thierry oussou soil
invited by guest curator ashley swagers
10 September 2017 - 8 October 2017
On the 10th of September the project ‘ to remind you’ will be launched at Bradwolff Projects. The project consists of three consecutive solo presentations by artists Thierry Oussou(Allada, Benin), Aliansyah Caniago (Tangerang, Indonesia) and Sefer Memisoglu (Istanbul, Turkey). The presentations have been developed in collaboration with curators Ashley Swagers, Christine van den Bergh and Sanneke Huisman, and will be produced from the beginning of September to mid- December 2017. These presentations and the accompanying program of events, contribute to the development of a nuanced global postcolonial vision. This vision enables us to zoom in on the Dutch colonial past as well as the Dutch multicultural present.
Thierry Oussou developed the site-specific installation Soil at Bradwolff Projects. Soil refers to the equal, universal and layered basis from which man derives and where man shall return: the soil of the earth. At the same time, the soil of the earth has become Oussou’s working space now that he, since he finished his two year residency at Rijksakademie, no longer has a permanent home but instead lets his work take him all over the world. From this personal, and at the same time global perspective, Oussou works as a social archeologist. Within his ‘archeological practice’ Oussou looks for the meaningful layers that lie hidden in objects, materials, human interactions and secular vocal Benin stories. Subsequently, he reveals these layers and the ruling social, historical, political and (post) colonial power structures through his stories and images.
Oussou works with ordinary materials like earth, canvas, clay, wood and especially paper. By using these seemingly banal materials in a different context they become part of an artwork. Thus he refers, among other things, to the current questions surrounding the presentation of ethnographic utilitarian objects in Western postcolonial museums. By playfully exploring and deconstructing cultivated notions Oussou aims to encourage people to question elements in their daily routine and to underline that everything in this world is layered.
Visual artist Thierry Oussou (Benin, 1988) is an autodidact. In 2014 Oussou moved from Allada/BJ to Amsterdam to participate in a two-year residency programme at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten. He has exhibited his work in various locations including: 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 Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst.
Ashley Swagers (Netherlands, 1988) graduated as an art historian. With her culturally diverse background and deeply rooted interest in the colonial past and postcolonial present she examines the way visual artists reflect on this theme. Just as Oussou’s work underlines, she also believes that different layers of the postcolonial story can be read in modern day elements. “Oussou’s work is visually very powerful and depending on the context it tells a different layer of the story.”