Hilary Balu and Joseph Obanubi

Magnin-A Gallery, Paris, France
08 Dec 2020 - 20 Feb 2021

Hilary Balu, Installation view. Photo: Gregory Copitet

Hilary Balu, Installation view. Photo: Gregory Copitet

Magnin-A Gallery presents an exhibition by Hilary Balu and Joseph Obanubi running through 20th Februray 2021.

Hilary Balu was born in 1992 in Kinshasa, DRC. He lives and works in Kinshasa, DRC. Graduated from the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa, Hilary Balu turned his research towards his culture, his country, and largely the History of the African continent to distance himself from an academic education that he considers too formatted by the aesthetic codes of Western art. His paintings show the transformation of the African society, subject to the consequences of globalization and consumer society. Present in most of his works, the figure of Nkisi Mangaaka, ancestral divinatory sculpture, is the symbol of a collective memory neglected in favor of the new symbols of capitalism. In his latest series, Voyage vers Mars, Hilary Balu stages in a metaphoric way the tragedy of the contemporary migration, the escape of a population towards another continent, as cosmonauts leaving the Earth that has become unlivable to go to another planet, Mars. His work was part of numerous international exhibitions such as « Fiction Congo » in 2019 at the Museum Rietberg, « Congo Stars » in 2018 at the Kunsthaus Graz, or « Kinshasa Chroniques » presented in 2018 at the Musée International des Arts Modestes in Sète, that will be shown at the Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine in Paris from October 14, 2020. He took part in several artist residencies : at the Fondation Montresso in Marrakech, the Atelier Solar in Madrid, Pro Helvetia in Geneva and the University of Johannesburg.

Joseph Obanubi  was born in 1994 in Lagos, Nigeria. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. Joseph Obanubi studied graphic design at the university of Lagos and graduated in 2017. Graduating top of his class, he won his university prize and started his first artistic and advertising projects. His series “Techno Heads” shortlisted him as finalist of the Contemporary African Photography Prize in 2019. The same year he won the British Council prize for emerging artists. “I am a multimedia artist whose work explores questions of identity and fantasy within the context of technology and globalization. My work reconstructs fragments found in the everyday experiences adopting digital/immersive techniques that mixes reality and delusion. I consider my work to be a visual bricolage – a (re)construct of different subjects taken from their original context into a new one. My approach is mostly surreal and Afro-futuristic, and provides an alternative way of seeing regular things. My goal is to give new insight into the way we see things, especially the ones in unusual places that lie around us.” The body of work « How close can it get? » that we will unveil during the exhibition interrogates the limits of closeness in relation to dense urban populations. Inspired by the movements of people within the city of Lagos, Obanubi imagines both real and imagined spaces. He references currencies, numbers and analytical data, overlapping different sources and modes of technological information. Combining texts, writings and inscriptions using an embossing technique, along with drawings, digital collage and stamping, he maps the city from a nuanced perspective. Obanubi points to how people’s experiences of personal space are dictated by socio-economic conditions and wealth inequalities.