Landscapes of the Body

Grand Palais, Video Room 1, Main Alley of the fair - Continuous screenings for the duration of the fair.

If you take a close look at contemporary African art you can’t fail to notice the importance of video, animated and experimental films, a boom that can undoubtedly be explained by the accessibility of new technologies and the younger generation’s mastery of such techniques. We decided to pay particular attention to this production, choosing the body as an underlying theme, seeing as it is a subject that is frequently addressed by these artists. The body provides the foundation for all this experimentation and is the point of convergence and confrontation for a wide variety of memory-based practice. It serves to determine a relationship with the world and measure the autonomy of artists confronted with social, political and cultural restrictions in complex societies where the question of personal freedoms, such as gender, sexuality and secularity, are part of the demands being expressed. Finally it is also the body that defines the artists in exile and allows them to reinvent themselves.

By seizing on the body as their subject, object or creative support, the artists tackle these issues and undertake an archaeological investigation of the here and now, whether in a more autobiographical form or an exploration of political and social issues. From each individual viewpoint, fragments of contemporary reality (both of Africa and the rest of the world) emerge, ready to be discovered as part of our personal interaction with the videos, as we discover the artists’ talented voices and their amazing, poetical and sometimes provocative artistic acts, whose force disrupts our certainties and enchants our imagination.

Marie-Ann Yemsi
Guest curator Africa Guest of Honour

Julien Creuzet
Head to head, Hidden Head, Light, 2017, video, 10’ 10‘’, courtesy of the artist
Julien Creuzet was born in 1986 in Blanc Mesnil (France). He lives and works in Montreuil (France). As is often the case in Julien Creuzet’s work, the body is both the subject and support of his thinking, which is inspired by the ideas of Edouard Glissant and memories of his Caribbean origins. In this recent video, Julien questions the breakdown in the transmission of memories as he observes that although the younger generation is open to all kinds of contemporary music, it knows nothing about the rich history of ritual music and traditional African dances. His film invites us to enter a poetic trance in which bodies undulate between rays of light and ethnographic images as if taking part in a quest, a rite of passage to find their identity.

Saïdou Dicko
Gariibu, 2008, video, 3’, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan
Saïdou Dicko was born in 1979 in Déou (Burkina Faso). He lives and works in Paris. With his camera, Saïdou Dicko follows the shadows of young beggars, revealing their games and laughter and at the same time the harsh reality of their life.

Binelde Hyrcan
Cambeck, 2013, 2’ 42’’, courtesy of the artist and KADIST Collection
Binelde Hyrcan was born in 1983 in Luanda (Angola) and lives and works between Nice and Paris. His film Cambeck, which was presented in 2015 in the Angola pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, evokes the current situation in Angola. It features four young boys on the beach, play-acting roles of power as they gaze at the ocean separating them from America.

Katia Kameli
Untitled, 2011, vidéo HD, 2’ 30’’ , courtesy of the artist and L’Agence à Paris
Katia Kameli was born in 1973 in Clermont-Ferrand. She lives and works in Paris. ‘Untitled’ was filmed in Algiers during the Arab Spring. It alludes to the situation of women in Arab countries and questions the very notion of revolution, in this case a silent revolution in which women march carrying sloganless placards.

Jackie Karuti
There Are Worlds Out There They Never Told You About, 2016, animated film, 1’ 05’’, courtesy of the artist and Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi
Jackie Karuti was born in 1987 in Nairobi (Kenya), where she lives and works today. In this short and poetical animated film, Jackie Karuti invites us on a journey towards imaginary worlds amongst the stars and oceans that echo the myth of an undersea civilisation descended from slaves thrown overboard during the crossing from Africa to America.

I Can’t Wait To See You – Johannesburg, video, 2014, 2’ 47’’, courtesy of the artist and Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi Through this series of video performances filmed in different towns, Jackie Karuti raises the issue of private spaces of autonomy in urban environments whose rigid and restrictive structures still bow down under the weight of tradition. Helmets - usually seen as being for protective purposes - are used here to symbolise silence and isolation.

