Vincent Michéa’s first exhibition in Ivory Coast presents an overview of the work and series realized by the artist at different moments of his career. It introduces either kissing scenes taken from famous movies or vinyl’s sleeves of African popular music, but also views of Dakar scenery since the artist has been living in the city for nearly thirty years. Throughout this exhibition we can also discover his latest photomontage works.
Paintings, silkscreen prints, posters? Vincent Michéa’s artworks are quite confusing, and they carry us away. He left his first work as a graphic designer to be a painter, and he has been building a world that allows us to see the large range of his interests: he depicts what he likes.
His story as an artist can be read in the variety of his subjects, into those large collections. He makes a selection in everything that he could perceptibly reproduced, everything that he can possibly translate into painting; but –troubling- he also selects what can be handmade reproduced in a systematic way, a technique which directly comes from his graphic designer skills.
To see those ‘prints’ gathered into the same exhibition space is like attending a visual show that first appears in the retina and settles into the emotional memory. Icons are all over the place, and so are dots and lines, there are no doubts. Michéa seriously plays with views and references, he communicates with us using the language of colors, the language of his standards, of cinema, of the popular music of a “belle époque”, from here but mostly from elsewhere: from another space-time, a nostalgia, a futuristic vision, humanistic.
His graphic language, poetic and marked by a popular universe, is leading us along with the rhythm of music. We then sink into his intimacy, because we’re practically in his home, staring at his vinyl collection, sitting on a couch enjoying a movie, we’re into his studio, contemplating the view by the half-opened window. How could we describe his style? Simple, efficient, reachable, readable, easy, pleasant, teasing sometimes, never annoying, he copies and widens vinyl’s sleeves, he isolates a scene, some famous kissing scenes, intimacy, love, brought on a large screen.
The perfection of his reproductions approaches hyperrealism, and the obviousness of his frank choices, invites us to dance with the characters he depicts, stars or anonymous, coming from a place far away, from the past, but with whom we are surprisingly very familiar. Those musical figures who lead the fiery of African independences, whispering or shouting on soundtracks, have left a deep mark on entire generations. Vincent Michéa is re-establishing them, he pays tribute to them, and he sends them a pictorial wink.
Gladly sliding into his Technicolor world, we are summoned by images that bell at the rhythm of dots, letterings, faces, plans and views of a magnified city. Everything lives and thrills, simply. Michéa blows us away with accuracy into his sensible interpretation of the world.
Vincent Michéa was born in 1963, in Figeac, France, lives and works in Paris and Dakar. Graduated from the Superior School of Graphic Arts (Penninghen) of Paris. He left for Dakar (Sénégal) in 1986, where he first exhibited his paintings and photographs in the National Gallery of Sénégal. He worked from 1987 to 1991 as an assistant for the famous graphic designer Roman Cieslewicz, who encouraged him to develop his painting works. Vincent Miché is the co-founder of the label 100% DAKAR and has been collaborating to the studio DKR in the 90’s. In 2007 and 2008, he lead photomontage worshops at the Kinshasa Fine Art Academy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 2008, with the painter Moulay Youssef Elkafai, Vincent Michéa is taking care of the silkscreen departement of the Marrakech Superior School of Visual Arts. Several galleries in Europe and in Africa now represent him, and his work has been exhibited in various group and solo shows.