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MOTIF:ETERNAL - Art's Enduring Resource
Prehistoric art encapsulates the artistic mind-frame of our ancestors. Strange as it may be, this mind-frame weaves its way through time to the present day. And on that journey of time, where humankind ultimately shares the same needs and desires, joys and sorrows, the themes and motifs remain constant. Motif:Eternal is an opportunity to exhibit this tendency, where the themes and motifs of ancient rock art find themselves embedded in the foundations of contemporary art. Motif:Eternal is dedicated to contemporary artists who are inspired by ancient themes and motifs in their work, consciously or subconsciously, to produce art that will push, probe and celebrate the human experience.
Acrylic on canvas
130 x 130 cm
Thus it was very interesting to visit London's Saatchi Gallery with my wife, Will and Faith recently to experience the current exhibition Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America. I found all of the artists engaging - some more than others - but in Gallery 7 I encountered the work of artist Vincent Michea, who lives and works in Paris and Dakar.
'The bright-coloured paintings of Vincent Michea operate as souvenirs of Dakar's past glories, visual documents of the city's undying glamour. The capital of Senegal, Dakar, is seen behind the reticular lens of Michea's illustrations as on a TV set. Captured with postcard style graphic sensibility, his images are built upon photographs of city views, ostensibly focusing on the jewels of its modernist architecture and the overwhelming elegance of the inhabitants of the pearl of West Africa'.
'The products of popular culture such as album covers, or the many portraits of ordinary and famous dakarois are enhanced by a number of visual strategies borrowed from Pop Art. Particularly influenced by Roy Lichtenstein from whom he appropriates his hallmark Ben-Day dots, Michea re-enacts the foundational strategies of copy and reproduction promoted by artists of the 1960s including Andy Warhol and Lichtenstein himself. His technique consists of the employment of strident blocks of colour to deliver a hard-edged imagery reminiscent of comic strips'.
The treatment of the prehistoric Brassempouy figurine portrait head in NO. 116 is superb. A Gravettian figurine, about 23,000 years old, which can be reinvented with Ben-Day dots without losing its iconic status is a fine example of art's enduring resource. It also reflects the artist's theme of past glories and undying glamour.
PANGAEA:NEW ART FROM AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA
2 APRIL 2014 - 2 NOVEMBER 2014
Duke of York's HQ