Untitled (Spirit of Changing Times)
It’s becoming an annual tradition for Lumen Travo to host every year around this time a group show addressing our social and political present through the works on paper, collages and paintings of our artists.
Dutch artist Judith Westelveld (1985, Netherlands) presents a brand new series of photocollages – Monetaria moneta, resulting from her ongoing research focused on the post colonial world we live in and on how the traces of the past are still shaping our present. By exploring the coast of the Dutch province Zeeland, Judith retraces the route of colonial money cowries which, emanated from the bellied of VOC ship wreckages sanked during storms, traveled to Maldives and was then used to buy enslaved people along the West coast of Africa. The money cowries on the beaches of Zeeland are a witness from this past and present us with poignant traces of the significant role the Dutch played in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Starting from this very realization, Judith performed a series of actions at locations where these shells can still be found as they wash ashore. In the presence of a large anatomic ear the artist embodies to what extent we are willing to hear and see, speak about, and listen to a painful history.
Driven by the fascination for our current times and the controversies they carry with them, Iranian artist Atousa Bandeh (1968, Iran) dwells upon the relationship between men, society and nature raising poetic yet firm reflections over our present. This new body of work is the starting point of an exploration around media meant as a simultaneous act that both presents and represents a double phenomena. Her wonder on this series originated from the double binding effect that the news produce, on one hand the horror, fear and anxiety and on the other, the power of the image, the action and acceleration. Drama and beauty collide on a slick body ready for the shot with just the perfect amount of makeup. Artistically, with this series Atousa aims to deal with the transitional aspects of both the tradition of portrait and history of painting, to delve within the feedback that occurs between subject and context as layers in the plane.
Thierry Oussou (Allad, 1988) presents a selection of ink, acrylic and oil-bar new works on paper, evidence of his interest in the subtle details and in common-place, everyday drawings, that highlight the universality of their approach as a shared visual language of expression. In his most recent works on paper Thierry addresses the cotton plantations in Benin and the positive impact they have on the economic rise of the country. For this series he developed a complex investigation, firstly observing and collecting informations from the plantations located in the district of Paouignan in Benin, so essential for the relatively young economy of the country. Later he translated this very knowledge into drawing the portraits of the cotton workers, ultimate protagonists of this project. Through the use of several techniques and media, including the charbon de bois -a material coming from the plantation itself, Thierry Oussou offers us a glimpse into the contemporary Beninois society, opening up a conversation also about the current situation of pandemic crisis and how this is affecting the economic force that the country has built over the years.