CAPE TOWN ART FAIR
Cape Town, Afrique du Sud
February 14 – 16, 2020
For its first participation at Cape Town Art Fair, SEPTIEME Gallery presented a solo show with new works by Franco-Beninese artist Gregory Olympio.
For more information: https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/
Having started painting after leaving the Beaux-Arts, Gregory proposes a pretty raw approach to his subject, whether it is human or more spatial. He explores the great works of Art History, navigating from portrait to landscape. His personal sensitivity to color leads him to new pastels and brighter tones, giving him a personal touch through which he reinvents the possibilities of the shapes he proposes. Behind a very aesthetic dimension, Gregory is actually driven by internal questions of a political and social nature. He propels his own questions and lets them navigate the time of his gesture, leading him to create faces, bodies, and gazes entirely from his imagination, as well as places that do not belong to any map.
The “Chemises Jaunes” (Yellow Shirts) series was born of a feeling of « déjà vu » for this young painter of Beninese origin during the recent “Yellow Vests” events. Men dressed in yellow, who in groups and en masse, organize themselves and found a political agora is not a practice limited to France. The “zemidjans”, or “kekenon” in Benin, are the motorcycle taxis who wear “yellow shirts,” criss-crossing the city of Cotonou day and night. Organized politically, they form a union for theoppressed of the urban body, growing too fast, that is Cotonou. Gregory, for his part, lets the memories of his childhood in Benin intermingle with the images he receives from the media and with the questions and utopias that get to him. Thus were born these paintings disconnected from all references, which wander between memory, news and revolt, from which only yellow can connect imaginary characters to a brutal reality.