Juliette Delecour and Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia, co-founders of the Atelier Ati association and the ArtMéssiamé residency, which enables artists in Europe and Africa to work together, discuss contemporary African art and the impact of cultural policies with Hajida Jemni, director of the Contemporary Art of Africa and the Diaspora department at the Centre for Applied Research in Contemporary Culture at IESA Arts et Culture. In partnership with Le Cercle Chromatique.
Juliette Delecour is a graduate of the École supérieure d'art et de design de Saint-Étienne and the Beaux-Arts de Paris. Alongside her studies, she trained in glass techniques in various workshops in Europe.
Through her sculpture and installation work, she is interested in the senses perceived as minor, and more particularly the sense of smell.
As human beings experience the world mainly through the eyes, she tries to diminish this sense in order to offer different sensory experiences. In her view, breathing in the work no longer distances us from the artistic object but allows us to have a more complete experience, short-circuiting the other senses and thus confusing the spectator.
After publishing an article on olfactory art for Beaux Arts Magazine, she continued her research into odours in art, and in 2022 began a doctoral thesis on the question of "Collecting olfactory art in the 21st century".
Convinced of the importance of encounters between artists from all horizons and strongly committed to organising exchanges on an international scale, in 2020 she co-founded the Atelier Ati association and the ArtMéssiamé residency with Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia, enabling artists working in Europe and Africa to meet and practise together.
Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia lives and works between Paris and Lomé (Togo).
He spent his childhood and teenage years in Lomé, where he studied computer networks and telecoms. Convinced of his passion for art, he went on to study fine art, which did not exist in his home country. After Abidjan and Valenciennes, he graduated from the Beaux-Arts de Paris and took part in the De Ateliers art residency in Amsterdam (2019-2021). He is co-founder of the ArtMéssiamé contemporary art residency, held annually in Togo.
In retrospect, since his arrival in France (2014), Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia has been imbued with the traditional Mina culture that saw him grow up from afar, and tirelessly investigates all the subtle matter that makes up what exists. From then on, he has conditioned himself to collaborate closely with matter in all its states: he makes its energy a soul mate in dialogue, he confronts its embodied substance as a persistent reality with which it is vital to learn to compose, and finally he uses it as a medium to communicate with the invisible. In a face-off that is as much a warrior's ballet as an animist's trance, the artist is by turns a devoted shaper and a relentless alchemist. In both sculpture and performance, he is the intercessor of a dichotomy between doing and letting do.
Hafida Jemni Di Folco is director of the department of contemporary art from Africa and the diaspora at the Centre for Applied Research in Contemporary Culture at IESA Arts et Culture in Paris. She is also a literary editor and independent curator. She works with the artist Barthélémy Toguo and has organised several of his solo exhibitions around the world. She has exhibited at the Busan Biennial in 2020, the Galerie Lelong Paris in 2021, and the Dakar Biennial (2016 -2018-2022).
Penser le Présent is supported by Société Générale.
Amphithéâtre des Loges - 14 rue Bonaparte, Paris 6e
Free admission subject to availability
Photo credits: © Juliette Delecour / © Hafida Jemini / Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia © Arjen Veldt