Enfance perdue is an exhibition that brings together a cycle of sculptural and pictorial works by the Ivorian artist, in line with the poetics that has made him famous, created using "classical" techniques and materials, handed down from generation to generation since the Renaissance in Italy, but with an iconography that is the result of an accurate analysis of African identity and cultural roots in general and Ivorian in particular. Childlike faces, psychological portraits and masks of a sorrowful but never tamed humanity, made of different stones, often marked by forms of identification (scarifications), with closed eyes, suspended in a dimension between dream, reflection and hope, oscillating between the memory of an ancestral past, not always positive, and the hope of a future that reserves spaces and times of equality and respect, set in a suspended and indefinite temporality, which makes them take on a universal value, because they are drawn from collective memory.
A lost childhood, often idealised even if tattooed in the spirit in all its complexity, linked to what Cheik Amidou Kane calls "The ambiguous adventure", marked by a dual nature (colonial and African), a nomadic childhood in spite of itself, called to a continuous journey (physical and mental) now asked to face the traumas of the "coming of age", to finally tell their story through their own eyes and not that of Westerners, freeing themselves from that pauperistic and catastrophic dimension of the Afro-Calypse that connotes the media strategy on the African continent. Paintings that demonstrate an ability to harmoniously fuse the figurative and abstract instances, giving life to a rich symbolic universe and forms that articulate a register that is only apparently playful.
A hybrid language that at the same time demonstrates an in-depth study and exercise in the African pictorial tradition.
Lis10 Gallery continues its path of research and promotion of the rich contemporary African art scene by proposing an artist who has demonstrated the ability to move nimbly between colonial heritage and historical identity, between a cosmopolitan culture and a universe of African rites and myths, and to untangle different techniques and materials with a natural post-media attitude, synthesising in a harmonious formula personal experience (sometimes traumatic) and existential reflection, history and news.
Fresh from a cycle of important exhibitions in New York, Côte d'Ivoire, Italy, Russia and Nigeria, Brice Esso, in anticipation of a cycle of international exhibitions to be held in Paris in 2024, is also proposing a new cycle of works that investigate both the biographical dimension and the zeitgeist, raising both instances to the level of a reflection of a historical and extremely topical nature.