Because hasn’t featured Jack Bell Gallery for what will be two years in May, which is a small oversight though we do try to make a habit of showcasing as diverse as possible a collection of cultural happenings in the city. Over the weekend, an email from Jack Bell, director of the eponymous gallery, popped into my inbox with the subject header ‘Instal. shots’ and a message saying that he thought I might like to see photographs taken of the new show on display, before its opening to the public. Bell couldn’t have known it, but that was a massive understatement.
Opening next Tuesday is Quitte Le Pouvoir: New Paintings by Aboudia. The 30-year old Ivorian is noted for his works of great immediacy and great power. These are paintings as epically-inclined as Picasso’s Guernica – and no less explosive, revolting or claustrophobic. When Laurent Gbago, former tyrant President of the Ivory Coast, was under the final throes of civil unrest in April 2011, Aboudia took refuge in his underground workshop in Abidjan. The visceral power of armed combat between the military, rebels and the UN on the streets of the Ivory Coast capital made its way onto Aboudia’s canvas.
Largely, the works on display here were made in the aftermath of Aboudia’s self-imposed exile and show a very tense situation of what we consider ‘normal life’. There is a very fine balance between the routine and its disruption. These graffiti-esque landscapes fall between the politically- and racially charged work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the evil as depicted by Leon Golub. There are very few artists working today who can accurately capture the moments of madness, chaos and its respite that define the modern world.
Quitte Le Pouvoir: New Paintings by Aboudia is at Jack Bell Gallery between 22 January – 16 Feburary.