Clark House Opens
Friday 16 August 2013
A commissioned permanent installation of chequered windows by Yogesh Barve, 2013. The work is part of a larger series called, 'equality/inequality', to do with the paradoxes of attaining balance and equal arrangements of rectangular shapes.
Clark House was once a shipping office. Old, dusty model ships and navigation maps remain in the archives. When he saw it, Kemi Bassene thought Clark House looked like a big ship out at sea, with an upper and lower deck, and where every new exhibition is a docking at a new port, along the cultural cross-routes of slave, colonial, immigrant or space ships. Playing with the idea of a deck of cards, and the windows of a ship deck, this commission by Yogesh Barve will remain permanently in the space.
"While looking at Clark House's windows, I found some connections between them...In the middle, all 4 windows are related to each other with cross, horizontal and vertical mirrorings, so I made the arrangements balance in these ways, often like the move of a horse-chess-piece across 4 squares. Elsewhere there are two windows on the same wall, so I just wanted to merge them into one window and that is why the composition seems like a brick-game. One window seemed very individual, so I balanced the glass panes within the window. Two windows relate to exhaust fans, one outside the window, one in the storage room. The number of frosted glass panes are 7; and number of green panes are also 7. Just because the exhaust fan is inside the window, the composition is balanced, (conceptually)." - YB
Nine is the link between a starting point and a destination according to Songhai thoughts. Beyond the journey, it symbolizes the willingness to return, for the body and the spirit on travel. Nine is five and four walking together. They know they need one to complete them, because ten is two hands, the symbol of peace. So the traveller will stand in front of his/her door and count till nine. He/she will promise to complete it when he/she will be back. This work is about 9 nomad-isms in relation to coloniality.' - KB
Ma Gnias CASSET
Ma Gnias Casset (1908 -1992) was a child of Saint Louis, capital of the FWA (French West Africa) before being a non commissioned officer French Air Army. But he was a photographer before being military. He joined the Belgian photographer Oscar Lataque at Dakar to learn his future job the year the First World War finished. He was ten years old.
Aerial photography was important to map the French colonial empire. Casset spent fifteen years serving the army. He portrayed all important figures of that era, from colonial representatives to local religious leaders. He was most proud of having been the first black to capture the General De Gaulle than having portrayed Leopold Sedar Senghor as first President of Senegal Republic. This spirit could be explained by the fact that Casset is a native of one of the French territories in colonial Africa (Saint-Louis, Gorée, Rufisque, Dakar). The rest was considered indigenous. Casset had early to find a supportive aesthetic photography that may accompany the new still fragile and heavily depending to decades of colonial occupation Senegalese Republic.
His challenge reflects the one led politically by the Presidents Senghor and Boigny in Senegal and Ivory Coast after independences. The duality of having actively served the colonial power and of having participated later to help young nations to make history.
To define African Photography is like identifying African Literature or African "Philosophy". Photographers at the time of Gnias Casset had indirectly created a procession among the colonial subjects, which mimed the aesthetics of the colonists Signares and mulattos in studios. The aesthetics of the current winner weber consciously reproduced.
A critical African Literature in images would have required an African translated thought into European languages by photography. Casset had searched with its multicultural limits the translation of an African personality with the technical Colonial tool, as many thinkers coming from the colonies did. He tried to exceed his Kantian dimension in a way to offer a new disalienated and non-ideologist aesthetic in agreement with all social and cultural lived experiences. - KB on his grandfather's studio, Mama Casset.
Opens Friday 16 August, 2013 | 6pm-9pm
Continues till 4 September | 11am-7pm daily including Sundays.