Entre Parenthèses – Group Show

Selebe Yoon, Dakar, Senegal
15 May 2024 - 27 Jul 2024

Entre Parenthèses, installation view, 2024. Courtesy of Selebe Yoon

Entre Parenthèses, installation view, 2024. Courtesy of Selebe Yoon

Selebe Yoon announces the collective exhibition Entre Parenthèses, opening on May 15, 2024 from 6 pm to 10 pm. Featuring the works of Arébénor Basséne, Alioune Diouf, Mélinda Fourn, Naomi Lulendo and Sandra Seghir, the exhibition will take place in the temporary extension of the existing gallery space.

Naomi Lulendo

In her work, Naomi Lulendo explores the way certain bodies, objects and architectures are perceived, testing their ability to place themselves in a new relationship with history and the present. In different cultural and geographical contexts, both real and imagined. Her works in the Panorama series show the artist’s interest in interior spaces, an imaginary home, and their link to one or more identities, and in these paintings, with their palpable geometric immobility, columns, clerestories, angles and windows, she evokes an architecture of places with a warm, humid climate, like Lulendo’s native Guadeloupe. Oscillating between a place lived in and a place dreamt of, the vanishing lines of the perspectives collide with a thicker texture on the surface: flower motifs that cover the canvas gradually dissipate into the background. Recurring motifs in the artist’s work, here cancelling out the separation between interior and exterior, intimate and public, they explore in these works the aesthetic and symbolic links between the body, clothing, cladding and architecture, and bring the landscape into the interior space. The artist plays with visual ambivalence, the notion of transparency and slippage, opacity and reflection, subverting background and surface in a spatial and temporal confusion.

Alioune Diouf

In a monumental work entitled Mémoire des Ancêtres, Alioune Diouf unveils an assembly of figures – like spiritual icons. Looking straight at the viewer, some in profile in the manner of Egyptian figures, others anthropomorphic with bird heads, these figures of timeless quality are endowed with sumptuous finery and ample tunics celebrating the West African style of dress. The artist’s pictorial universe is characterized by the intermingling of characters, a fantastical bestiary, cosmic motifs influenced by Serer philosophy, and suggests the silhouettes of ancient Egyptian or Ethiopian art. To embroider the fabric sewn onto the canvases, Alioune Diouf uses the Cornely, a hand-guided embroidery machine – the result is more akin to an embroidered drawing.

A work from the same series is in the La Maison des Esclaves Collection, supported by the Ford Foundation.

Sandra Seghir

Sandra Seghir, a Lebanese-Guinean painter based in Dakar, weaves multiple narratives into her work, questioning the relationship between individual and collective memory. From history to mythology, archival images to current news, she attempts to establish a pictorial language specific to her mystical vision of the world. In Sound of Pacific Revolution, Seghir explores the role of art and music in the resistance movements of West African independence. The presence in the painting of Nigerian artist Fela Kuti, a major figure in the Nigerian musical heritage recognized as the inventor of Afrobeats, pays tribute to his musical, spiritual and political universe. This figure, visible in the top right-hand corner of the work, points his finger at the crowd, like an injunction to revolt through music.

All the elements of the canvas seem to respond to an ecstatic burst of movement. In a celebration of the natural world and its elements, an immense wave envelops all the figures, while a flaming brush-like instrument emerges from a sea turtle – like a peaceful weapon. In this tangle of symbols, white statuesque figures similar to classical European sculptures face polychrome West African masks, raising the question of an aesthetic segmentation linked to the North-South relationship. In a vibrant palette, mysterious, almost ghostly presences lodge themselves within the canvas’s protagonists, like the invisibles of bygone times, and evoke for the artist the idea of orality, of movements and sounds inscribed in a genetic code. The body, a seismograph of all past sounds, becomes a place of memory. So she asks herself: what might the sounds of revolution look like in painting? How can we translate the polyrhythm of music through the polychromy of colors?

In her work Les Voix, the artist proposes a series of circular paintings stretched over sieves, like resonance boxes. The images take as their starting point a reinterpretation of the archives created by the A.O.F (Afrique Occidentale Francaise) of musical ceremonies, as well as the artist’s family album, whose maternal aunt, Jeanne Macauley, was a member of the Ballets Africain de Guinée dance troupe created in 1950, which became a cultural and revolutionary symbol following the country’s decolonization. The artist hijacks these images, infusing them with their original movement, reversing the dynamics of the bodies in a gesture of reappropriation. Like sound waves, in unique shades of black, white and gray, these capsules resemble fragments that evoke the fragility of preserving traditions in an age of modernization and digital progress.

Arébénor Basséne

Arébénor Basséne’s new Equinox series refers to the astronomical term for the moment when dawn equals dusk, day equals night. This new abstract constellation consists of pieces made on paper and mounted on canvas. In a certain spatial and temporal confusion, our gaze shifts from one unit to another, microscopic visions of earthly materials transform into macro perspectives of geographical zones, relief representations, deltas, desert dunes and river courses – a nocturnal geography takes shape. Cracks and folds in textures conjure up raw visions of material such as rock strata, geological faults, earth and sand – visions that evoke both real and imaginary landscapes. Each work, made on kraft paper mounted on canvas, contains a variety of materials: gum arabic – the raw material that made the West African coast so attractive to foreign sailors – as well as the ink used for Koranic tablets, fouden (henna), wood residues and natural pigments from the Dakar region. His monumental canvas Wild Sahelian Paradise contains just as many diverse materials, and resembles a utopian cartography.

Mélinda Fourn

Originally from Benin, Melinda Fourn grew up in France and studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. Following a university exchange to Ghana, with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, she chose to settle in West Africa, between Senegal and Ghana. From sculpture, photography and poetic writing to multimedia installations, she is interested in West African craft skills such as weaving, braiding, ceramics, jewelry and metalwork. Her work, Plaine ocre (Ochre Plain), made from a large number of consumed tea bags, machine-sewn and hand-sewn by the artist herself, is transformed into an olfactory curtain with ochre tones. Alternating between filled and emptied tea bags, the piece evokes the shapes of Ghanaian fabrics such as Kenté.

Addressing the question of heritage, the transmission of traditional know-how and issues related to the body, jewelry and ornamentation play an important role in the artist’s sculptural works. Melinda Fourn translates traditional West African jewelry such as earrings, necklaces and fans into new materials, which she stages at different scales, in order to divert, decorate and magnify them. Bringing them to life in iron also means perpetuating them in a solid material, at a time when many skills are disappearing in the face of industrialization and the massive importation of foreign products. Oscillating between homage to tradition and emancipation, she invests this floating space in which objects exist: between the material and transcendental worlds, the domestic and the public, the intimate bodily and the sacred spiritual.