Art contemporain africain

Histoires d’une notion par celles et ceux qui l’ont faite

French edition.

A history of contemporary African art? Not at all. Rather a performative history of this notion that has been so controversial for so long! Such is the subject of this anthology conceived and introduced by Cédric Vincent, a researcher in social anthropology and a specialist in pan-African festivals.

This book articulates the reflections of founding figures (Ulli Beier, Michel Leiris, Pierre Lods, Frank McEwen), artists (Aina Onabolu, Eddie Chambers, Ben Enwonwu, Ernest Mancoba, Hassan Musa, Everlyn Nicodemus), curators (Clémentine Deliss, Okwui Enwezor, Jean-Hubert Martin, Simon Njami), and researchers (Salah M. Hassan, Sidney L. Kasfir, Kobena Mercer, Olu Oguibe).

Highlighting the recurrent debates that have arisen around the concepts of authenticity, transmission, modernity, identity, and cultural colonisation, the 27 texts gathered here cover the period from the 1920s to the Age of Independence, from the beginnings of artistic globalisation to today’s globalised context, in Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Senegal, as well as in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

How can the perimeter of contemporary African art be opened, defined, and defended? How can the succession of these panoramic exhibitions, initiated in 1989 by ‘Magiciens de la terre’ (Paris) and ‘The Other Story’ (London), which provoked curatorial debates and processes of inclusion, be analysed?

How can the endogenous creation of the countries of the African continent and that of their diasporas, as well as their mutual apprehensions be articulated?

Far from approaching contemporary African art as a stabilised category, this book proposes a polyphonic genealogy to decipher the secular development of an aesthetic notion, closely following its semantic battles, institutional confrontations, and geopolitical issues over the decades.

Giving a voice to the various protagonists who have animated one of the most controversial artistic fields, this anthology offers a heuristic journey, by successive leaps, in order to understand a notion that remains, even today, a place of ideological debate.

Introduced by Cédric Vincent, this anthology is enriched by an expology of contemporary African art and studies on the presence of Africa at the Venice Biennale and the biennales of contemporary art in Africa.

Published in the ‘Lectures maison rouge’ series.

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