Interview // Hyacinthe Ouattara // May 2020

Posted by Michaëla Hadji-Minaglou on

On the occasion of his solo show "Revival", from June 17th to July 12th, Hyacinthe Ouattara told us more about the concept behind, his practice and philosophy. 

Gestes et Spontanéités, a work on paper by Hyacinthe Ouattara, 2020

Hyacinthe Ouattara, Gestes et Spontanéités, 2020
Ballpoint pen and felt pen on paper
42x59 cm

What do you mean through the notion of revival? 
The notion of “revival” came to my mind one day. I felt a call during this health crisis, like a switch from a state to another, in a world of the verge of collapse, in which I wanted to survive. I felt I was lucky to be alive and I thought about all the people who are leaving us. 
Through this notion, I interpret the ritual undertaken by a secret brotherhood of Malian Dogon hunters, where they sing the Marassa to celebrate a return to life. So, this notion of "revival" appeared directly to be a guideline in my work. I told myself that my only heritage if I disappeared, would be my creations. Despite their fragility, they could convey hope and challenge existence. I pictured in my head a person who just escaped from death and who was dancing of joy.

You often work with series. Why?
I work like a musician. I compose my series of artworks in a manner akin to the production of a record. Each embodies an aesthetic, social or philosophical area of research and exploration, whilst still supplementing one another and echoing similar messages and feelings.

How did you have the idea to draw "human cartographies”? What do they represent for you? 
This idea of human cartographies came to me in 2015 when I started to observe the Parisian urban space. When I was going out and taking public transport, I was observing the corridors of the Parisian metro and I had a kind of silent discussion. I saw it like a human flow moving quickly while keeping a certain physical distance. I was a little bit shocked. I wanted to represent these parts of cells like traces of my memory of the world I belong to. I wanted to link these lines in my drawings, to link people together, to ensure that none of the characters are alone.

Your body of work has no limit, including installations, sculpture, performance, and painting. How do you choose which medium you work with? 
I always saw my practice as echoing life and the space surrounding us: an infinite and undetermined space. I think that the time I have won’t allow me to explore everything. There is then a kind of absolute emergency to experience and explore everything. I consider markets and flea markets like open sky museums. I also listen to what happens around me. The choice of mediums is unexpected. It is for me, like a call, a necessity to choose a specific medium depending on what I want to express. It can come from a state of anger, from a picture, a song, or a basic observation of the world. I suddenly have images coming to my mind. This is how my creations come to life.

About the exhibition
"Revival" from June 17th to July12th
Visit on appointment in our Parisian showroom and online