La poésie du lien: Saïdou Dicko & Hyacinthe Ouattara

27 March - 25 May 2021
The Poetry of The Link, brings together two different aesthetics that meet in a common place and meet on paper. Thus, the exhibition is an encounter between two artists, an invitation to go beyond, to see beyond the visible, beyond the tangible, beyond what we know. It approaches and exalts the poetry that lurks everywhere.

So close and yet so far apart. From urban choreography, disrupted by the social distancing measures, to the screens that interpose in our relationships, human relationships are disturbed. Queues are multiplying, but new exchanges are not being created. Staying connected in the distance is an ironic challenge at a time when the logos of social networks - ever more numerous - are adorned with notifications - ever more numerous – which invade our personal space.


Through the works of Saïdou Dicko and Hyacinthe Ouattara, the exhibition "LA POÉSIE DU LIEN" (the Poetry of the Link) aims to recreate these human bonds, these connections between beings. It offers an exchange between two artists and engages in a conversation with the audience. From a drawing to a photo, from a photo to an installation, from an installation to a woven work: a shift occurs; inviting the public to join the two artists in their imagination. Saïdou Dicko’s characters travel the world while Hyacinthe Ouattara draws the intrinsic links.


The Poetry of The Link, brings together two different aesthetics that meet in a common place and meet on paper. Thus, the exhibition is an encounter between two artists, an invitation to go beyond, to see beyond the visible, beyond the tangible, beyond what we know. It approaches and exalts the poetry that lurks everywhere. It makes you think about the changes in the universe. It deciphers the patterns and highlights the cycle and links.


Using the same silhouettes and the same motifs, Saïdou Dicko questions time, space and identity. Transformed into shadows, his characters roam the world. Everyday objects are diverted from their primary function. Cans become seats. Extended linen becomes a studio background. The very techniques adopted by Saïdou Dicko: photomontage using embroidery or drawing, celebrate this need to reinvent what already exists. The artist documents the present and imagines the future. The shadows that spring under his hands take over all temporality. Yesterday, today and tomorrow belong to them. They are the change.


In his drawings, the characters in the center of the blank page are left to their own devices. In a contemplative attitude, they talk about the world in which they have been left behind. It is up to them to propose a tomorrow. Far from natural disasters, human beings and nature live in harmony. Saïdou Dicko draws an invitation to benevolence and to reconnect with our environment. Plastic, the nerve of today’s ecological war, feeds a reborn nature here and thus becomes a source of life. The artist stresses: "You don’t just have to banish plastic and cut trees to make cardboard. There is good in this material and it is a question of how to ration it and use it wisely." It evokes renewal. How what belongs to the past can be reused in the present and participate in building the future.


Like those anonymous people that Ethiopian photographer Girma Berta subtracts from the noise and effervescence of Addis Ababa in his series "Moving Shadows", the shadows of Saïdou Dicko are the main characters of his work. Girma Berta isolates moving figures and uses shadow, like a projector, to emphasise their bodies and focus on their story. They come out of anonymity for the time of a cliché, far from the torpor of the city. If his characters are shadows, Saïdou Dicko, on the other hand, highlights the human rather than the individual. He writes a tale of all possibilities. A universal tale that anyone can relate to. A tale filled with hope where transformation and movement are key words. Transformation: like these bodies transposed into shadows, like these objects to which it offers a new life. Movement: like these children about to move forward, as a change in motion to compose the future. In his painted photographs, the silhouettes move from cliché to cliché, from frame to frame, from décor to décor. If his characters move from one place to another, they remain unchanged: as if neither time nor space had a hold on them, as if they were the only actors of their destiny. A message of emancipation emerges: we create these bonds that unite us as we undo them.


Between documentary and studio photography, Saïdou Dicko’s painted images are a collection of moments. They inform the present through the personal stories of these characters, while drawing the future. Shadows mutate from one frame to another. Immobile, they face a world that changes before their eyes. Situations overlap and evolve. Paths intersect and open the way to new possibilities. The work of Saïdou Dicko is infinite. From one background to another, he offers his characters eternal adventures.


Hyacinthe Ouattara goes beyond a reflection centered on the individual to dive into the immaterial, the metaphysics, the sensitive. His questioning starts from an observation in the face of human movements in space: what binds this human tide? How do individuals interact with one another? Beyond a sociological question, he touches on scientific concepts without naming them: from the Big Bang, to the cosmos through the origin of life. If he starts by dissecting and analysing cellular tissues, to establish what he calls «human mapping», soon his reflection takes a more global turn and touches on the changes of the world itself. Thus was born the series "Multiplicité". He details: "Multiplicité is a sum of experiences and journeys in a perpetual need for renewal of my plastic language. Multiplicité testifies of an organic work inside. This series invites the viewer to question his own vision of a world in constant change.» Beyond a purely aesthetic experience, Hyacinthe Ouattara invites synaesthesia. His work commits us to listen to what our eyes hear, to perceive the noise in silence. In this way, it shows that everything is linked and composes a mapping of the universe.


A prophet artist, listening to the world, he becomes a messenger. His work, on paper, on canvas or fabric, transmits and transcribes the sensitive messages he receives. The gesture predominates. His works are born of spontaneity, like a trance in which the artist lets himself be guided to transcribe what he felt. One can think of the process of automatic drawing prevalent among surrealist painters. The unconscious materialises in the art of Hyacinthe Ouattara. There is something originally from the cosmos that takes us back to Joan Miró’s Constellations


Aesthetically, Jackson Pollock’s dripping and all-overs are not so distant. His compositions invade space without a central object. If the practice of the American painter can be seen as a performance in itself, gestures also have their importance in the work of Hyacinthe Ouattara. At the centre of the installation Bois sacré, it echoes the words that poet Bernard Noel used in La castration mentale, 1994, to describe manual work:

"The spectacle of those hands that throw the thread, slide it, pass it, tie it, always airy in the joy of their own mastery. This show triggers behind the visitor’s eyes a crisis: nothing goes more, neither time, nor meaning, nor presence.


It is that the hand, here and in this time, does not only a tapestry: it continues and it projects - continues to enshrine the present in the chain of duration; it projects reflection into the gesture so that each point is in the vicinity of its future."

The installation Bois sacré theatricalises the exhibition space. By staying between the beams, these pieces of wood dressed in wires channel the forgotten spaces as well as the forgotten of the space. Suspended above our heads, it questions balance and imbalance. It overthrows the order of the world and upsets our senses. If heaven becomes earth, where do we walk? This aerial forest forms a bridge between the works of Saïdou Dicko and Hyacinthe Ouattara. In this way, it materialises this poetry of the bond that unites the two artists. 


The idea of Bois sacré was born from Hyacinthe Ouattara’s desire to revive these abandoned pieces of wood. He highlights these forgotten, neglected bodies that we don’t pay attention to. He intends to magnify them: "to beautify what is not meant to be beautified." These branches are adorned with red. Red like the beat of a heart, they symbolise life: the beginning but also the end. This is how Hyacinthe Ouattara brings them back to life, echoing the animist thought that all beings are inhabited by spirits. "Wood expresses itself, it ages. The wood itself is a being."


The exhibition "LA POÉSIE DU LIEN" proposes to delve into the works of two artists and explore the resonances that can exist between their works. Out of time as rooted in their time, figurative as well as abstract, the works of Saïdou Dicko and Hyacinthe Ouattara, all in colour and delicacy give way to the reflection and interpretation of the visitor. The poetry of lhe link is finally a way of describing the invisible connections that connect us. It is, according to Hyacinthe Ouattara: "how we can be bound in other forms while being distant from each other, in form and informs."