Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel

El Hadji SyDisso - Concertation
10.06. - 17.09.2017
documenta 14 Kassel

El Hadji Sy, *1954 in Dakar, Senegal,
lives and works in Dakar, Senegal

Photo © Nils Klinger

Text: Clémentine Deliss

4 available works

Recall to the early 1990s and a meeting with El Hadji Sy in his studio in Dakar: I remember having difficulty photographing his paintings in isolation. Sy engineers my vision so that every shot contains a surplus drawing or additional artwork positioned explicitly over the larger painting I have in focus. Then there is his person: the human figure moving around and breaching the spatial axis of the different stationary elements, producing blind spots that flicker incongruent signals that commute between art histories.

As a painter, curator, and activist, born in 1954 in Dakar and committed to staying in Senegal, Sy’s position bears no trace of an isolationist genealogy. His first solo show abroad was in Chicago, in 1981, at the unconventional space run by Paul Waggoner. At the time, Sy’s work confronted the normative genre of painting heralded by the Senghorian cultural regime of the 1970s. For ten years, he persisted in using his feet to paint, while simultaneously setting up artists’ collectives (Laboratoire Agit’Art, Tenq, and Huit Facettes Interaction) and squatting buildings constructed by foreign powers, both French colonial and Chinese communist.

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Exhibition Views

Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ El Hadji Sy – documenta 14 Kassel