“Human Diffraction” exhibition dedicated to the artist Serigne Ibrahima Dieye » Economic and Political Bulletin of PACA

From January 22 to April 23, 2023, Le Suquet des Artistes de Cannes presents the exhibition “Human Diffraction” dedicated to the artist Serigne Ibrahima Dieye.

From January 22 to April 23, 2023, the Suquet des Artistes de Cannes presents an exhibition dedicated to Serigne Ibrahima Dieye, an artist from the generation of young artists of the Dakar National School of Art. The characters in his paintings and installations are visual allegories of the evils that tear apart modern societies: its myths and curses of success; its violence and creative vitality; its famous stories and forgotten territories. He observes his environment and is interested in the chaos that surrounds him. Thus, mysterious signs and hybrid animals that respond to urban everyday life like fairy tales emerge from his works. Through a powerful plastic gesture, the artist intends to denounce this systemic violence, while at the same time trying to make everyone think about their share of responsibility and the role they can choose – or not – in this world.

Serigne Ibrahima Dieye, Transmitter of Myths

Hannah Baudet

“An invincible fire-breathing chimera, Tall, terrible, nimble-footed, terrible, Three-headed, one a lion with shining eyes, the other a goat, the other a giant snake. » Hesiod, Theogony.

The figures that fill Sergine Ibrahima Dieye’s works, neither fully human nor fully animal, challenge us. Although at first glance they seem to be part of humanity, some details exclude them. Here a piercing beak acts as a mouth, there sharp claws extend from the arms, here again colorful feathers adorn the bodies. These creatures seem to belong to a wonderful mix of legends, fairy tales and eternal myths. In fact, the creatures that evolve on the artist’s canvases can be related to the Greek sirens who bewitch too unwary sailors, the adlets that terrorize the Inuit in the Far North, or even the chupacabras that cut the throats of South American herds. From birds to reptiles, through mammals or fish, all categories of the animal kingdom participate in these gatherings. Combinations are many, different and always disturbing.

Therefore, the formal differences are many, but these incredible monsters share one thing: if they challenge us, they do not bother us, because they exist in all civilizations, in all cultures and in myths spread on all continents. . Hybrid characters, it seems, are supposed to bridge the gap between the human world and the world of the gods. In the theogony presented by Serigne Ibrahima Dieye, we find women with bird feet or abundant fur, as well as men with shiny feathers, sharp beaks and sharp teeth. The diverse and colorful gallery of characters imagined by the artist creates a new mythology that takes its place in the terrible history that preceded it.

The mysterious beings imagined by the artist challenge the rules of our everyday reality and bring with them numerous questions. Where do they come from? Do they come from a parallel space and time inaccessible to humans? What do they know about the past and the future? Are they on Earth to highlight the boundaries of human beings, vengeful beings who come to condemn and punish the wrongs of our societies?

If we carefully observe the protagonists of Serigne Ibrahima Dieye’s works, we can discover some keys that shed light on their intentions. Because if mythical figures can be benevolent even as burlesque, it is far from being the work of those brought to life under the hand of an artist.

They are closer to the destructive monsters that carry distrust and fear behind them, without solemnity, joy and excess. The artist gives them an aura of power and fear, like modern harpies or sphinxes. This is partly due to the way they are represented, being majestic, still and erect, or standing still in mid-motion. This hand on the knee on the Prédateur canvas, this raised arm of the person on the right in Rancœur #2, or these claws closing over the head in De l’incompétenceMEDIA, moments of tension abound. The size of the characters, emphasized by the format of the works, amplifies the sense of anguish they exude. Presented in the swirling and dark space of the Suquet des artistes, the canvases, rarely less than 2 meters long, give these striking figures plenty of time to dominate those who contemplate them. The polymorphic creatures live for a time in the building of Cannes’ former mortuary and contribute to the impenetrable atmosphere of the area.

Serigne Ibrahima Dieye’s anxiety about the power emanating from the protagonists of his paintings is heightened by the proliferation of techniques he uses. Drawing, pen, ink or collage, as if driven by the need to move quickly, the artist seizes whatever tools he can to create his eclectic pantheon.

The latter takes place in a vague and dark setting that reinforces the supernatural nature of the creatures. Indeed, the black background common to all canvases makes the figures stand out, giving them an extra glow, as if they were lifted from the canvas. This dark space is not uniform, but criss-crossed with intertwining white threads, strange balls that pass through space and reveal many elements of darkness. A word sometimes emphasizes the absurdity or cruelty of the situation being described. In some works we can see small anthropomorphs or faces. The simple, feeble observers in Rancœur #2 try to escape the vigilance of the guardian figures in its counterpart, Rancœur #1.

But is it possible to escape? It seems impossible to escape the closed space of the Internet. However, no animal is immortal, and many legends celebrate the exploits of heroes who defeat the monsters they dare to face. Like Bellerophon defeating the Chimera, Perse defeating Medusa, or Beowulf crushing Grendel, the creatures that populate the canvases of Serigne Ibrahim call out to those who will defeat them.

Especially since the anxiety they cause is actually a warning we should heed. When we think about the works, the feeling that comes over us goes beyond the discomfort caused by the formal strangeness of the characters, and comes from the latent violence that emerges from the canvases and resonates with the contemporary world. Indeed, if the fantastic figures seem to come from an imaginary realm, the myths created by the artist find their sources in the evils of modern societies. Serigne Ibrahima Dieye, a young artist studying at the National School of Art in Dakar, participates in the creative momentum of a city in artistic upheaval. As a keen observer, he points out the shortcomings and disagreements of the society in which he develops. His works expose the brutality of the modern world with a poetic veil. Corrupt media, sexual violence, religious tension, and her status as an artist allow her to be the voice of those who are neither heard nor listened to. But if the artist holds the mirror of the society he lives in, the problems he condemns become global, touching both personal and general topics, thus touching universality. The origins of Serigne Ibrahima Dieye’s creatures are therefore multiple, but they all come from human structures.

Can humanity defeat the monsters it spawned? The artist does not want defeatism or judgement, and there is always hope at the heart of his paintings. Indeed, illuminating the ills and tensions of our societies allows us to confront them. Thus, Serigne Ibrahima Dieye wears the prophetic habit, warning us against the monsters of our own creation and enabling us to educate ourselves to better fight them.

Serigne Ibrahima Dieye

Human diffraction

Exhibition from January 22 to April 23, 2023

Artists Suketi – Cannes

About Suquet des Artistes

Suquet des Artistes, a new place of creative expression set in the unusual building of the city’s old mortuary, was renovated and opened in 2016 at the initiative of Cannes Mayor David Lisnard to promote the creation of contemporary plastic. Historically and strategically located in the old center of Cannes, this unique place has a complex topography inherited from its past that challenges every new exhibition. In addition to the exhibition space – just over 350 m2 – there are four studios reserved for artists from Cannes. The management of the Suquet des Artistes was entrusted to the Pole d’Art Contemporain de Cannes in 2018, with the desire to dedicate this space in the bowels of the earth to young and uninhibited creation, Berlin’s underground Berlin flavor. Mediterrian sea.

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