Archive for November 2009
The second opening was at a ‘project space’ on Redchurch Street made available by the property developer Londonewcastle. On show-to a massive, enthusiastic crowd, many of whom had queued in the cold-were photographs by Daniele Tamagni recording the stunning dandyism of Sapeurs, a little documented sub-culture of the Bakongo, a demography focused in the urban spread of Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. The exhibition has come from Paris and supports Tamagni’s book, Gentlemen of Bacongo, published by Trolley Books. The pictures shock several times through. The first is sheer gorgeousness of the outfits, colour-coded, designer goods, loud, assertive, but always elegant. For all the density and clamour, there are rules ensuring simplicity: formality is absolute, only three colours are allowed. Gentlemen of Bacongo The next shock is the self-realisation that images of such exuberance are never seen in the context of Africans in Africa. Beauty, truth, insight, tenderness, aggression, understanding-there is plenty of emotion in African art, in the musical cultures, to take one example, of Lagos and Soweto. But never exuberance, a wild, careless, in love with the joy of life. And then you see the Africa you expect, the images we associate with placenames like Brazzaville, the deep poverty, the widespread squalor. The contrast between the landscapes of despair and the clothes of happiness is the story of these men-they are all men-whose philosophy is that eating is for the fickle: looking good is life.
Gentlemen of Bacongo – opening night 26/11/09, with sapeur Le Bachelor from Paris, owner of Connivences boutique, wearing his suits: ‘We live in the outfits, with the outfits and for the outfits.’
Monday 16th November
18.30 – 21.00
ART for The World Europa
Via Piranesi, 10
Open discussion on the work and new book published by Trolley, panel will include:
Elio Grazioli, contemporary art critic, Milan
Gigi Giannuzzi, publisher of Trolley Books, London
Orazio Fernandez, art critic and curator, Madrid
Mario Cristiani, gallerist, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Le Moulin
Flavio De Marco, artista, Berlino/Bologna
In the run up to the forthcoming group show at Trolley Gallery, curated by Rachel Howard Black Dog / Yellow House , we watchedThe Yellow House, which follows the story of the house in Arles which van Gogh and Gauguin spent nine weeks living, eating and painting together. The tumultuous outcome being the cutting off of van Gogh’s ear…
Andre 3000 must have taken a page or two out of ‘Gentlemen of Bacongo’ (Trolley Books), a new book by Daniele Tamagni that celebrates a group of dandies in the most unlikely of style capitals – the heart of the Congo Republic. The culture of La SAPE, La Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes, began when the country was ruled by the French and the local men began to adopt a little European flair. The sapeurs, as they are known, spiff themselves up with colorful tailored suits, fedoras and the occasional cigar – it’s more English aristo than Iceberg Slim pimp daddy.