Photos : Courtoisy Filippo Biagioli
"I could talk about African art quoting names, ethnic groups, more or less known and explored zones because today, thanks to texts, witnesses, videos and photos, it seems possible, to whom may be interested in this topic, to grasp its every little nuance.
The magic miracle that happens every single time, instead, is to discover that perhaps there is some other little sign, some little mystery, that awaits to be discovered or interpreted. The simple and universal language, that those very pieces of tribal art have taught me, can paradoxically be found in their complex forms…
It is not by chance that during the history of modern Western art painters and sculptors have been fascinated by tribal art. Matisse, Matta, Gauguin, Picasso, Braque, Brancusi, Moore, Lam have drawn inspiration, innovation and artistic lymph by those plastic and archetypical figures, so alive in their ancestral lure and spirituality.
However, this is not the characteristic I want to discuss, because it is undeniable how it has intensely entered the art of great artists, in such a way that some of them got inspired by it to reach their final style.
What interests me is that this tribal art has been fundamental for the spiritual growth of those who still do ritual art outside of the African continent living their everyday life and also of those who are enthusiast collectors of said art. Masks, sculptures, common objects must have a dialogue, a relationship, even in an unconscious way, with said people. In fact, these objects are in their motherland an extension of the territory, the important centre of a social life which is the cornerstone of the very community; they are, at the same time, children and mothers of the same culture they live in.
The one who owns an ancestral, archetypical statue, or “spirit”, is inevitably influenced by it, "especially in our contemporary era, where the intimate and "romantic" side of things is left behind, giving more importance to the material and "materialistic" one.
Our culture is based on speed, on the rationalization and the optimization of spaces and time. And it is here that the intrinsic message of the African, Oceanic (or from other tribal regions) piece of art appears and becomes very clear, emanating a will to go back to our origins, to man, to our instinctive and animal side, which is fundamental to life and living; true “Freedom”, if we want to use a wider term.
I am very sensitive to the magical influence emanating from these artifacts and to the link that connects African art to the modern ritual one.
Photo 1 : © Man Ray, Untitled (Bangwa Queen), 1934.
Photo 2 : © Walker Evans, Bangwa Queen, 1935.
Photo 3 : Variante pour Black and White, 1926 © Man Ray Trust.
Photo 4 : © Walker Evans, Tête de tambour Bamileke, 1935.
Photo 5 : © Roland Penrose, Untitled, 1936.
Photo 1 : Hundertwasser, Le soleil lourd, 1954.
Photo 2 : Hundertwasser, Le scarabée du début, 1955.
Photo 3 : Hundertwasser, Si j'avais une négresse, je l'aimerais et la peindrais, 1961.
Photo 4 : Byery Fang, photo au MAAOA.
Photo 5 : Hundertwasser, 39 têtes, 1953.
Photo 6 : Crânes de Nouvelle-Guinée, collection H. Gastaud, photo au MAAOA.
Le titre est emprunté à une boutade de Picasso.
Photo 1 : Matisse, 1907, Nu bleu, souvenir de Biskra, Baltimore Museum of Art.
Photo 2 : Carl Einstein, 1915, Couverture de Negerplastik.
Photo 3 : E. Nolde, 1912, Le Missionaire, Solingen Coll. privée.
Photo 4 : A. Derain, 1907, Figure accroupie, Vienne, Museum moderner Kunst.
Photo 1 : © Musée du Quai Branly.
Photo 2 : © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Photo 3 : Lettre illustrée à Daniel de Monfreid, © musée d'Orsay, conservée au département Arts Graphiques du musée du Louvre.
Photo 4 : Photographie de l'atelier de Gauguin à Tahiti par Lemasson, © Ministère de la Culture, Tahiti.
« On peut comparer le monde à un bloc de cristal aux facettes innombrables.
Selon sa structure et sa position, chacun de nous voit certaines facettes.
Tout ce qui peut nous passionner, c'est de découvrir un nouveau tranchant, un nouvel espace ».