Chap Chap: Aboudia
Art Twenty One is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Ivorian artist Aboudia, entitled Chap Chap, in collaboration with Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan. This exhibition follows the artist’s continued interest in exploring the urbanity of Abidjan’s cityscape and the culture of the “Nouchi”, a pidgin language that emerged in the Ivory Coast in the early 1980s.
Aboudia is best known for expressive paintings executed in a spontaneous manner akin to street art and graffiti. As a social commentator, Aboudia examines daily life in the Ivory Coast, with particular attention to its history of conflict. His recent works explore his experiences as a cosmopolitan artist as he moves between spaces and cultures. Included in this exhibition are the artist’s iconic large scale canvases depicting amorphous characters and visages. Executed in a simplistic yet emotional manner, the figures are created with crude brush strokes, protruded facial features and elemental forms. The exhibition also includes mixed media works appropriating photographic images from magazines and newspapers. Layered with marks, sketches and texts, these works depict diverse cultural references spanning the historical archive, the tradition of masks and wood sculpture.
Aboudia compares this cross-reference of styles to the organic formation of the “Nouchi” dialect in Ivory Coast, a mix between the French language and several local languages. The overlapping planes of images, symbols and paint create an ambiguous visual imaginary, highlighting the complex relationship between tradition and modernity that defines the ethos of the “Nouchi” culture. As a malleable language, one must keep up with the newest expressions and trends of the Nouchis as the language constantly develops, which spans popular culture and music. The exhibition title, Chap Chap, meaning “fast” or “rapid” in Nouchi, reflects the fast-paced environment and wired connectivity of a globalized culture.
Born in 1983 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Aboudia completed his art training at the Technical Centre of Applied Arts, Libreville. Aboudia gained attention for his series of paintings depicting the Battle of Abidjan, which has been exhibited in prominent exhibitions worldwide. Recent solo exhibitions include Nouchi City at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan), African Dawn at Ethan Cohen Gallery (New York), and Quitte le pouvoir at Jack Bell Gallery (London). Aboudia was included in the exhibition Pangea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, in 2014 and 2015 at the Saatchi Gallery, and he has participated in exhibitions at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair (London) and Dak’Art Off (Dakar). His work is included in prestigious permanent collections including the Saatchi Gallery. Aboudia lives and works in New York and Abidjan.