Extended until 22 May 2021
Les filles du calvaire is delighted to announce Kenny Dunkan’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. A former resident of the Villa Medici, Dunkan envisions Keep Going! as an initiatory journey teeming with images, sculptures and videos. Drawing from Caribbean culture, fashion and design, he develops a performative and hybrid work that questions colonial heritage and fragmented identity.
Cartography of the Intimate by Simon Njami (writer, narrator, essayist)
Despite a layout that appears chaotic, bringing together fragments that constitute so many elements of a very carefully staged puzzle, intimacy is indeed what is at play here. The exhibition’s theatricality is there to surprise, destabilise, disorient. The artist moreover endorses chaos and assumes its reality by quoting Édouard Glissant: “Chaos is beautiful when one understands that all its elements are equally necessary.” But instead of following Glissant in the development he conceived of the cultures of the world, I will instead evoke the philosopher Henri Delacroix in his definition of language, which he describes as “one of the instruments that transform the chaotic world of sensations into a world of objects and representations”.
Kenny Dunkan invites us to thus explore his own intimate chaos in the form of a kaleidoscopic mise en abime. Photographs like wallpaper, albums, visual notes cover the floor and the walls, like a treasure hunt, like the most immediate illustration of its fragmentation. It is the chaos of the world of sensations evoked by Delacroix whose intimate cartography the artist has wanted to draw, in two movements, as in music: memory and identity. Memory is the Caribbean, where he is from, Guadeloupe and, by extension, the entire New World. Memory cannot be detached from history, especially that of colonisation and slavery. A history marked by branding irons and that must be rewritten, reinvented, exorcised. But there is also, perhaps more vivid and more organic, perceptive memory. This set of ruins, to use the expression of Toshomé Gabriel, from which one endlessly rebuilds, in search of a new syncretism.
With the support of Centre national des arts plastiques
(National Centre for Visual Arts), France