Lebohang Kganye
Ke Sale Teng, 2017, animated film, 3’22’’, courtesy of the artist and AFRONOVA GALLERY, Johannesburg Lebohang Kganye was born in 1990 in Katlehong (South Africa). She lives and works in Johannesburg.
Lebohang Kganye delves into her family’s photographic archives to create narratives where past and present, reality and fiction intertwine and, in so doing, she reconnects the threads of complex individual stories and collective memories and tries to deconstruct certain stereotypical and exotic images of Africa.

Wanja Kimani
Utopia, 2012, video, 3’ 50’’, courtesy of the artist Wanja Kimani was born in 1986 in Nairobi (Kenya) and today lives and works in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).
Wanja Kimani’s work evolves around migration, from both a real and imaginary point of view. Her approach is illustrated in this ironic video, Utopia, in which she films herself in an imaginary interview between a government official of the fictional state of Utopia and a future citizen.

Ato Malinda
"the moment that you act as a performer, you act also as the audience of the person in front of you” (2016), video, 6’46”, courtesy of the artist and Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi. Ato Malinda was born in 1981 in Nairobi (Kenya). She lives and works in Rotterdam (Holland).
In this piece whose title is taken from an essay written by Yota Ioannidou, Ato Malinda films students who she asks to mime everyday actions. In this way, the artist subtly highlights what is at work in the ‘play’ of social relationships in which each action is like a performance.

Mohau Modisakeng
To Move Mountains, 2016, video HD, 10’ 02’’, courtesy of the artist and WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Cape Town / Johannesburg
Born in 1986 in Soweto (South Africa), Mohau Modisakeng lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Using his body to create powerfully visual works, Mohau Modisakeng delves into his memories to probe the effects of actual, physical violence and symbolic violence on the black body, as well as and the impact of South Africa’s history on the collective unconscious in today’s postcolonial and post-apartheid society.

Rina Ralay Ranaivo
Video: MD370, 2015, video, 5’11’’, courtesy of the artist Rina Ralay Ranaivo was born in 1984 in Madagascar, where he lives and works today.
Rina Ralay Ranaivo mixes archive images and contemporary views of his hometown Antananarivo (Madagascar). In this silent film, whose tempo is driven by a series of corporal and natural movements such as clouds scudding across the sky or gusts of wind, the artist communicates the hopes and uncertainties of a young generation who are responsible for an individual and collective process of reconstruction.

Moussa Sarr
J’accuse, 2011, video, 1’, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Isabelle Gounod, Paris
Moussa Sarr was born in 1984 in Corsica. He lives and works in Paris. Video performance artist Moussa Sarr asserts his multiple roots (Corsican, French and Senegalese) and films himself in caustic videos using derision to tackle sensitive questions on stereotypes, as well as racial, social and sexual prejudice. Amongst his favourite subjects are the struggles for power between individuals and the eternal fight between the weak and the strong.

With the support of :


Inhabiting the Border

A day of encounters and talks, will take place on March 31st 2017 from 10 am to 6:30 pm at La Colonie
128 Rue La Fayette, 75010 Paris
Free Admission. Simultaneous English - French / French - English translation will be available.

This day of encounters and talks entitled 'Inhabiting the Border' is part of the fair's spotlight on Africa Guest of Honour. Open to one and all, ‘Inhabiting the Border’, is based on an idea by Marie-Ann Yemsi. It aims to foster meetings and exchanges with the key players and cultural producers who are committed to promoting contemporary artists from the African continent and the diaspora. Comprising 4 round tables, it brings together artists, exhibition curators, institutional representatives, collectors and thinkers, all of whom are working in various ways to reflect upon, construct and elaborate different outlooks and new perspectives on the contemporary artistic production of the African continent. Organised by Art Paris Art Fair with the support of the Institut Français, this conference day is hosted by La Colonie, an independent space for free thinkers that was founded by artist Kader Attia.


