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date: 16 October 2019

Bouabré, Frédéric Brulylocked

(b Zéprégühe, Nov 11, 1923).
  • Simon Njami


(b Zéprégühe, Nov 11, 1923).

Ivoirian graphic artist. He was a volunteer in the French National Marines in 1941, and from 1946 to 1958 he worked for the Judicial Identity Department of the General Security of French West Africa. During the 1950s he became intrigued with the patterning of red and black stones near Daloa and began exploring other pattern and information systems, such as scarification and gold weights. He set about composing a pictographic alphabet for his language, Bete, creating over 400 ideograms in all. His small drawings are done in pen and coloured pencil, and almost all have the same format: an image, centered in each piece, is bordered by text written in French, English and/or Bete. Bouabré sees himself first as a philosopher and linguist, and his work is about contextualization and its lack. Aesthetically closer to the outsider or art brut, he was brought into the contemporary art world against his will. His art forces the consideration of such very old questions as ‘What is art?’ and ‘What is an artist?’. He participated in international exhibitions from ...

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