Jean David Nkot: Cartographies Mentales
From November 2 to 16, 2018, Jack Bell Gallery, London will present Cartographies Menatales by Camerounian artist Jean David Nkot.
Gardaia, Bobigny, Melila, Nanterre, Paris. So many places jostling in the head of a migrant. On large canvases, names cover maps as in a cemetery. On the side of those who hear in the distance the echoes of the desert, the waves of the sea come to us saying that there are faces, bodies that will forever be fixed on the walls of houses. By absence of signs, we will not mourn. Of presence and absence, cartographies unfold.
It is with the names of young people who have left their family for the adventure, it is by having listened to the stories of his brothers of the “Kwatt” who failed for the first time at the crossing and who persist always to defy the barbed wire of the frontiers that Jean David energetically polishes bodies tense with frustrations. The eyes of these young people he shows us have voices:
“From where you are, get in your eyes
My thirst for deep thirst
I dig up my disappointed desires
And my shadow sometimes crosses
Beyond the names of cities traveled by migrants, Jean David Nkot takes the bodies out of the shadows of their wounded words to make the very act of painting express the way to take over the suffering flesh of the world, to glue our eyes on the muscles, on the positions of heavy arms, on open lips to engrave other horizons, to introduce us into the temptations of spaces of survival.
Jean-David Nkot was born in 1985 in Douala (Cameroon) where he lives and works. In 2010, he obtained a BAC in painting at the Mbalmayo Institute of Artistic Training (IFA) before joining the Institute of Fine Arts Foumban, where he also obtained a degree in drawing/painting. In 2017 he joined the Post Master “Moving Frontiers” organized by the National School of Arts of Paris-Cergy (France) on the theme of borders.
NKot is preoccupied with the human condition, violence, and the indifference and passivity of international community and governments on the situation of victims around the world. He is also inspired by the topic of immigration, bodies and territories are structuring his artistic approach. Giant postage stamps, which are omnipresent in his universe, interrogate and shake consciences by exploring and exposing faces submerged by inscriptions of war weapons names. As a postage stamp, their vocation is to affranchise these victims. The recent introduction of cartographies in his work are representing the complicity of the world and the violence of its indifference, as well as questioning the role of bodies in society. Far from focusing the attention of his admirers on the identity of his personages, Jean-David Nkot highlights the expression of the turmoil inhabiting “his” characters in the manner of Zhang Dali, Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville.