Opening – Système D, Friday, 3. November 2017, 6 – 9pm

Participating Artist
Flurina Rothenberger & Aristide Kouamé & Axel Sinzé Bamouin & Obou Gbais
November 03 - November 03 2017
November 03 2017

Die Ausstellung „Système D“ mit Flurina Rothenberger, Aristite Kouamé, Axel Sinzé Bamouin und Obou Gbais zeigt auf, dass in vielen Ländern Afrikas, besonders in Westafrika nach einem gewissen „System D“ gewirtschaftet wird. Das D steht für Débrouille (frz. se débrouiller) „sich durchschlagen“ oder „improvisieren“. Ein Begriff, der nur schwer zu übersetzen ist, gleichzeitig aber für vieles in Afrika steht. Es steht für Menschen, die informelle Lösungen kreieren, wenn die staatlichen Systeme versagen, und so die Wirtschaft ihrer Länder ankurbeln. Dieses „sich Durchschlagen“ und „innovativ Alternativen finden“ ist auch in der zeitgenössischen afrikanischen Kunst zu beobachten. Die Arbeiten dieser KünstlerInnen vermitteln, dass nicht nur Sicherheit und Stabilität zu Kreativität führen, und dass Kampf und Instabilität nicht in jedem Zusammenhang blockieren. Innerhalb des „Système D“ bauen junge Künstler individuelle Fähigkeiten und Talente auf, sie bleiben beharrlich, greifen auf Bestehendes zurück und schaffen daraus neue Identitäten.


Flurina Rothenberger (1977) is a Swiss photographer raised in Zuénoula,Côte d’Ivoire. She has spent most of her career photographing the continent where she grew up, Africa. Her photographs focus on the expanding urban landscape, often based in some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and the people that move within it, from fashionable teenagers to savvy businessmen. They paint a picture of a continent in rapid development and the swings of globalisation, with a strong and varied cultural heritage.


Aristite Kouamé (*1995)

Nouchi is for Aristide Koffi Kouamé an inspiration for artistic creation. Nouchi? All Ivorians speak it, some more some less. It is the street slang and borrows from different Ivorian languages:
Malinké, Senoufo, Bété, Baoulé, Gouro, Guéré, etc.

« The influence of Nouchi reaches numerous fields. It is nowadays universal and takes part of the Ivory Coast’s identity” the art student explains. “Enjaillement” means joy. And “s’enjailler” means enjoy yourself. One of Aristides techniques is using common rubber stamps like „payed“ or „date“ to convey the current use of Nouchi.
Aristite creates his works on recycled support. One of them depicts three kids tagged with the words « dja » and « chap chap ». « Dja », means God. « Chap chap » means quick quick. Another painting shows a market scene, which brings to attention that trade gave birth to Nouchi.

People say that Nouchi is the language of illiterate, bandits or street kids – says, outraged, the young artist.
“What is to be illiterate? I am illiterate if i don’t understand your language. And you, you are illiterate if you don’t understand my language” – he says. For him, Nouchi is indeed a “unifier because it borrows from all the languages spoken in the Ivory Coast”.


Axel Sinzé Bamouin (*1995)

«The toxic impact of petroleum on almost all forms of life» This is the topic on which the young artist Axel Sinzé Bamouin, works assiduously. He’s committed to raise awareness about the threats that oil and gas industry pose on ecosystems and society. The Ivorian artist has chosen to express himself through a complex working technique, drawing his range of colours from smoke.

Inspired by the visual effect of smoke from petrol lamps and open fires on walls, ceilings and roofs Sinzé creates his paintings with smoke, paraffin and fire. For hours the artist patiently lies beneath his canvas, a burning candle in his hand and traces the outlines of his drawing with the tip of the candle flame. While smoke can create a figure, it also easily changes form and vanishes. This is why Axel Sinzé, often resorts to paraffin, leaving a more durable visual effect.

Some of Axel Sinzés works show faces besieged by a halo of black smoke. Faces of despair being devoured, powerless, by the fumes that can’t be stopped. Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of Ivory Coast, used to say that science, even at the height of its glory, will never succeed in creating the birds flying in the air. It was his way of urging human beings to be humble in front of nature.

«The stains on my works call attention to the sequels left behind by the use of petroleum and gas» – explains the author.


Obou Gbais (*1992)
As many Ivorians, Obou Gbais is a victim of war, traumatized as a teenager. It was during the 2002 crisis when military insurgents opposed former president Laurent Gbagbo’s regime.
Today, a art student at the National Higher Institute of Arts and Cultural Action (Insaac), war has become his personal working theme.
«My students find this subject too engaging, but they respond to my emotions.» Rather than war scenes, he shows portraits of terrified and traumatized people. They have twisted faces, abnormally huge and round eyes, big open mouths, immense hands… as if to say that war causes damage, and deforms and destroys the human being.
Some of the painting are riddled with words evoking horror, such as Boko Haram, Al-Qaïda, September 11 2001, Jihad, Attentas de Bassam March 13th 2016 (in Ivory Coast). One of these painting is titled “The Gang.” The gang as a symbol of distress. The design involves a blending of sculpture and painting with dominant red and black colors. Red, like blood and fire. Black as evil, despair, night, and obscurantism.

Sometimes Gbais Obou allows some light into his paintings to open the door for hope and expectation. «There is always beauty in ugliness. It all depends then on perspective. » -he sais.
“My aim is not stopping crises, because that’s beyond my jurisdiction. My mission is using artwork so that victims of crises can heal. These are therapeutic creations. First and foremost, to tend to myself. And then, to tend to others”.