Boris Nzebo: Le Monstre de Nkolbong
From September 6 to 20, 2019, Jack Bell Gallery, London will present Le Monstre de Nkolbong, an exhibition of recent work by Cameroonian artist Boris Nzebo.
Nzebo’s multilayered paintings and collages conjure the astounding visual complexity typical of the West African city. Entirely drawing his subject matter from the urban culture in his hometown Douala, Nzebo invests his works with psychogeographical impulse: their primary subjects are the elaborate hairstyles of men and women, which he lays on city views as integral features of the architecture. Inspired by the hand-painted advertising illustrations found in West African beauty parlours, the heads incarnate the intimate relationship between the individual and street life. This symbiotic connection allows for a multiplicity of readings of the image, rendering levels of information in a sort of visual polyphony that rhythmically integrates humans and the space they inhabit.
Possessing a flamboyant, dandy-like sense of fashion and style, the artist weaves the colourful silhouettes representing large human heads with the buildings’ façades or the intimacy of interiors, thus merging the diverse spheres where social and psychological life take place.
Douala, the largest city of Cameroon, embodies a kaleidoscopic visual fabric where a vast repertoire of contemporary trends alternates with historical buildings, traditional and modern dress codes, graffiti and advertising. The organic nature of such layering, its unpredictability and resilience are at the very root of Boris Nzebo’s images, which mirror the city’s inhabitants’ horror vacui as they attempt to fill every available space with extraordinary intensity.
Born 1979, Port-Gentil, Gabon, Boris Nzebo lives and works in Douala, Cameroon. Manchester Art Gallery hosted a solo exhibition of his work in 2016. A piece was subsequently acquired for the museum’s permanent collection and exhibited in 2017. Previous group exhibitions include Pangaea & Pangaea II at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
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