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Biography of Cyprien TOKOUDAGBA

Benin > Arts : Cyprien TOKOUDAGBA

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Biography :

Cyprien Tokoudagba (born in 1939) is a Beninese artist.

Tokoudagba practiced several activities related to painting and sculpture simultaneously. This Beninese artist is a restorer at the National Museum in Abomey, where he came in contact with the very rich traditions of Benin painting, a country that was one of the most prominent cultural cradles of the African continent, and was chopped up by colonial boundaries. He also works on the decorations of numerous Vodun buildings, private or institutional temples, from the most modest (a single wall painting, Vodun divinity, or domestic or regional fetish...) to the most elaborate. These wall paintings are made up of the symbolic figureheads of political and especially religious power, and are often a confusion of both, as well as the geometrical cultural signs on the walls of the place of worship. The sculptures borrow from the traditions of Beninese sculpture, which is often anthropomorphic and very large. Concrete, a modern substitute for traditional materials, is worked on when it is still boxed, then carved before it is completely dry, and finally painted. These statues have the faces of Vodun divinities, of which Legba is the central figure. Without abandoning the wall paintings that he is commissioned, he undertook 1989 some large canvasses in which he combined, taking great liberties, the emblems of the kings of Abomey, symbols of the divinities (Earth, Fire, Water, Air) and various objects related to his culture. The combination of all these faces, objects and signs make his paintings look like a strange rebus.

Selected  Solo  Exhibitions.

1995?Cyprien Tokoudagba?Cloister Museum?Culture and People.?Tulle, France.
1995?Cyprien Tokoudagba?IFA-Gallery.?Bonn, Stuttgart, Germany.
1991?Cyprien Tokoudagba?French Cultural Center.?Cotonou, Benin
2005?Arts of Africa ?Grimaldi Forum ?Monaco - France
2005?African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection?Museum of Fine Art Houston?Houston - USA
2004-2006 (travelling exhibition)?Africa Remix?Art contemporain d’un continent
• 24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004?Museum Kunst Palast?Düsseldorf - Germany
• 10 Feb 2005 – 17 April 2005?Hayward Gallery?London – England
• 15 May 2005 – 20 Aug 2005?Centre Georges Pompidou?Paris – France
• Feb – May 2006?Mori Art Museum?Tokyo
Transvangarde: Contemporary Art from Around the Planet
Berlin – Germany
1998?Africa Africa Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent?Tobu Museum of Art.?Tokyo, Japan.
1997?Lumiere Noire?Tanlay Contemporary Art Center.?Tanlay, France.
1996?Sao Paulo Biennal?Sao Paulo, Brazil.
1996?Neue Kunst Aus Afrika?Im Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.?Berlin, Germany.
1995?Big City?Serpentine Gallery.?London, Great-Britain.
1995?Vital : Three contemporary african artists?Tate Gallery.?Liverpool, Great-Britain.
1994?Rencontres Africaines?Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.?Travelling exhibitions: France, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Morocco.
1993?Sydney Biennal?Sydney, Australia.
1993?La Grande Verite, les Astres Africains?Nantes Fine Art Museum.?Nantes, France.
1992?Out of Africa?Saatchi Collection.?London, United Kindom.
1991?Africa Hoy?Atlantic Center of Modern Art.?Las Palmas Gran Canary, Spain.?Cultural Center of Contemporary Art.?Mexico City, Mexico.
1991?Africa Now?Groninger Museum.?Groningen, Netherland.
1989?Magiciens de la Terre?M.N.A.M. Georges Pompidou Center.?La Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris.
2005?African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection ?Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.
2004?Africa Remix?Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz Verlag.
2001?Tribal Soul, Metropolitan Body.?Arte Africana Contemporanea.?L'Artiere edizionitalia.
1998?Africa Africa?Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent.?Exhibition Catalogue, Japanese and English.?Tobu Museum. Tokyo, Japan.
1997?Lumiere Noire.?Exhibition Catalogue. Texts in French.?Tanlay Art Center, France.
1996?Universalis?23rd Sao Paulo International Biennal.?Exhibition catalogue.?Fundacao Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brazil.
1996?Contemporary Art of Africa.?Cyprien Tokoudagba, text in English by Jacques Soulillou, p.40-43.?Edited by Andre Magnin & Jacques Soulillou.?Publisher Harry N. Abraams, New York.
1996?Neue Kunst Aus Afrika?Exhibition Catalogue.?Im Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.?Berlin, Germany.
1995-1996?VOODOO Cyprien Tokoudagba?Exhibition Catalogue.?IFA, Bonn & Stuttgart, Germany.
1995?Vital Three Contemporary African Artists.?Exhibition Catalogue.?The Link between Earth and Sky.?Tate Gallery, Liverpool.
1994?Rencontres Africaines.?Exhibition Catalogue.?Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.
1993?Sydney Biennal.?Exhibition Catalogue
1992?Out of Africa.?Exhibition catalogue?The Jean Pigozzi Contemporary Art Collection.?The Saatchi Gallery.?London, Great Britain.
1991?Africa Hoy.?Atlantic Center for Modern Art.?Exhibition Catalogue. Cyprien Tokoudagba p.143-149.?Las Palmas, Gran Canary Islands, Spain.
1989?Magiciens de la terre?Exhibition Catalogue.?Georges Pompidou Centre.?Paris, France.

Phto by courtesy of © NERART

Last update : 06/21/2009

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