Paintings and photocollages by the French artist based in Senegal, Vincent Michéa, which are part of a vast kaleidoscopic iconography, African but also European and American, that reorganizes space and time.
Through a text by Franck Hermann Ekra and a conversation between the artist and the Senegalese designer Bibi Seck, this catalog traces the journey of Vincent Michéa in the diversity of his practice, while focusing on his recent work around the city of Dakar, his heart city. Through the construction of his images, at the border of different places and times, impalpable temporality, spatiality, Michéa takes us into another space-time. The artist brilliantly enjoys blurring the boundaries between his different practices, offering us very large paintings of the city of Dakar through its sky and its architecture especially, paintings that sometimes take on the guise of collages and thus misleadingly deceive the eye of the viewer while revealing the richness of dialogues that can exist between photomontage and painting. Between the pictorial space of the works and the real space of the world, the limit is as thin as an electric wire on a blue sky background. The book thus proposes to (re)discover the work of Vincent Michéa, an artist with an irreverent commitment, well known on the West African and Western scene, whose approach is unique, always guided by a principle of pleasure, whose works vibrate with authenticity, joy and melancholy.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Paris, in 2023.
Vincent Michéa was born in 1963 in Figeac, France. He lives and works between Paris and Dakar. After graduating from the École Supérieure d'Arts Graphiques et d'Architecture Intérieure (ESAG Pennin-ghen) in Paris, Vincent Michéa moved to Dakar in 1986. In 1987, he exhibited his paintings and photographs for the first time at the National Gallery of Senegal. From this exhibition, he worked as an assistant to the famous graphic designer Roman Cieslewicz until 1991. Strongly encouraged by the latter, Vincent Michéa launches into painting profusely. Since 2008, Vincent Michéa teaches, with the painter Moulay Youssef Elkahfai, serigraphy at the École Supérieure des Arts Visuels (ESAV) in Marrakech, Morocco.
Vincent Michéa's work explores the notion of rewriting the image, present in particular in his photo-collage work, which he describes as follows: "I cut, I slice, I carve, I make incisions, I cut, I tear, I amputate, I decapitate and I dismember... ". If this statement literally refers to the treatment of the material he uses, it also suggests his approach to telling the past and the present. Nothing—neither paper, nor reality, nor time, nor history—escapes the artist's act of dissection and reorientation.
Vincent Michéa also honours in his works all the references that inspire him, the great figures who accompanied in music the effervescence of African independence and marked generations. In addition to sharing a personal cultural universe, Vincent Michéa's approach can be considered in many respects as a true archivist's work, in the sense of conserving and safeguarding elements of the cultural landscape (musical, architectural, visual...), all the more precious as they constitute a heritage that is often in danger of disappearing. This role of passer-by and transmitter is particularly visible in his series of collages and paintings from 2022, which revolve around various buildings or statues in the city of Dakar, with emblematic architecture, now threatened with destruction or left to decay. Without freezing them in time, the artist manages to perpetuate their aura and their history, and thus offers us to encounter them directly, not only with a historian's eye but also through our emotional memory.
Vincent Michéa's work is part of several international collections such as Agnès B
, Paris (France), Saatchi Gallery, London (UK) and the Mohamed VI Museum, Rabat (Morocco).