Phillips Gallery in London opens an exhibition dedicated to Aboudia, Jean Dubuffet (2022)

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The Ivorian artist Aboudia attended on Wednesday the opening of the exhibition “Different Throws of Dreams: Aboudia x Dubuffet” at the Phillips Gallery in London. Video © EFE via REUTERS

Phillips is pleased to present Different Throws of Dreams: Aboudia x Dubuffet. In collaboration with Aboudia, this selling exhibition will present ten paintings by the artist in conversation with a selection of works by Jean Dubuffet. Different Throws of Dreams will be on view in Phillips’ London galleries on Berkeley Square from 10 to 31 August.

Through his work, Aboudia regularly returns to the subject of childhood and childlike innocence as a narrative voice for society. Deeply rooted in the artist’s connection to his hometown, Abidjan on the Côte d’Ivoire, Aboudia uses found materials from the street, incorporating rubbish, corrugated iron, newspapers, magazines, schoolbooks, and charcoal into his layered canvases. Aboudia’s distinctive approach to figuration takes inspiration from the city’s graffiti and dynamic urban culture, which is brought into dialogue with the imagery of traditional West African wood carvings.

Recognising the coexistence of these dual influences in his work, Aboudia names his stylistic approach Nouchi, a term more commonly used to refer to the colloquial language specific to the Côte d’Ivoire, asserting the significance of both the local and traditional to his artistic practice. The artist looks at the world through the purest and truest reality we can engage with, the lens of a child, using his dynamic depictions of children to address societal and political issues such as war, poverty, and homelessness.  

Jean Dubuffet’s work draws the viewer deep into an alternate universe. Using unorthodox found materials which he layered with paint and paper, Dubuffet’s work traces his personal evolution and meanderings as he lived through the significant cultural shifts and artistic developments of the last century. There was no hierarchy in his world in which conventions were shattered and historically underrepresented and overlooked subjects were brought to the fore.

Aboudia and Dubuffet
Aboudia with his work – All the works are Untitled as the artist ‘doesn’t want to influence peoples thoughts on them’ – Different Throws of Dreams: Aboudia x Dubuffet, an Exhibition at Phillips. Credit: Profimedia

Proving that creativity can flourish in the most unlikely of places, Dubuffet created his own language of deliberately ugly or raw art which he named Art Brut. This new language focused on the seedy underside of cosmopolitan life and his subjects included all manner of urban landscapes and individuals which he chose to depersonalise, exaggerating their proportions and features to create grotesque caricatures which challenged cultural standards of beauty and traditional notions of realism. 

Different Throws of Dreams explores the dialogue between Aboudia and Jean Dubuffet, and their focus on portraying the most vulnerable and raw fractions of society. In addition to the similarities in subject matter, another recurring theme in the conversation between the two artists is their use of found objects and waste materials from everyday life which are repurposed to depict the urban landscapes and individuals who discarded them.  Via Phillips Gallery

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