues his reading of the history of the economic and urban development of the Ivory Coast, a long-term research initiated in the early 2010s. In this new opus, the coastline, the forest and the land are mixed with architecture, in the strata of the eventful history of a country that recently celebrated sixty years of independence.
As an introduction to this new chapter in the work of the Franco-Ivorian photographer, the installation Emergence, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (2013-2020) is a visual study of social and political changes through the built environment, and offers a poetic reading of the Abidjan territory. Wandering through the city, the artist takes fragments, looks at the ordinary and questions its coherence.
Nourished by displacement, the walking photographer’s investigation creates an encounter with a hybrid nature in mutation, in a palette of subtle sensory variations, made of red earth, smoke, powdered ochres, scum, corrosions, where storm clouds exhaust the concrete and the sun dries up the wood sections, in a fundamental tension between man and nature. These evolutionary phenomena are deployed in the image Strates where François-Xavier Gbré captures a layer of materials, an organism where concrete, yellow earth and green grass are mixed together. L’Éclat, a monumental and quasi-fantastic work, illustrates the strange evolution of modern building materials put to the test of the equatorial climate.