In addition to adding a textural and tangible element to his work, Konaté’s use of Malian textile allows the artist to bring West African fabrics, usually seen as symbols of tradition and everyday life, into a contemporary sphere, prompting a new discussion about the potential of these rich textiles as well as the broader aesthetic traditions of West Africa.
According to Konaté, works such as Composition No.25 (Soleil) allow the artist to experiment in a more abstract realm of production and also allow the viewer to experience the works in a unique and personal manner. Composition No. 25 (Soleil) forms a part of the artist’s recent exploration of colour and composition. The purpose of Konaté’s more recent work lies ‘in the pure rejoicing of colour, a program of jubilation and contemplation’ (Koyo Kouoh, Useful Dreams, p.12). Inspired by the garb of the Senufo and Koulikoro people, many of Konaté’s works feature strips of fabric, which have been cut and then stitched together on the floor of the artist’s studio. Konaté counterbalances the changes in vibrant hue with the consistency of texture, allowing each panel of strips to be appreciated in its own right whilst still being read in harmony with the greater work.
Born in Dire, Mali in 1953, Abdoulaye Konaté is a graduate of the Institut National des Arts in Bamako and of the Instituto Superior de Arte, Universidad de las Artes in Havana. Founding Director of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasséké Kouyaté in Bamako, Konaté is dedicated to the education of younger generations. The artist has been exhibited at prominent locations around the world such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., amongst others. Abdoulaye Konaté has been selected to participate in this year’s Viva Arte Viva, the central exhibition at the 2017 edition of the Venice Biennale.
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