Exhibition of the Week: Quitte le Pouvier: New Paintings by Aboudia, Jack Bell Gallery, London SW1
Zoe Pilger is an art critic for The Independent and winner of the 2011 Frieze International Writers Prize. Her first novel, Eat My Heart Out, will be published by Serpent's Tail in February 2014. She is also researching a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, on the subject of romantic love and sadomasochism in the work of contemporary female artists. She has appeared on BBC's The Review Show and Sky News
Friday 08 February 2013
Still only 30, the Ivory Coast artist Aboudia has been compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat, which is fair. The power of these paintings hits you as soon as you walk in the gallery.
Like Basquiat, Aboudia combines text with image, responding to political injustice with fury expressed through colour and line. Djassa (2012) shows stick figures with electrified expressions, their eyes black whirlpools of paint. One face is fitted with a gas-mask; hair stands on end in a cartoonish state of shock. His art does not depend on Western aesthetic influence, nor can be patronisingly dismissed as "folk," or worse, "primitive".
Abstraction here becomes a weapon. The thick, dark outlines of Art Nouchy (2012) are grounded in Ivoran street art, or Nouchy, which Aboudia has described as "children's style" graffiti. It is a medium through which the people of his country can "[pass] a message through me". This is a raw yet controlled brilliance.
(020 7930 8999; jackbellgallery.com) to 16 Feb
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