10am - 11:30am: Contemporary African art… to what end?
The visibility and recognition of contemporary African artists is on the rise, with the artists themselves taking an active role, as well as being the witnesses of this evolution. Their wish is that this affiliation with the African continent, which is often a complex one, no longer just comes down to an ‘original’ and simplistic identity, one that is instrumentalized to boot. What is the place of these artists in the art world today and in the future?
Moderator : Simon Njami, Philosopher, Writer, Exhibitions Curator
Joël Andrianomearisoa, Artist
Emo de Medeiros, Artist
Katia Kameli, Artist
Myriam Mihindou, Artist
Emeka Okereke, Artist, Writer, Founder and Artistic Director of Invisible Borders - The trans-African Project

11:45 am – 1:15pm: Is collecting contemporary African artists an uphill struggle?
Collectors and institutions are becoming more and more interested in artists from the African continent, but this interest raises numerous questions, both here and in Africa. To what does this recent infatuation bear witness? What are the main obstacles to expanding the presence of contemporary African artists in museum collections in the West? How can the visibility of contemporary African artists be increased given the lack of modern and/or contemporary art museums in many African countries? Etc. This debate will provide an insight into the question, illustrated by the viewpoints of collectors and institutions that are active in the field.
Moderator : Nicolas Michel, Jeune Afrique Culture Journalist and novelist
Marie-Cécile Zinsou, Director General of the Zinsou Foundation in Cotounou and the Museum of Contemporary African Art in Ouidah, Benin
Mercedes Villardell, Art Collector and Founder of the African Acquisitions Committee (AAC) pour la Tate
Alicia Knock, Curator, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Christine Barthe, Head of the photography department, Musée du Quai Branly- Jacques Chirac

3pm-4:30pm: Is the concept of a ‘shared’ experience utopian or representative of the future of cultural production?
Initiatives by curators and critics in Africa, amongst the diaspora and in Europe, give pride of place to collaborative processes and the sharing of knowledge, thereby testifying to the mobility of individuals, identities and cultures. This debate combines testimonials and discussions between cultural producers, who are reflecting upon and putting into practice other forms of exchange and knowledge sharing and contributing by their actions to the emergence of new talents (artists, curators), as well as a renewed critical production focussing on contemporary art in Africa and from the diaspora.
Moderators : Kantuta Quiròs, and Aliocha Imhoff, Art theoricians and exhibition curators, founders of the curatorial platform "Le peuple qui manque", which works at the intersection of art and research
Eva Barois De Caevel, Independent Curator and Curator at RAW MATERIAL COMPANY, Dakar
Pascale Obolo, Video artist, Filmmaker and Producer, Founder of AFRIKAADA and the African Art Book Fair
Sophie Potelon, Production and mediation manager, Fondation Kadist Paris
Toma Muteba Luntumbue, Artistic Director and Curator of the 5th Lubumbashi Biennale to be held in October 2017 (RDC)

4:45pm - 6:15pm: Inhabiting the border: what are the ‘geo-aesthetic’ perspectives?
How can one endeavour to change the focus of ideas and imagination in order to find another way of inhabiting borders? According to Edouard Glissant, one of the functions of writing is to ensure that there is a coming together of those places where the world is envisaged. Guest authors, thinkers and culture professionals explore crucial aesthetic and ethical domains and, in so doing, find themselves at the heart of current debate on the meaning of art and culture and their potential in terms of changing imagination and knowledge. What is the current state of play? What remains to be done and what challenges await in the near future?
Moderator : Dominique Malaquais, Art historian and Political scientist, Researcher at the Center for African World Studies (IMAF / CNRS)
Nadia Yala Kisukidi,Philosopher, Conference Lecturer and Programme Director at the International College of Philosophy
Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Filmmaker, Author and Film Producer
Souleymane Diamanka, lyricist, poet
Emeka Okereke, Artist, Writer, Founder and Artistic Director of Invisible Borders - The Trans-African Project

With the support of :