Galerie Cécile Fakhoury presents the group exhibition Can You Feel The Space that Space Occupies with artists Binta Diaw, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien and Roméo Mivekannin.
Built around a three-way dialogue, the exhibition unfolds as a sensory experience in which the perimeters of being -physical, social, spiritual- are made porous by contact with one another. Imagine a great whole, and within it, every part of that whole is a whole in itself. It (the whole, the great one) constantly transmutes under the respective evolutions of the parts it generates, constantly oscillating between impermanence and fixity. The artistic enterprise thus unfolds as follows: to map existence as an experience both infinite in time and space; and at the same time deeply attached to the notion of home, understood both as a physical space; and – even more importantly- as a non-material place of being and belonging.
Binta Diaw, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien and Roméo Mivekannin all tackle the ontological dimension of being through their efforts to give it a place that is intelligible to our contemporary consciences, our spirits that are perhaps a little too obsessed with the tangible and unaccustomed to seeing beyond the material.
Whether it’s putting the soul into form while underlining the limits of that form (Binta Diaw), depositing the transcendental of the spirit in the concreteness of the object and allowing immanence to be imagined (Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien), or abstracting the implacable workings of contemporary social pragmatism (Roméo Mivekannin), the responses offered by these three artists are manifold, and perhaps above all, call for an instinctive, emotional reading rather than the mobilization of factual knowledge: the exhibition, like the mantra from which it takes its title, is a meditation to be experienced.
Binta Diaw‘s photographs and videos reveal the body as the site of life’s struggles, the trials endured, the moments of happiness. These Paysages corporels highlight the body as a field of resistance, power and action. In them, Binta Diaw captures fragments of her own anatomy, using light and shadow to reimagine the imprints that metamorphose the contours of her being into a land criss-crossed by paths and punctuated by plateaus. In the basement, the video Essere Corpo is the fruit of the artist’s introspective approach, exploring the continuity between feminine cycles, nature and art.
In her works and installations, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien fuses textile art, sculpture and drawing, using a combination of industrial materials (such as copper, brass and aluminum) and natural materials (such as shells, raffia fibers, tree sap and rope). Drawing inspiration from the cultural traditions of the matriarchal Akan societies of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as from her own Creole culture, the artist combines elements from these different worlds, whose symbols she explores, questioning the spaces and expressions of femininity, as much as the relationship to craft traditions within an industrialized society. In this way, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien creates landscapes that she calls Maps [Cartes], in dialogue with the practices of cartography, as well as clothing, as she calls it, and everyday objects.
At the crossroads of secular tradition and the contemporary world, Romeo Mivekannin also brings into dialogue multiple references that are enriched by their cohabitation within his abstract works: the contributions of the Support/Surface movement, which in the 1960s in Europe challenged traditional pictorial means; the fascinating occurrences of cave painting and its hues linked to nature and the environment in which it emerges; the voodoo tradition and its herbal elixirs which prepare the canvases here; or Russian abstraction. These references, offered to us without hierarchy by the artist, create new motifs for contemplation, inviting us to explore the works in the manner of universally resonant mandalas.