Issa Samb and the Undecipherable Form
Curated by Koyo Kouoh
4 May–23 June 2013
Opening: Friday 3 May, 19:00
Press Preview: Friday 3 May, 12:00
Public Hours: Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun: 12:00–16:00, Thu: 12:00-18:00
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is presenting ‘WORD! WORD? WORD! Issa Samb and the Undecipherable Form’, the first solo exhibition in Europe by the seminal Senegalese artist Issa Samb. The exhibition brings together a selection of emblematic works made by Samb over the past 25 years, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, assemblages and installations, as well as objects, artworks made by others and diverse materials he has amassed in his studio in Dakar’s rue Jules Ferry. They will be accompanied by performative actions presented during the opening days – all these elements coming together to reflect Samb's vast galaxy of interconnected universes, in which everyday signs are transformed into altars to personal obsessions.
In 1974, along with filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety and a group of artists, writers, musicians, actors and filmmakers, Samb founded the Laboratoire Agit’Art. Its multi-disciplinary actions were directed against the formalism of the École de Dakar, an object-bound movement developed at the National Art School of Dakar and shaped by Léopold Sédar Senghor’s philosophy of négritude. Aiming to depart from this conception into experimentation and agitation, ephemerality rather than permanence, and political and social ideas rather than aesthetic notions, the Laboratoire Agit’Art developed a distinct ‘aesthetic of the social’. Audience participation was paramount to the group’s work, as was the privileging of communicative acts over the physical object. Neither utopian nor self-referential, it grounded its actions in the immediate sociopolitical situation.
Today many of the early members have passed away, but the group’s spirit persists, materialised in all of Samb’s work. Read more