By Nii B. Andrews.
Soly Cissé produces paintings filled with strange beings.
They appear deformed, monstrous anthropod – no, primate like hybrids; with unclear visages and limbs….inhabitants or visitors from a fantasy world.
In addition, there are thick layers or blobs of paint, chaotic brushstrokes and script – letters and numbers which serve to transmit tension and intrigue while possibly telegraphing arcane hermetic messages.
“I think and reflect a lot about humans and their relationships. Relationships between humans, the confrontation between humans and nature, humans and religion and then I challenge myself and experiment”, he explains.
Cissé came of age after violent political unrest had hit Dakar and a new future was being negotiated in a piecemeal manner.
This has led some observers to speculate that Soly Cissé’s art remains entrenched in the tensions that brought about this movement in Senegal; tensions of traditional versus modern, what is familiar versus what is imagined, the secular versus the spiritual.
But why should that be; are these tensions not present in every society throughout the world, albeit not necessarily exploding into overt violence?
It would appear that such is the human condition; such is the ebb and flow of human history.
The grouping of figures in his paintings remains striking.
Sometimes they appear to be in conversation or in procession. But almost always there seems to be some merging of a number of the figures.
Does this reflect dissolution or abandonment of morals and standards; or their simple renegotiation or recalibration…..for better or for worse?
The dynamic tension posed by this activity (which occurs almost daily) is captured and heightened by Cissé with textured, contrasting and vivid colors.
Cissé graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Dakar, in 1996.
He has since then become a recognized and acclaimed frontline artist with multiple exhibitions throughout the world.
His latest solo exhibition entitled “MAN AND LIVES” includes sculpture.
It will be at the Sulger -Buel Gallery in London from June 6 to August 1 2019.