What is our relationship to the invisible and how to make it visible? For his exhibition entitled “Boson Man” at the Orbis Pictus gallery in Paris, the Ivorian artist Ernest Dükü wants “questioning questions related to the spiritual reality of living beings as one of the ways of exploiting the question of the link between art and science”. The human being elementary particle, the human being resulting from the initial chaos.
Born in Bouaké (center) in 1958 and coming from the Akan community, where we find the expression boson which suggests the universe in the field of the invisible and the energy of the ancestors, the visual artist wishes to evoke through his works the world of spirits, tutelary geniuses, the supernatural… while echoing the elementary particle – the Higgs boson of quantum mechanics.
Inspired by the Akan universe
For the artist, “It’s about getting us humans to question the complex reality of things. This exhibition allows me to put in parallel, even in confrontation, a world that could be described as “magico-religious” facing the universe of quantum physics to allow several readings”.
A graduate of Fine Arts in Abidjan and the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, Ernest Dükü also studied aesthetics and art sciences at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and obtained a diploma in architect DPLG. His art takes its inspiration from the Akan universe, a population very present in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. “The source of my reflections is located in the different memorial sites of this culture, which is both that of speech – “Kassa Bya Kassa”, which means that in every word there is truth – and that of writing and symbols through the use of ideograms in artefacts”specifies the plastic surgeon.
Opened in 2019, the Orbis Pictus gallery – “the world in images”, in Latin – “promotes the dialogue between artists and artistic expressions in the form of crossed views since its first exhibition. This name comes from the title of the work of the Czech philosopher Comenius (1592-1670), Orbis sensualium pictus, whose front-page motto, “Let everything pass freely; let violence be far from things”, greatly inspired the founders of the gallery”underlines Sitor Senghor, its director.
For the latter, the main qualities of Ernest Dükü’s work are writing in all its forms, a restitution of African history presented in all his drawings through symbols of the continent that other cultures can relate to. appropriate. And a way to respond to all those who claim that Africa has no written history:
“This writing is transmitted to us by the beauty of the drawings. At first glance, we are fascinated by the richness of colors and materials. Then follows the multitude of cultural references that elevate us and eventually allow us to add our own interpretation of the works. »
Codes and messages to decipher
Ernest Dükü tells in ink, acrylic and sometimes with the help of collages the customary history of a symbolic Africa, working in Abidjan and Paris, in a desire for ecumenism. The call of the continent and openness to the world are omnipresent. From plastic and aesthetic research to codes and messages to be deciphered, his creations open up new paths on the complexity of the world, which take root for those who take the time to scrutinize them. An expression where each of us is led to question the unsaid that clutter our memories.
“Many reject the thought of spirits because they are invisible to our rationality alone. Protons, electrons, cells and other energies invisible to our human eyes are now embedded in our modern realities. I draw so that you wonder about the reality of the visible and the invisible. Can’t metaphysics be accepted as an intrinsic dimension of our human consciousness? »asks the artist.
Ernest Dükü likes to say that the forms of expression of the artists’ works challenge him less than the articulation of the questions raised by their practices beyond trends, currents, even schools. If Jean-Michel Basquiat touches it, it’s Basquiat voodoo (the painter’s father was born in Haiti), “the eye and ear of the diaspora, where he thinks he has a genetic memory in his relationship with the African continent”. Without forgetting The Ladies of Avignon, of Pablo Picasso, who question him.
On the literary side, the native of Bouaké cites the works of the Senegalese historian, anthropologist and politician Cheikh Anta Diop for his relationship to history in order to approach the universality of the world. And Edgard Morin for global thinking and his approach to understanding the world’s problems through complex thinking. On the music side, the painter evokes the politically committed Gabonese singer and poet Pierre-Claver Akendengue, as well as Abdullah Ibrahim, also known by the pseudonym of “Dollar Brand”, jazz pianist and South African composer.
“Boson Man”, by Ernest Dükü, at the Orbis Pictus gallery,
7, rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris. Until May 13, 2023.