thierry oussou soil
10 September 2017 - 8 October 2017
The “to remind you” project starts in Bradwolff Projects on 10 September. The project consists of three consecutive solo exhibitions by the artists Thierry Oussou (Allada, Benin), Aliansyah Caniago (Tangerang, Indonesia) and Sefer Memisoglu (Istanbul, Turkey). The presentations are being carried out in collaboration with curators Ashley Swagers, Christine van den Bergh and Sanneke Huisman, in the period from September to mid-December 2017. These presentations and the accompanying peripheral program contribute to the development of a nuanced, global and post-colonial vision, which zooms in on both the Dutch colonial past and the Dutch multicultural present.
For his solo exhibition at Bradwolff Projects, Thierry Oussou has developed a site-specific installation entitled Soil. Soil refers to the equal, universal and layered basis from which man comes and will return: the earth. At the same time, the earth has also become Oussou’s field of work, now that, after his two-year residency at the Rijksakademie, he no longer has a permanent home base but allows his work to take him to different places of the world. From this personal and at the same time global perspective, the artist works as a social archaeologist. In his “archaeological practices”, he uses objects, materials, human actions and age-old spoken Benin stories to find meaningful layers and reveals the applicable social, historical, political and (post) colonial power relationships in stories and images.
Oussou works with everyday materials such as earth, canvas, clay, wood and in particular paper. By using these apparently banal materials in a context, they become part of a work of art, with which he refers among other things to the contemporary issue of the presentation of ethnographic objects of use in Western post-colonial museums. By understanding and deconstructing cultivated views in a playful way, he lets people question elements from the daily routine of life and wants to emphasize that everything in the world is layered.
Visual artist Thierry Oussou (Benin, 1988) is self-taught. In 2014, Oussou moved from Allada / BJ to Amsterdam for a two-year artist in residency at the Rijksakademie of visual arts. He has exhibited at Juliette Jongma (NL), Cargo in Context (NL), Holbaek Museum (DK), No Man’s Art Gallery (NL) and the Dak’art Biennale (SN). In 2016, Oussou was nominated for the Royal Award for Painting.
Ashley Swagers (the Netherlands, 1988) graduated as an art historian. With her own culturally diverse background and deep-rooted interest in the colonial past and post-colonial present, she delves into the way in which artists reflect on this theme. As Oussou’s work also emphasizes, she believes that the different layers of the postcolonial story can be read in elements from the present. “Oussou’s work is visually very powerful and contextually tells a different layer of the story.”